Even though NE 23rd Street is one of the most historical streets in Oklahoma City, many locals tend to forget that it’s also home to some of the most grassroots and homegrown eateries in town, the best having a specific focus on soul food, barbecue and old-fashioned Southern cooking. NE 23rd Street restaurants are OKC’s culinary history all in a few blocks and really should be revered as such.
Winning big can be hungry, thirsty work. We scoured Oklahoma’s casinos for your best bets on sustenance whether you are on a winning streak, holding, folding, walking away, running, or just down to your last five bucks.
Customers, with real respect, stand in front of the open kitchen in Hobby’s Hoagies in Edmond. They watch the juggling act going on before them as the crew pumps out pizza, Reubens, hoagies and justifiably famous Philadelphia cheesesteaks. They even make their own bread.
Co-owned now by Kim Nixon and her father, George Hobson, it was his idea to start the business in 1991 and fueled it to succeed, all because he missed the food he was used to eating while living in Wilmington, Del.
I’ve been a customer for many years, simply because of its consistency. At Hobby’s, a patron never gets taken on a restaurant rollercoaster ride at the restaurant, which now features Boar’s Head meat.right, Hobby’s Hoagies is family owned and operated since 1991. from left Shelby Jones, George Hobson and Robert Ellzey
Assisted by Robert Ellvey, my friend and I chose the toppings listed above for its authentic N.Y. thin-crust pizza and ordered two sandwiches, too. The basic large pizza ($9.99, plus an $1 each for extra toppings) was splendid, and we dug in with glee. Free toppings include Parmesan, garlic and oregano.
Other toppings available include sausage, Canadian bacon, hamburger, pineapple, green peppers and crushed cherry peppers. Next up was the zesty Philadelphia cheesesteak done with chopped rib-eye on a freshly made Italian roll. We nibbled on every last bite of this culinary magic. I came back for a blockbuster Reuben ($6.69) on a caraway seed-studded rye bread the next day and found it moist and juicy.
There’s lots more on the menu to please those who are seeking other cuisine, including spaghetti ($6.29) and a meatball sandwich ($5.49), soup ($3.69 a bowl) and loose-meat hamburger subs ($7.19).
At Hobby’s, the thrust is to expose the people in Oklahoma to the food from “Back East.” The owners offer a nice selection of cheese from Boar’s Head, along with the well-respected Boar’s Head meat that can be purchased by the pound. The Hoagie peppers, called crushed, diced red peppers, are available in jars, too.We were impressed with its 13 assorted flavors of homemade Italian water ice ($1.25, small; $2.25 medium; $3.25 large) made on the East Coast. The dessert is simple: a mixture of frozen sugar and water, plus flavoring. Italian water ice was like eating snow, but what got us giggling — and then exploding into a full-throttle, throwing-your-headback-and-howling mode — were our neon-colored tongues. No kidding.
After scooping up the blueberry version, my friend’s tongue turned a dazzling blue. Standing on a street corner, he could have stopped traffic by simply sticking out his tongue.
My green-apple ice left me with a grass-green line right down the middle of my tongue. We then asked Nick Walker, who was working behind the counter, to catch a photo of us so my friend could get a chuckle out of his 7-year-old daughter.
Fulfill all your sweet senses with other East Coast desserts, such as Oreo Cookie Dreams, Strawberry Swirl Cake, Lemon Bars and also 7-Layer bars.
By the way, Hobson hatched some ambitious plans and now has a sister restaurant in downtown OKC, at 325 N. Walker Ave.
“We save you the plane fare,” said Hobson.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.