Jim’s Diner–Oklahoma City, OK

Jim’s Diner
6317 N. Meridian Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 702-9862
Jim's Diner OKC

Jim’s Diner in northwest Oklahoma City


Although many are familiar with Jim’s Diner on Route 66 in Bethany, there is now a second location in Oklahoma City at N.W. 63rd St. and Meridian Ave. There are a number of reasons people have continued to patronize Jim’s over the years, but I think two of the most important are that just about everything is on the menu and the prices are reasonable.

My visits to the Bethany location have been exclusively for breakfast or for a late night dinner and conversation with friends (both locations are open until 10:00 pm, but the Bethany restaurant used to be open through midnight–the latest time I can remember being there).

When I went to the Oklahoma City location it was not nearly as busy as the Bethany restaurant usually experiences, but I believe people are now discovering the new restaurant and that business has picked up. This restaurant is not on Route 66, but the food seems to be the same.

Salad

Salad

Salad at Jim’s Diner

Salad is not my idea of one of the restaurant’s big draws, but it is available for those who want it. I could find nothing either particularly good or particularly bad about the one I tried (except for the fact that the tomatoes were actually red and the lettuce was actually green).

Fried Chicken

Fried chicken

Fried chicken

I sampled the Fried Chicken, so I know how it tastes but not if this would be classified as a very filling meal or not. At least the pieces seemed to be as big as in most other restaurants.

The flavor of the dark meat was excellent, so I would have to say this was a big hit with me. The white meat was dry, though, and disappointing (but still not bad). For my taste the dark meat would be well worth ordering again.

The best item I tried, though, was the Mashed Potatoes that came on the side. These were excellent potatoes and excellent gravy. I really do not think very much about mashed potatoes until I try them at the numerous restaurants that do not do them quite the right way (in contrast, I think Jim’s shows how it should be done).

Banana Nut Pancakes

Banana nut pancakes

Banana nut pancakes

One good feature of Jim’s is that you can order breakfast all day. One drawback I discovered was that the cook at dinner was not very familiar with the breakfast menu, leading to the fact that I only got one pancake (the one pictured) when I wanted to make a meal of them (which comes with four pancakes). They cooked the other three for me, but there was a good wait because these pancakes are made from scratch and cannot be prepared quickly.

I gave them four stars because of the fact that at home I try to use a more healthy cooking oil, so I get somewhat of a rude awakening when I eat them in most restaurants. Still, though, I liked the bananas, the syrup, the flavor of the pancakes (other than the oil), and even the margarine spread they had. The pecans tasted stale, though (this was not a big factor in the overall meal).

Desserts

Pie display

The pie display at Jim’s

I am mentioning desserts only to show this photo of their pie display, but so far I have not tried any of the flavors.

Additional Comments
For diners, I think Olde Orchard in Bethany seems to have a better flavor for me. I think Jim’s has more menu options, though, particularly if you want to order breakfast at dinner time (something I believe Olde Orchard does not do).

The closing time of 10:00 pm at Jim’s is considered late night dining for Oklahoma City, so this is a good option for many people (I have not confirmed the hours of this location but they are the ones posted on Yelp). The posted hours also say they open at 6:00 am every day (probably not something I would ever desire to check out for myself).

Update Aug. 2017: After visiting Olde Orchard again I wish to amend this section of the review. Olde Orchard does serve breakfast items at dinner (it is only during lunch hours from 11 am to 1 pm that they are not available). In addition I wish to revise the statement about Olde Orchard having a better flavor overall, and I would have to say it depends on what you order (both restaurants are good at certain things).

Opas Restaurant: Jim’s at N.W. 63rd and Meridian is now two restaurants–Jim’s Diner and Opas Mediterranean Restaurant. Opas has a separate entrance on the east side of the building (on Meridian) but you can also enter at Jim’s. Both restaurants use the same dining room, and you can order from either menu or both.


RATING: 18

Cuisine: American
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily (6:00 am to 10:00 pm)
Accessible: Yes (but there was only one handicapped space)
Smoking: No smoking
Special Features: Serves Breakfast

Most Recent Visit: Jun. 29, 2016

Number of Visits: 1

Best Item: Mashed Potatoes

 

Special Ratings
star 4 Fried Chicken
star 5 Mashed Potatoes
star 3 Salad
star 4 Banana Nut Pancakes

Menu (Aug. 2017):

Tienda Guatemala–Oklahoma City, OK

Tienda Guatemala
1001 N. Virginia Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 521-1899
Tienda Guatemala

Tienda Guatemala


Chiltepes is a well known restaurant in the Plaza District on N.W. 16th Street in Oklahoma City, but prior to this it was the original Tienda Guatemala. Chiltepes is now a Mexican restaurant that serves some Central American dishes (such as pupusas), but the original Tienda Guatemala has now moved to a new location on Virginia Avenue near N.W. 10th St.

