Feed your March Madness appetite in Oklahoma City
March Madness is back in Oklahoma City this year. That means when the throng of basketball fans downtown aren’t in the Chesapeake Arena awaiting the next Bryce Drew moment (surely you recall his buzzer-beating heroics for Valparaiso back in the aughts), they will be downtown likely looking for food.
Entertainment districts Deep Deuce and Bricktown are both within easy walking distance of the Chesapeake Arena. Automobile Alley and Midtown are short hikes away. Film Row’s Joey’s Pizzeria is worth the short drive west. Uptown and the Plaza District are less than 10 minutes away by car and offer some of the city’s best dining options. But if you’re in town for the games, you’ll probably want to keep it close.
- Vast towers 49 stories above the rest inside the Devon Tower. Chef Kurt Fleischfresser oversees operations where chefs Patrick Williams and Kevin Lee pump out a consistently artful menu plus craft cocktails. Kitchen No. 324 offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with panache in an elegant setting and Ice House will serve burgers, fries and shakes in the Myriad Gardens will be open. Mahogany offers prime steaks with opulent ambience and the Museum Café has perhaps the most popular brunch in town.
- Knucks Wheelhouse offers gourmet pizza by the slice into the wee hours while In the Raw, Bolero Tapas Bar and The Red Pin anchor the area near the Warren Theater. Crabtown, The long-term success and quality offered by The Mantel, Mickey Mantle’s, The Melting Pot and Crabtown have made Bricktown a destination for years. New to the neighborhood is West, which offers a broad variety of entrees, burgers and cocktails.
- Ludivine is the city’s most ambitious restaurant, offering a menu that changes weekly and by the whim of the seasons. Chefs Jonathon Stranger and Russ Johnson are known for the charcuterie board and bone marrow luge they offer daily as well as craft cocktails and a thorough wine list. They also own the nearby R&J Lounge and Supper Club, which offers champagne on tap, Tiki drinks, classic cocktails and a kitschy menu that would make Don Draper proud. The district is also home to fine burgers and cold beer at Irma’s and McNellie’s, terrific Italian food at Stella Modern Italian. Cafe do Brasil offers an exotic dinner menu and has a fantastic rooftop bar, Fassler Hall is a Bavarian beer hall, Packard’s New American Kitchen also boasts a spectacular rooftop bar and Bleu Garten is ground zero for food truck service.
- Red Primesteak and Iguana Mexican Grill have put the Automobile Alley area on the culinary map with help from S&B Burger Joint and Hillbilly’s. Brand-new is Cultivar Mexican Kitchen, a gourmet taco bar. Broadway 10 opened last year and more recently has added The Sidecar Lounge. You also can’t miss Wayne Coyne’s psychedelic warehouse called The Womb for selfies.
- No entertainment district has as much history as Deep Deuce, which was a haven for jazz in the early to mid 20th Deep Deuce Grill and Wedge Pizzeria has carried the banner of the district for years. More recently, Anchor Down brought gourmet corn dogs to the neighborhood and Urban Johnnie offers a sea of wide-screen TVs, full bar and a menu with something for everyone including favorites from Oklahoma City icon Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler. Perhaps no place in Deep Deuce is reaching deeper into the historic past than Slaughter’s Hall and WSKY. Chef Jonathan Groth minds the kitchen for both. Slaughter’s Hall offers plenty of beer on tap and a variety of upscale bar food. WSKY is home to a cigar bar, curated whiskeys and a menu with elegant bites to complement them.
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Grab something cold to drink from among a diverse and eclectic variety of hundreds of sodas, sparkling waters and other cold refreshments at Pop’s Soda Ranch, 6447 Avondale Drive in Nichols Hills Plaza. The new location is closer to the downtown than the original Pops Route 66 in Arcadia. Nichols Hills Plaza is just north of downtown on Western Avenue. Hint: Part of the fun of a visit to Pop's is deciding which soda, or sodas, to try.
For a specialty that you won't easily find at other locales, try to calf fries at Cattleman's Steakhouse , 1309 S Agnew Ave. The iconic Oklahoma City restaurant is also known for its other cuisine. Along the way, check out the western flair of Stockyards City, since the eatery is located in the heart of this unique district. Hint: If calf fries don't appeal to you, try a juicy steak.
Basketball fans, folks with hoop dreams – and those who love them – will want to stop by Kd’s Southern Cuisine, 224 Johnny Bench Drive in Bricktown. The restaurant, opened in 2013 by Oklahoma City Thunder star forward Kevin Durant, is just a short walk east from the Chesapeake Energy Arena. For an appetizer, try the Fried Green Tomatoes. The Honey Fried Chicken, Meatloaf and Chicken and Waffles entrees are among the eatery's more popular Southern-style fare. Hint:
Compiled by Dave Cathey,