When Tom Novak began working in the restaurant business back in the early ‘90s, he had no idea that one day he would be turning his hand to artistic expression.
A Connecticut native, Novak began working at the Fountains on Lewis Avenue for David Ingram while attending school in Tulsa. From there, he worked at several other restaurants until it became clear that he was ready to take a leap.
In 1991, Novak, along with partner Kyle Phillips, opened Brookside by Day. Since then, BBD, as it is affectionately called by local patrons, has become well known as one of the best breakfast places in town.
“This year will be 20 years that we will have been open,” says Novak. “We have a good following. But, I am going to turn 54 and getting around is a little more difficult. The restaurant business is not an easy job. I started to do mosaics a year ago with a friend of mine after he made one for my wife, Yolanda, and I for our anniversary.”
His friend encouraged him to try his hand at creating a mosaic mirror of his own, but Novak was reluctant to try it because, at first, it seemed too much of a challenge. For reasons that he can’t quite explain, though, Novak finally gave it a try, and since then he has made between 30 and 40 mirrors for friends, family and patrons at BBD.
“I was looking for something to do, and this has become a very fun project for me to be involved in.”
Brookside by Day is a perfect place to display these unique mediums of artistic expression, and the response from diners was immediate. Patrons at the restaurant began to buy up the mirrors on display very quickly, and soon Novak found himself with a possible new career path.
“I was looking for something to do, and this has become a very fun project for me to be involved in,” says Novak.
Novak has launched a website (www.mosaicsbynovak.com) where interested buyers can view his work and make purchases online at their convenience.
Novak stresses that there are many new pieces soon to be featured on the site for excited patrons who have been waiting patiently for his work.
One of the unique elements of Novak’s creativity, and certainly a reason for the high demand, is the originality of each of his works. Every mirror that he makes features a unique theme and design because Novak prefers not to duplicate them. Some sample mirrors feature names and corresponding themes such as: The Crown Jewel, The Fiesta (made from tile purchased at Habitat for Humanity), The Blue and The Eye of the Tiger.
The mirrors are exquisite in their intricate detail and in the wonderful myriad colors that Novak uses to carry each theme.
Whether he is working as a restaurateur or designing these beautiful mirrors, it would seem that Novak has a knack for creating elements that delight the hearts and souls of Tulsans. BBD has drawn patrons for 20 years and continues to do so. Now that same creative energy is being channeled into pieces of art that reflect a heart that loves making things that bring joy to others.
“Designing and creating these mirrors relaxes my mind, and makes me feel that I am able to create something beautiful,” says Novak.