The original Tienda Guatemala

The original Tienda Guatemala in what is now Chiltepes Restaurant on N.W. 16th St. in the Plaza District

Tienda Guatemala is really the umbrella name for two separate businesses: Curiosidades Guatemala (store/ mailing center/ money transfer center), and Antojitos Guatemaltecos (bakery and restaurant).

Tienda Guatemala has kept its original concept of being a small restaurant serving a limited number of items which are cooked in small batches. In addition to these lunch specials it has some menu items that are the same every day, and would probably fall more in the fast food category.

There is also a bakery with an extensive selection of items (pan dulce), but the restaurant itself attracts a pretty good crowd at lunch time.

The Restaurant

Pollo guisado

Pollo guisado served at the display counter

My experience with the lunch special was at the old restaurant, but when I visited the new building it was apparent that the food was the same. The items served can be viewed at the display counter, and there are usually about three or four choices. If you get chicken it will still have the bones, and items are prepared Latin American style (but not spicy unless you make it that way by adding salsa). The daily specials come with side dishes such as black beans, rice, and salad.

Beef estofada

Beef estofada

Beef Estofada is an example of the dishes served, and comes with salsa if you want to make it spicy (but Guatemalan dishes are traditionally not spicy).

The hand made tortillas have been well known at the restaurant since its beginning. Although this was one of the highlights of my meal, everything I tried was excellent, and really tasted like it was home made.

The lunch specials are already cooked and ready to be served when you get there, but they also have several menu items which can be ordered (such as pupusas).

Special Items

Christmas tamales

Christmas tamales

The restaurant is famous for its Christmas tamales, and it turned out that I was able to order some (which have to be ordered ahead of time). They make several varieties, but when I ordered I was only able to get chicken. These were interesting because the chicken still had the bones, and being Guatemala style they were not spicy. Still, they had a very good flavor and were worthy Christmas tamales.

The Bakery

Mil Ojas

Mil Ojas

Tienda Guatemala has quite an impressive bakery with a number of items. The items seemed to be the same ones served in Mexican bakeries, including Mil Ojas (I know it is supposed to be “Hojas,” but this is the way they spell it). This is a pastry that is just barely sweet, but sweet enough to be very satisfying. It reminded me of the pastries at Ingrid’s which follow the European model of being less sweet than American desserts, and I definitely thought the one I tried here was just as good as the pastries sold at Ingrid’s.

Things to Know
This part of town seems a little off the beaten path, but Tienda Guatamala is three blocks from the very popular Nic’s Grill and one block from the Hungry Frog (the hard part is finding Virginia Avenue as it veers off to the left from Pennsylvania as you travel south).

It is mostly a Spanish speaking established, but the employees seem to be quite fluent in English. It is clean and the tables even had tablecloths, but you do not get chips, sopapillas, or other items typically found in restaurants which cater mostly to Americans.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Guatemalan
Cost: $
Hours: Open for lunch (I don’t know the other hours)
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Jul. 27, 2017

Number of Visits: 3

Best Items: Pollo Guisado, Tamales, Tortillas, Mil Ojas

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Pollo Guisado
star 5 Tamales
star 5 Tortillas
star 5 Pan Dulce

Cafe 7–Oklahoma City, OK

Cafe 7
14101 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 748-3354
Cafe 7

Cafe 7 on North May Ave.


Special Notice for Summer 2017:

I have had the Hatch green chile mac and cheese twice this year (from the summer seasonal menu), and I would really recommend trying this while it is available. They have had this dish for about two or three years in a row, and will likely serve it again, but only in the summer.

The original idea of Cafe 7 was that you could eat a meal for seven dollars and the food is ready in less than seven minutes. I think the price has risen somewhat since the restaurant’s opening, but you should still expect to spend less than at comparable restaurants.

