3300 Northwest Expressway
Oklahoma City, OK
Although I previously visited the Heart Hospital strictly for the food, the knowledge I gained about Integris Hospital came as a result of a fairly long time spent in the hospital’s waiting room.
Based on this I believe that others in the same circumstance might have some dining options that are not too bad, considering that it is pretty typical hospital food. Like the Heart Hospital, the food at Integris (formerly Baptist) Hospital is fairly cheap for what you get. Unlike the Heart Hospital dining area, though, the one at Integris does not have a name– it is just called “Cafeteria.” I think Integris has a much nicer dining area than the Heart Hospital, except that the patio area here was under construction when I went.
Integris seemed to have a larger choice of menu items than the Heart Hospital. I did not see as much emphasis on healthy dining as I had seen at the Heart Hospital, but there was more of what I would call standard dining options than there was of what I would call junk food. I think Integris really has options for just about everybody.
While the Heart Hospital keeps the same menu all day, Integris seems to make a very drastic change in the menu at about 5:00 pm. Before this time I saw a large variety of sandwiches and lunch items, while after this time they sell their dinner entrees and offer their daily specials (although the price difference at dinner is really negligible).
There is much more that I do not know about the food here than what I can report, but I know that my mom really enjoyed the Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich from the lunch menu. I did not try it, but I observed that it had quite a lot of bacon, and it seemed to be good quality (although a little less crispy than I would probably like).
Dinner has daily specials as well as their regular menu (in this regard it is similar to the Heart Hospital). I decided to try the Szechuan Chicken, which was the daily special when I was there. This had good chicken, good rice, and OK vegetables. I was pleased by the quantity of food, and there was no need to buy side items because the main dish had everything I needed (meat, vegetables, and rice to fill me up).
The sauce on the Szechuan chicken did not taste anything like Chinese food to me, but I thought it was fairly good (it was, however, the definite weak point of the dish). I would get this dish again if I were at the hospital (the problem, of course, is that they only offer it from time to time). I could not find a web site that listed the cafeteria’s daily specials, as is available on the Heart Hospital’s web site.
I was pleased about the choice of drinks–I had a good iced tea with the meal and an Odwalla drink that helped pass the time in the waiting room. There is a wide variety of both regular meals and snack food that I think is far superior to what is sold in the vending machines throughout the hospital.
The hospital’s web site lists the cafeteria as being open until 7:00 pm, but I know that it is open past 8:00 (although I am not sure about the exact arrangement about when certain types of food are served).
The food here was good, and frankly better than I had expected. This is not the subject of my editorial, though. I believe that large hospitals in general (and I am not picking just on Integris) should explore other dining options for visitors and possibly patients. It might be time to see if some food trucks could do some good business here, and I am particularly thinking about ones that serve ethnic food.
I had somewhat of a revelation when I ate at a Vietnamese restaurant near St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tucson, and noticed that it was filled primarily with people in hospital uniforms. The restaurant was far enough away from the hospital that most people probably used a car for the trip, although most of them could have walked if they wished. This did show, though, that hospital personnel (and I am sure patients as well) want a variety of food to be available as is the case with people in general.
Right now hospitals do not have a very good reputation for food, but they are getting better. I just think that there are more steps that some of them could take, and I hope they do. A food court or food trucks might be an idea that some of them would want to try.
Update since my last visit: I have received a report from my family that the chicken and dumplings at the cafeteria were disappointing, so this might indicate that I would have trouble finding other items that I like.