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Chow chat

Carol Smaglinski June 8th, 2011

Chelsey Simpson is the president of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative.

She was the former editor of Oklahoma Living magazine and now works for the National Farm to School Network as the membership and communications associate.

Best feature: “I can roll with the punches.”

Family: “Husband, Jeff, and Ellie the dog.”

Where did you meet? “In college at Cameron University in Lawton, and I lived near there in Southwest Oklahoma.”

Favorite indulgence: “Watching a good HBO series on DVD.”

Your signature dish in your own restaurant would be: “Something with beets.”

On your day off: “I like to travel and … to take long walks with my dog.”

Never eat: “I like just about everything.”

I’d kill for: “A really, really, good loaf of bread or a cinnamon roll, also known as sticky buns.”

Talent: “I’m a good writer, and I did write a screenplay that was produced in Wales and was made into a short film.”

Any culinary star you would love to meet? “No, I just like to talk to regular people that like to cook.”

I could go on for hours about: “How proud I am to be from Oklahoma, and my family was part of the land drawing coming from Texas and Nebraska.”

What do you value in your friends? “Good conversationalist.”

Eat out: “(I’m a) big fan of Ludivine and The Wedge.”

Famous person you look like: “I always get told the I don’t look like anyone famous, but usually people’s sisters or neighbors, all random people, and even my own sister-in-law, whose name is, ironically, Jessica Simpson.”


Checkerboard Cafe & Bakery has relocated and is now back in Harrah where it originally began. Checkerboard, 2001 Church Ave., is offering its traditional Pasta Night every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for dinner.

Checkerboard was most recently in Midwest City and has a small but dedicated team that works to offer lunch and dinner, plus a bakery. They can be reached at 454-2233.


During the recent tornado that destroyed parts of Oklahoma, people took shelter anywhere they could. More than 200 people made their way to Junior’s, 2601 Northwest Expressway.

“When the whistle blows, they come to the parking garage,” said Jim Shumsky, the owner. “When I walked in there at 15 minutes to 4, I thought I had the Westminster dog show going. The dogs were out in the hallway, and the people in the restaurant stayed around until 7 or 8 p.m., and we had a big party going. It was fun. People were double-parked in the parking garage and some came to pick up their cars the next day.”


McNellie’s Public House, 1100 Classen Drive, announced a total of $7,800 in donations to the Chad Peery Fund after its inaugural Pub Run. The Pub Run was held May 14 and was co-hosted by Red Coyote Running and Fitness, with help from Guinness, Sheila and Ted Keeney, Louie’s and Rent-A-Tent.

“We were moved by Chad’s story and felt compelled to do something to help,” said Joe Wolf, McNellie’s general manager. “With the support of the community, we were able to raise a lot of money for a deserving family.”

The Chad Peery Fund was set up to financially help Oklahoma City police officer Chad Peery and his family in the aftermath of a brutal encounter at a local restaurant in February, which left him with extensive, life-changing injuries. Officer Peery is married with four children.

For more information on the Chad Peery Fund, visit chadpeeryfund.org.


Stella Modern Italian Cuisine, 1201 N. Walker, recently reached its first-year mark and celebrated with an anniversary party.

Owner Lori Tyler was accompanied by her husband, Ty Tyler, and welcomed their guests with selections created by chef Brian McGrew.

During the last year, Todd Davis and Vivian Wood have joined Stella’s management team, which now offers Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Seen at the celebration party were chefs Kurt Fleischfresser of Western Concepts, Michel Buthion of La Baguette, Jonathon Stranger of Ludivine and Robert Black of A Good Egg Dining Group.

Happy Birthday!


Dial up Maggie’s Cafe, 6315 N.W. 39th in Bethany, and you just get a recorded message: “We regret to inform you that we are no longer open.” Maggie’s was a mother-and-son operation that specialized in Polish food.


On the prowl for hard-to-find spices for Mediterranean recipes? Search no more, as Sahara International Market, 3800 N. MacArthur, is the place to investigate. The grocery store and restaurant opened last August.

Customer Iman Addallat said that Sahara carries all sorts of international food for people who life to explore and cook cuisine from the Mediterranean, Middle East, India and Pakistan.

“They have spices that are not easy to find anywhere else,” Addallat said. “They are a store and a restaurant at the same time and have gyros and various Middle Eastern dishes. They also have cans of hummus, baba ghanoush and falafel mixes.”

Reach the store at 470-8166.


The June/July issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray features the best places to stop and eat along America’s most famous highways. The piece obviously couldn’t pass by Route 66, which runs through Oklahoma.

Ray’s colorful magazine chose Lucille’s Roadhouse, 1301 N. Airport, in Weatherford as one of three places to stop along the famous Mother Road and the best spot to grab a homey meatloaf and creamy milkshake.

Reach Lucille’s at (580) 772-8808.


The Made In Oklahoma Coalition has launched a new tool to find Oklahoma-made products, an iPhone app. The free mobile application will help people locate MIO products and restaurants, as well as share recipes.

“The MIO iPhone app will make it much easier for Oklahomans to support local companies, products and restaurants,” said Sharra Martin, MIO’s market development coordinator. “We also hope the app with increase awareness of and support for MIO on social media channels.”

The app’s MIO restaurant locator displays maps, addresses, phone numbers and directions. Users can also search for new recipe ideas that are groups by categories and get inspiration for meal ideas with colorful photos of MIO dishes.

Chef Robert Black, of A Good Egg Dining Group, was instrumental in developing the new application.

Download the app at miocoalition.com/mioapp/.


Where do you go to celebrate your birthday? That’s the question we asked on Oklahoma Gazette’s Facebook page. Here are your answers, verbatim.

“Iguana Mexican - because they have an amazing party atmosphere and are incredibly accomodating with the tequila.” —Chris Hudge Stinchcomb

“A tie between SnB’s Burger Joint and The Pink Elephant. Elephant has good food and quiet atmosphere, where as SnB’s has lots of alcohol AND arguably THE greatest burgers ever.” —George Hooper

“15th Street Grill in Midwest City has the most delicious hamburgers - they taste homemade! But since you guys said to consider it’s my birthday which means someone else might be paying, I’ll go with the obvious and say Sushi Neko.” —Donna Parker

“Paseo Grill, intimate, great food, impeccable service!” —Wendi Elliott “105 degrees is the clear winner. Fab food where I don’t have to ask ‘are there any animals in this meal-- or their products?’ plus they buy local food as much as possible. The atmosphere is conducive to dining with friends. It’s an entire experience and not just a place to fill your gut.” —Lissa Wohltmann

“Bellini’s for their party patio atmosphere” —Janelle Hanson

“Stella, for the beautiful vegetarian choices or West for the toasted coconut martini.” —Christine Eddington

“Cheever’s! Because they make every event special” —Brian Bennett

“Pachinko Parlor! Best patio, amzing creative food, and right next door to Sara Sara Cupcakes” —Aimee Myers

“Cafe Pranzo....great food, intimate atmosphere and of course the cheesecake!” —Shelly Landis-Scovill

“Nic’s Grill--nothing like a giant, old-school Bacon Cheeseburger to make you glad you made it through another year!!” —Michael Revere

—Carol Smaglinski

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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