Cafe 7 has four menus (all of which offer choices in the same price range): Sandwiches, Pizza, Pasta, and Salads. The pizza is individual sized, and the pasta menu follows the trend of some national chains in offering a variety of dishes along with a “build your own pasta” selection. Cafe 7 is strictly local, though, and I think the real beauty of it is that you get individually prepared items with the type of selection that is normally available mainly in larger restaurants. They can meet all kinds of dietary needs, such as serving vegetarian and gluten free dishes, and the source of the food seems to be largely local. More than anything else I am impressed with the quality of the food.

Seasonal menus offer additional choices, some of which are higher priced. Most of my favorite items are from the regular menu, but there have been some standouts from the seasonal menu.

The dining room

Cafe 7’s interior

Some of my personal feelings about Cafe 7 are that I like the dining room, I like their tea, and I think the prices are reasonable. I sometimes find it a problem that they close at 8:00 P.M., but they do not seem to mind if customers stay after this time. I thought they had the best cupcakes in Oklahoma City, but they are no longer available and the staff tells me there is nowhere else that I can buy them (meaning that they did not come from one of the local cupcake restaurants). It is not really necessary to order a dessert here, though, since the meals are filling enough.

When customers enter the restaurant they pick up one of the order sheets, fill out the choices, and go to the counter to pay. Special orders are also available, but these sometimes have a higher price (I think the soup and sandwich combination I ordered was a dollar extra). I sometimes ask for suggestions from the employees at the counter, and I really have never gone wrong with the sandwiches, pasta, or seasonal specials they recommend. If they are busy, though, I think the system of giving you the menus while you are waiting in line works very well.

Sandwiches

Turkey and guacamole sandwich

Turkey and guacamole sandwich

On my first visit I ordered a special that is not listed on the menu– a half sandwich with soup. The full order of Turkey and Guacamole Sandwich (pictured above) was as good as the first experience, and reinforced my idea that this is a good flavor combination. The turkey seemed to be roasted (not processed), and I think this set it apart from most turkey meat served in restaurants. The bread has changed since my first visit (not better or worse– just something different). The fact that the guacamole blended well with the turkey speaks to the art and thought that went into creating the sandwiches offered here.

Cuban sandwich

The Cuban

The Cuban reinforced my opinion that the sandwiches are top quality. With pulled pork, ham, Cuban relish, onions, pickles, Swiss cheese, and Dijonnaise sauce on a toasted hoagie there was plenty about this sandwich to like. I did not notice any flavors that particularly stood out except the sauce and Swiss cheese, and all the meats were good. The sauce was a little spicy, probably comparable to most of the city’s Mexican restaurants.

Soups

Cream of broccoli soup

Cream of broccoli soup

The Cream of Broccoli Soup sounded very good, but I thought the flavor was a little flat. The most disappointing thing, though, was that it was too salty for me. I thought the soup was fresh and good quality, but I tend to find the best soups at ethnic restaurants rather than ones that are American style.

Tomato basil soup and cobb salad

Tomato basil soup and cobb salad

The Tomato Basil Soup was also one of my favorite items at Cafe 7, although I would not place it in the same category as the soup at some of the city’s better Italian restaurants.

Ms. Vickie’s Chips used to be served with all sandwiches, but they later dropped this in favor of the much better all natural Popchips potato chips. As of 2015 they seem to have changed the chips again, but in any case they are better than the original Ms. Vickie’s (but customers can still get Ms. Vickie’s for an additional cost if they want).

Salads
The Cobb Salad tasted very good when I sampled it, but I think it would not be filling enough to order as a meal (even though the regular salad is twice the size of the one shown in the picture). The honey mustard dressing was one of the highlights of it, after trying several less flavorful versions at other restaurants (such as Interurban).

Pasta

Rigatoni Sorrentino

Rigatoni Sorrentino

Wanting to try items from the pasta section, I chose the Rigatoni Sorrentino because it sounded good from the menu. It also tasted good with a very good seasoning that I thought was not overpowered by Italian spices (one of my pet peeves in Italian restaurants). This dish contains grilled chicken, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes, all of which I thought were very good. The tomato cream sauce was also better than I thought it would be (I am not a big fan of cream sauces). This isn’t the kind of Italian food you get at Vito’s, but I thought it was very good and I enjoyed it.

Pasta maggio

Pasta maggio

Pasta Maggio was recommended by an employee at the counter, and was also very good. This had a creamy pesto sauce that I thought was not as good as the one with the rigatoni sorrentino, but the ingredients made up for it with chicken, mushrooms, and artichokes. Overall I would have to say this was the best pasta dish I have tried.

