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Chiltepe's opens in Plaza District; Pierre Pierre joins Sara Sara

The Plaza District parking problems will only intensify as the up-and-coming entertainment district welcomes another outstanding eatery in Chiltepe’s Latin Cuisine and Bar, 1800 NW 16 St., which has its grand opening is Friday.

Previously Antojitos Guatemaltescos, which developed a reputation for some of the best Latin comfort food in the city operating out of the back of the Tienda Guatemala store, Chiltepe’s required a total overhaul of the space, which is now a vibrantly painted, full-service restaurant and bar named for the national chile of Guatemala.

Guatemalan cuisine is the foundation of the menu, but those who are not yet washed in the wonder-working power of authentic cuisine will find suitable Tex-Mex offerings.

The restaurant opened to the public a couple of weeks ago, serving portions of the broad menu along the way. On Thursday, the kitchen will feature the full menu for the first time.

Perhaps the most dramatic change is to the structure itself, which has been retrofitted into an attractive adobe building with dramatic street-side dining and a dining room cloaked in orange and .

I had a late lunch at Chiltepe’s on Wednesday, sampling three kinds of salsa and the Pipian de Res, a braised beef dish in a rich sauce derived from ground sesame and pumpkin seeds. It was served with rice, black beans and house-made corn tortillas. On the table was a jar of Chiltepe’s signature relish made of pickled carrots and tiny chiltepe chiles.

It’s only one meal and there’s a ways to go, but based on my early experience Chitepin looks like a winner. Whether the kitchen can deliver consistency on such a large menu, which includes Guatemalan hamburgers and hot dogs, will determine its long-term success.

Based on the success of Saints, Empire Slice House and The Mule, Chiltepe’s is starting off on the right foot.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something a little lighter at lunchtime, check out Pierre Pierre Creperie, a concept within the Sara Sara Cupcakes concept at 7 NW 9 St.

Chef Eric Smith is featuring a simple menu of sweet and savory crepes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 2 p.m. Sunday while still featuring his signature gourmet cupcakes and ice-cold milk continuing through regular store hours.

Smith said he wanted to ramp up the offerings at Sara Sara and decided crepes were the perfect compliment.

So, if you are the kind of person who likes to plan your lunch around potential desserts, you can stop by Pierre Pierre and kill two birds with one stone.

The menu includes eight savory crepes or a build-your-own option. A crepe, soup or salad and a fountain drink costs $9.

“All our crepes are gluten-free,” reminds owner/chef Eric Smith, also of West and Urban Johnnie.

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Dave Cathey

The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene. Read more ›