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Heaven and earth


From sky high to hitting the pavement, here (in no order) are OKC’s top 10 culinary moments of 2012.

Greg Elwell December 26th, 2012


Blue Nile
Keep on truckin’
Pioneers like Big Truck Tacos and Wild Al’s cleared the road, and now mobile food has blossomed in Oklahoma City. Taste of Soul Egg Roll, Grouchy Sam’s, Roxy’s Ice Cream, Heo’s Kitchen — whatever you want, you can find it on wheels. And business for Waffle Champion was so good, a brick-and-mortar location will soon open in Midtown.

Vast views
The Devon tower signals Oklahoma City’s economic growth; the restaurants inside signal the city’s culinary growth. Nebu is the restaurant every company should have: full of fresh, tasty and nutritious foods. Vast brings back the elegance of classic top-of-the-tower restaurants with high-end dishes and great views.

Naan issue
For years, Indian food has tried to penetrate the Edmond market. 2012 was the year William Bathini and Dominic Gomes brought Heritage India to town. With lots of authentic, regional Indian favorites, this new spot seems to have the staying power others did not. If you go, be sure to order some fresh naan. It might just be the best in the metro.

Eggs-cellent
This year, A Good Egg Dining Group opened its second Tucker’s Onion Burgers location at the Classen Curve after seeing its N.W. 23rd Street restaurant packed daily for lunch and dinner. More availability hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm, as both spots are constantly bustling. Good Egg’s newest concept, a fresh bakery and sandwich shop called Kitchen 324, opened Dec. 21.

The Mule
Secret’s out!
Who would’ve thought a little slider joint in a weird office building in north OKC would make such a splash? Well, me. I did. I loved S&B’s and so did everybody else. Which is how it ended up with a second successful grill on N.W. Ninth Street and a third location down on S. Walker. It turns out Oklahomans love great hamburgers with innovative flavor combinations and a rocking attitude.

Cussin’ Custinos
Usually, kitchen controversies play out behind the scenes, but Angelo and Phil Custino (Custino’s Restaurant & Bar) and Bud and Barbara Elder (Custino’s Italian Kitchen) have provided plenty of entertainment by airing their battle a he-said, he-said about business mismanagement — in public.

Chiles
About once a year, I make a pilgrimage to Albuquerque, N.M., to gorge on my favorite meal in the world: carne adovada, a dish of braised pork and peppers. This New Mexican favorite has found its way to the metro with the opening of the Green Chile Kitchen, 12 East Main, in Yukon. Is the carne adovada as good as in the Land of Enchantment? That’s up to you. All I know is, I enjoyed my visit to Green Chile Kitchen enough that I’m already planning a return.

Burrow down
A trio of longtime restaurant workers got together with a great location (the Plaza District) and a great idea (fancy grilled cheese sandwiches) and the result is The Mule.

The ideas alone, like the “leave-a-beer” wall (enjoy a brew and leave one for a friend), would be enough to make it a hit, but these guys actually know their food, too. Whether it’s just cheese, a grilled vegan sandwich or bread stuffed full of macaroni and cheese, it’s hard to walk out of The Mule without a smile on your face.

Vast
Afri-can
We’ve been lucky to have Queen of Sheba in Oklahoma City, but 2012 was the year a few others got into the act. With the addition in Edmond of Blue Nile, another Ethiopian eatery, and Mama Sinmi’s Chop House, a West African shop, we’ve tripled the number of options for amazing African cuisine. Step outside your comfort zone, and you may find you’ve got a few new favorite dishes.

Localized
How would it be possible for Local not to be a hit? With a beloved local chef like Ryan Parrot at the helm, the best farm-to-table cuisine and an innovative concept like “Localville” for the kids, this Norman restaurant was bound to turn some heads. Little wonder, then, that in less than a year it’s become a favorite destination for many in the metro.


Photos by Shannon Cornman and Mark Hancock


 
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