Pasta primavera

Pasta primavera

The Pasta Primavera is the one that I consider “my other favorite” (along with pasta maggio). This has a lemon flavor, and the banana peppers give it somewhat of a kick (in a good way that is not too spicy). I also like the vegetables in this one.

Pizza

Margherita pizza

Margherita pizza

Several types of pizza are served, including a “Build your own pizza” that comes with sauce, cheese, and up to three meat toppings. Margherita Pizza was one of the specialty pizzas offered (all pizzas are the same price unless you get more than three toppings). I thought the Margherita pizza was a little disappointing in the flavor of the pizza and texture of the crust. It had standard tomatoes instead of the sun dried tomatoes served in most Italian restaurants, and the flavor of the cheese was rather overwhelming compared to my perception of the way a Margherita pizza should be. The ingredients were fresh and good quality, but this was not my favorite pizza in terms of flavor.

Seasonal Menus

Fettuccine bona

Fettuccine bona

Cafe 7 provides more variety by offering seasonal menus of different types of items. For instance, in Summer 2013 the Fettuccine Bona was an item I found very refreshing with green and red olives and a flavorful pesto seasoning. Another good item was the Muffaletta, which I thought was well made (with good sauce, meat, and bread). Other choices from the menu were a sirloin salad, salmon salad (both of which cost more than the standard menu items), two wraps, and an ultimate margherita pizza.

Chicken pot pie

Chicken pot pie

The Chicken Pot Pie on the Fall 2016 menu was an excellent version of a dish I usually order at any restaurant which has it on the menu. In case they have it in the future you may like to know that the crust and gravy were both good, it had large chunks of white meat chicken, there were plenty of potatoes, but I would say it was short of the other vegetables I usually like in a pot pie. It met my standard of not being too salty, and overall I liked it very much.

Green chile mac and cheese

Hatch green chile mac & cheese

The Hatch Green Chile Mac & Cheese has evolved over a couple of years to the point that this is perhaps my favorite seasonal dish served. The cheese is thin and fully melted, and along with the fresh green chile I think this is what makes it special to me. On the heat scale the chile is about four out of five (not as spicy as they usually serve in New Mexico but spicy enough to really bring out the flavor).

Desserts

Red velvet cookie

Red velvet cookie

Some of their desserts have been wonderful, such as the Chocolate Mousse and the Cupcakes. However, they keep changing the desserts all the time, and I know the cupcakes are no longer available. I am not sure what is good at the moment, or if the Red Velvet Cookies, which I liked, are still available.

Additional Comments
Customers fill up their own drink cups, and there is a choice of three kinds of iced tea: black, green, and white.

Side dishes are somewhat limited, but I liked the Potato Salad (and I would have liked it even better if it were not made with mayonnaise).

When Saturn Grill had a location on Memorial Road I was able to compare a number of items there and at Cafe 7. My conclusions were that Saturn Grill had better vegetarian sandwiches overall, but that the turkey and guacamole and Cuban sandwiches at Cafe 7 were better than any of the meat versions served at Saturn Grill. I liked the pasta dishes better at Cafe 7, but overall I thought the seasonal menu was much better at Saturn Grill. I never really formed an opinion about who had better soup.

Cafe 7 has now opened a restaurant in downtown OKC, and the large number of customers on North May attests to its continued popularity. People know good food when they taste it, though, and this is certainly among my favorite places.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Deli
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily except Sun. evening
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine
Additional Location: 100 W. Main St.

Most Recent Visit: Jul. 28, 2017
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Turkey and Guacamole Sandwich, Cuban, Tomato Basil Soup, Pasta Maggio, Pasta Primavera, Chicken Pot Pie (seasonal menu), Hatch Green Chile Mac & Cheese (seasonal menu)

Special Ratings
star 5 Turkey and Guacamole Sandwich
star 5 Cuban
star 5 Pastrami Reuben
star 5 Pasta Maggio
star 5 Pasta Primavera
star 5 Rigatoni Sorrentino
star 3 Margherita Pizza
star 5 Tomato Basil Soup
star 4 Cream of Broccoli Soup
star 4 Signature Salad
star 5 Cobb Salad
star 4 Potato Salad
Seasonal Menu
star 4 Fettuccine Bona (Summer)
star 4 Muffaletta (Summer)
star 5 Green Chile Mac & Cheese (Summer)
star 5 Chicken Pot Pie (Fall)

Menu (Jun. 2017):