Saturday 19 Apr

Permanent parking, mobile food

A plan to create a permanent food truck park in Midtown passed the Downtown Design Review Committee (DDRC) on April 17. The creator, Hunter Wheat, based it on other permanent food parks around the country, including places like New York, the Dallas/Ft. Worth-area and Austin, Texas.
04/18/2014 | Comments 0

Smooth pop

Ah, springtime in Oklahoma and the joy of eating food from a street vendor. Just in time for the warm weather, two new mobile concepts want you to chill out.
04/16/2014 | Comments 0


No single holiday has done more to ruin the reputation of eggs than Easter.
04/16/2014 | Comments 0

OKG7 eat: Fresh off the farm

There was a time not too terribly long ago in Oklahoma City when there was a chain on every corner and the closest you could get to local was to make a trip to your farmers market and make the food yourself. We always celebrate all things local, and luckily, it’s getting easier for OKC restaurants to incorporate locally grown, all- natural ingredients into what they offer.

— By Devon Green

photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

04/16/2014 | Comments 0

OKG7 eat: Soccer pub crawl

Football season is finally here! We call it soccer, but that doesn’t have to stop you from indulging in two favorite European traditions: walking and pub crawling. Since the Energy FC games will be alcohol-free, we’ve created a list of pubs and taverns within walking distance from Clement E. Pribil Stadium at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.

— by Devon Green 

photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

04/09/2014 | Comments 0

OGK7 eat: Dollars to doughnuts

While the idea of fried dough may or may not be American in origin, the traditional ring-shaped confection that we know and love does originate here. According to The Smithsonian, doughnuts were created by an enterprising New England sailor’s mother who wanted a way to store and transport pastry. Regardless of its origin, the doughnut is a modern favorite.

— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman 

04/02/2014 | Comments 0
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Restaurant Reviews

Chillin’ at Chelino’s

Chelino’s creates a homey atmosphere for hearty Mexican fare.

Carol Smaglinski September 28th, 2011

Soaking wet (What, was that rain?), we opened the door of the Chelino’s on 50th near MacArthur and were delighted to see the colorful, bright orange interior transporting us right to the heart of Mexico. Who knew Mexico was this close?

This is the most recent addition to the locally based Chelino’s chain. Diners were mostly groups of four to six men who filled the tables in the simple, cheerful dining room while inhaling the food from the kitchen. There was no way they were leaving the least bit hungry.

The Chelino’s menu takes a bit of studying before ordering, but most of us have our favorites, and it is easy to zero in on them. 

So with our forks poised, server Esperanza Sanchez brought us complimentary chips, salsa good enough to be eaten with a spoon and cheese sauce, along with corn and flour tortillas. We ordered three scoops of so-healthy guacamole ($5.99), which is made fresh all day long. It came on a bed of crisp lettuce, garnished with a slice of tomato.

Then we shared the botana ($7.99), a pleasurable plate holding grilled onions, tomatoes, Mexican potatoes and sliced avocados, along with flavorful fried jalapeños that set our tongues tingling. Those green jalapeño peppers are incidentally named after Xalapa, the capital city of the state of Veracruz, Mexico.

Other starters range from five versions of nachos ($6.99 to $9.99) — including a deluxe, fiesta, grande, bean and a cheese — and a plato fiesta ($7.99) that could easily make a whole meal.

I chose my entrée under the fiesta dinners section of the large menu, and it was the chicken and rice dinner ($10.99). The 5-ounce tender and tasty chicken breast was grilled and topped with melted Jack and Cheddar cheeses on top, and came with rice, refried beans, pico de gallo and guacamole. I requested the well-seasoned borracho beans instead of refried beans, and it was done with a smile.

Our other menu item was topshelf! We were wowed by the Free Willy ($13.99, with lots of bang for the buck). It’s a whole catfish grilled with its head on, cheeks intact. While it was being cooked, our server popped out a few times to beg for more time. It arrived shortly, with the addition of sliced avocado and Mexican potatoes also worthy of attention.

We were wowed by the Free Willy, a whole catfish grilled with its head on.

For dessert, we had a slice of its awesome flan ($2.75) and churros ($1.95) done in the form of triangles, made from sweet dough that had been fried and then sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

Along with familiar south-ofthe-border menu items, Chelino’s also features a ranchero steak and shrimp dinner ($13.99) cooked with onions, tomatoes and bell peppers served on a sizzling skillet. The excellent fish tacos ($11.99) are done with catfish grilled in spices and garlic with grilled fresh vegetables. The nifty shrimp cocktail ($10.99) is presented in a large, chilled goblet with V8 juice, Tabasco, diced avocado, diced onion, cilantro and zinged up with a bit of lime juice.

As we observed and scrutinized the place, I thought: Big dreams sure turned into reality here. The local Chelino’s chain is owned by Marcelino Garcia and began with just three workers. He got his start, like so many do, as a dishwasher at age 16, then a busboy and then a fry cook. In the late 1980s, he opened his own place, which has grown to a dozen locations.

This 50th street version is owned by Marcelino’s brother, Armando. Armando’s son, Armando Jr., is the chef, and his brother, Jonathan, is a waiter. Armando Jr. started cooking when he was just 8 years old.

As far as the reviewed meal, we could not clean our plates, but that’s the thing with familyowned restaurants: You feel pretty guilty if you don’t, and they want to know why. Filled white boxes went home with us.

Photo by Mark Hancock

Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.

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