Midtown Oklahoma City, centered around N.W. 10th Street and Walker Avenue, has one of the greatest concentrations of quality restaurants in the city. This is based both on experience (from some past and present restaurants) and the reviews I have read about all the restaurants in the area.
In conjunction with visiting a medical office in the area I was able to conduct a brief walking tour to scout out many of the restaurants I have read about. The purpose of this article is to pass along information I have gleaned from the Internet as well as what I found on my tour. There are only a couple of restaurants listed with which I have first hand experience, but practically all of them are on my “want to try” list.
1201 N. Walker Ave.
Stella is known as “Modern Italian,” and according to reviews is not the typical red sauce type of restaurant. It has good reviews, is upscale, and is a place you would want to go for a leisurely meal (it is not outrageously priced, but you do want to spend time enjoying what you are paying for).
1207 N. Walker Ave.
This upscale Mexican restaurant is located next door to Stella, and it looks as if the biggest issue here is where to find parking. I think they have their own parking lot but it may get full at times.
I recently ate at the new 1492 at Casady Square, and based on this I can give a very good review of the food. This was very good upscale Mexican cuisine, and I consider it to be a type of food that Oklahoma City really needs.
Cafe do Brasil
440 N.W. 11th St.
Although I did not eat here on this particular walking tour, this is still my favorite Latin American restaurant in Oklahoma City. I was very impressed with not only the flavor of the food but also with the choices. There is ample parking here, and the prices are very good. It is not quite what I would call an upscale restaurant but the food is what I would call upscale for Latin American cuisine.
1100 N. Walker Ave.
My next stop was at Brown’s Bakery, which is an institution both in Oklahoma City and with my family. I didn’t pick up any of their goodies, but I know that this is a good place for it.
This particular day part of the area was blocked off for the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and one of the musical groups was practicing in Brown’s parking lot. There was still parking for those who wanted to go to Brown’s, and on a normal day there would be more than enough parking for anyone who was thinking about coming here.
421 N.W. 10th St.
Just east of Brown’s Bakery is a relatively new bowling alley, and above the bowling alley on the second floor is Fassler Hall, a restaurant fashioned after a Bavarian beer hall. The main dining area is an outdoor patio with picnic tables, although you can get out of the elements if necessary.
The menu at Fassler Hall is pretty simple. It specializes in bratwurst and sausages (according to one of the employees who explained the menu to me). There is somewhat of a variety of dishes, including schnitzel and a vegetarian sausage (which I understand is made of falafel). Of course all of these items go well with beer (at least this seems to be the consensus of the diners here).
From Tenth Street the restaurant is located up a flight of stairs, but it is at street level from Park Place (the street that runs between 10th and 11th). There is also parking off of Park Place, including several handicapped spaces.
301 N.W. 10th St.
Bleu Garten is Oklahoma City’s first food truck court, with a rotating schedule of food trucks that come daily (see their web site for the schedule).
The official entrance to Bleu Garten is on Tenth Street, but parking is located in the back. There are covered areas to sit near the entrance, but they are not enclosed. The trucks are out in the open. There is a drink bar with restrooms operated by the food court (all of this is covered). Thus you can eat in a covered open air area, but the trucks themselves are not covered.
I saw five trucks, and from their web site this seemed to be about the usual number that were parked here. I thought the St. Paddy Cakes truck was a special one for St. Patrick’s Day (when I went), but it turned out to be one in their regular rotation.
I did not see any Asian food here (something I was somewhat expecting), and I was a little surprised that there were only five in total. There are actually a lot more that come here but the schedule is rotating.
Note: The Bleu Garten web site indicates that as of July 2016 they have made some changes. I now see a lunch schedule only on Friday through Sunday, and dinner is Tuesday through Saturday.
Packard’s New American Kitchen
201 N.W. 10th St.
One block east of Bleu Garten is Packard’s New American Kitchen, an upscale restaurant popular for its steaks and other (New) American dishes. Some say it has the best rooftop dining in town. It seems to be considered as one of the city’s better restaurants.
321 N.W. 8th St.
Tamashii, located in an almost abandoned neighborhood a couple of blocks from Midtown’s main drag, is the restaurant where I wish I could have eaten but I did not have time on this trip. I have heard excellent things about their ramen, and a restaurant like this is one sure sign that OKC has arrived as a “foodie” city.
Reviews indicated that a special spicy ramen is the best item if you like spicy food. Otherwise, the tonkatsu is very good.
The restaurant is small, and is a place you come for the food and not the atmosphere. Since the area is largely vacant I think this will make it fairly easy to come here and be able to find parking.
The hours posted on the door are as follows:
Tue 11-2 and 5-9
Wed 11-2 and 5-9
Thu 11-2 and 5-9
Fri 11-2 and 5-10:30
Sat 11-2 and 5-10:30
1016 N. Walker Ave.
Returning to the northwest, I passed by this rather unusual restaurant and comedy club (although in the daytime it is simply a restaurant). It actually has a highly regarded chef who brought an Asian twist to the food, although the menu is largely American. This looks like a place that would be interesting to try.
Gogo Sushi Express
432 N.W. 10th St.
This restaurant is right next door to Gigglez, and it offers Bento boxes in addition to sushi. Most reviewers say it is a bargain, with good Japanese food at reasonable prices (at least at lunch). According to Yelp it is open 11 am to 9 pm Mon-Thu, open until 10 pm on Fri, and closed Sat & Sun.
McNellie’s Public House
1100 Classen Dr.
On the opposite side of the traffic circle from Gogo Sushi is where Classen Drive angles to the northwest. On the east side of Classen Dr. is the old Plaza Shopping Center that is now a “restaurant row.” At the south end of the center is McNellie’s Public House. Being St. Patrick’s Day when I visited, McNellie’s seemed to be the number one hot spot near downtown Oklahoma City. The concept here is an Irish pub, and I have to say that this is another place I would like to try if I get the chance.
Also in this complex is the Prairie Thunder Baking Company (1114 Classen Dr.) and Irma’s Burger Shack (1120 Classen Dr.). Most of the restaurants listed here (and several others) are within a short walking distance from each other, and provide an excellent choice of cuisines, price points, and choice of fast lunch spots or more leisurely restaurants. Bleu Garten and Packard’s are the outliers, being located closer to Broadway than to Walker. Still, though, they are within a half mile of Saint Anthony’s Hospital (the largest building in the Midtown area).
Midtown has seen a dramatic increase of restaurants and other businesses in the past few years. I give credit to Brown’s Bakery (and others) for sticking it out through the good and the bad times, and I am sorry that Boulevard Cafeteria is no longer there, but the restaurants that have moved in have been a definite improvement to the area.