Tuesday 29 Jul

Food briefs: You’re toast, er, pretzel

There’s a new food truck on the scene.
07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Upward mobility

Locals can have fresh microgreens and herbs for cooking in a new and convenient way. Microgreens, a chef favorite, are petite vegetable greens that add color, nutrition and flavor to dishes.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Vietnamese comfort food

I’ve always had a love affair with the refreshing, healthy cuisine of Vietnam. I love the fragrances, the fresh herbs, cilantro, basil, mint and other Asian herbs: perilla, Vietnamese coriander and sawtooth cilantro. And I love the contrast and balance in almost every dish: spicy vs. cool, salty vs. sweet and steamed vs. crispy.
07/16/2014 | Comments 0

OKG eat: Cool places, cooler drinks

We know. It’s hot. It’s summer in Oklahoma. Cool down by sampling cocktails that local bars and restaurants have concocted just for you. Find a nice, air conditioned space or a shaded patio and while away the hours drinking the flavors of summer. You might decide it’s not that bad after all.

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

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

New kids on the block

There are a wealth of new local eateries cropping up in the metro and even more coming. If they’re not on your radar, they should be. From the comfy atmosphere at The Barrel on Western Avenue to the laid-back vibe at the Plaza District’s coffee shop, you might find a new regular hangout.

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

07/16/2014 | Comments 0


Ah, the perils of working with special dietary needs. It can make dining out a pain. Luckily, with restaurateurs becoming more savvy to their diners’ needs, there are a bevy of places in OKC to satisfy your craving for the foods you love without losing taste. All choices this week have been road-tested by gluten-sensitive foodies to guarantee satisfaction.
07/09/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Food · Restaurant Reviews · Louie’s latest
Restaurant Reviews

Louie’s latest

It’s new digs for Louie’s in Nichols Hills, and the impressive place runs like the proverbial well-oiled machine.

Carol Smaglinski October 5th, 2011

“Let’s go to Louie’s!” That’s the frequent chant I hear bellowing from friends of mine when we try to come to a decision on where to eat.

The 16th Louie’s Grill & Bar, 7300 N. Western, just made its debut, and the Oklahoma-based concept is popping up around town with more to come. Calling itself a casual American-fare grill, there are Louie’s all over the metro, plus others in Broken Arrow, Jenks, Stillwater and Tulsa. Beyond this, there is a Louie’s in Fayetteville, Ark., and another in Wichita, Kan.

Imagine, just eight years ago, the first Louie’s opened in Campus Corner.

from left, Jamie Forsyth, Mike Fuentez and Kate Kahmann at Louie’s

Louie’s is under the umbrella of the successful Norman-based Hal Smith Restaurant Group that has established its reputation and continues to soar. The Hal Smith group also runs several unbeatable franchises, including Charleston’s Restaurant, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, Mahogany Prime Steakhouse and Ted’s Cafe Escondido.

The group also runs the regional operations of Krispy Kreme, which is where Mike Fuentez, the general manager of the latest Louie’s, got his start. When asked how much weight he put on while working in that particular doughnut shop starting in June 2001, he said he actually lost 35 pounds in his first four months. He worked from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. with two-hour lines.

Fuentez, who entered Louie’s management program and became a managing partner, now owns a piece of the action. With nothing more than $10 on its menu, Louie’s is famed for burgers, plus pizza, salads, soups and sandwiches. There is also a full bar with wine, specialty drinks and beer.

More than a dozen flat-screen televisions command the handsome seating room at this latest Louie’s. Those televisions are tuned into many different sports events being broadcast simultaneously — unless the University of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State University are playing.

“It depends on how much orange or crimson we have in the building,” Fuentez said.

After work, the 5 p.m. crowd gathers around the bar. The outside patio looks welcoming, but it’s the sleek, modern decor of Louie’s and the comfortable chairs that most regulars enjoy.

Our music is playing all of the time for people in the mood for a cocktail.
—Mike Fuentez

“It’s been a good area so far,” Fuentez said. “Our busiest hours are for lunch, and we are usually full beginning at 11 to 11:15 a.m., and it goes on until 1:30 p.m. We get a lot of Chesapeake folks, and we give Chesapeake people a 10-percent discount. Our music is playing all of the time for people in the mood to have a nice cocktail and not have the music so loud that you can’t have a conversation.”

Walking through the doors, customers are greeted with a “Hi! Welcome to Louie’s!” from the servers. Patrons appreciate being noticed. It’s somewhat like “Cheers,” “where everybody knows your name.”

For larger groups, panels between tables come down, allowing everyone to sit together. Plantation shutters block unnecessary sunlight, and hanging on the burgundy-walled dining room and the inside lobby are stunning pieces of art, all gathered by Traci Smith, the daughter of Hal Smith.

Seating capacity, not counting the bar top, is 120. Groups of 25 to 30 come in, and they can be seated, but for anything that large, the crew would like prior notification.

The patio is seductive and holds 18 people. In spring of 2012, plans are to add up to six more tables.

When Louie’s started assembling its crew, there were a few rough spots.

During the long, hot summer of 2011, the newest Louie’s, 7300 N. Western, was in the midst of the remodeling and there was no air conditioning available because there was no electricity, which stunned the applicants. But they hustled along with Austin Wiggins, the food and beverage director in charge of hiring.

“It was horrible with 108 degrees outside and just two outlets in the whole building were working,” said Mike Fuentez, general manager. He said several employees on his staff, which now numbers approximately 42, came from other Louie’s in Edmond and in Moore and brought along their valuable experience.

“Several of our people worked at other Louie’s and still do work more than one job. Some actually have multiple jobs, but they come in knowing the job and where everything is,” Fuentez said.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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