What a wealth of choices! We remember the days when the only places to eat after 10 p.m. were Denny’s and Waffle House. Next time you’re out late with friends, check out OKC’s abundance of local late-night eatery options.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock, Shannon Cornman and Gazette staff
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
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
1129 Elm, Norman
What works: hot food served fast
What needs work: It can be a little hard to find if you aren’t familiar with the area.
Tips: Orders can be made to go.
The first time I drove by Shawarma Vite, I knew I had to stop in soon, if only for the possibility that maybe The Avengers would stop in after saving the world (you’ve seen the movie, right?).
Located in Norman’s Stubbeman Village shopping center, this unassuming corner of the University of Oklahoma campus boasts the delightful scents of Moroccan fare.
And while I didn’t see a single superhero while eating there, the food more than made up for that.
The restaurant itself is small, with four tables, a counter with stools and a few wrought-iron tables out front. Somewhat hidden, Shawarma Vite is nestled next to that little convenience store that OU alumni know as the place you used to buy clove cigarettes whenever you went to karaoke night at Bill’s.
Unlike the rest of the stores in that shopping center, Shawarma Vite is bright, with a fresh coat of green paint and nice tile work. The place may be small, but it’s welcoming.
When I walked up to the counter, I was greeted with a cup of hot Moroccan tea ($3.99). Although it was almost 90 degrees outside, this hot tea was refreshing, sweet and minty. And if you’re not a fan of hot tea, it also has an iced version ($1.99) in addition to your standard soft drinks.
Behind the counter, you can see the telltale spinning cones of meat, the ones that let you know you’re going to thoroughly enjoy your meal.
You can get a pita sandwich ($5) or a wrap ($6) with chicken or steak shawarma, Moroccan chicken or gyros. The chicken shawarma pita was perfect. The sweetness of the meat was balanced with shredded cabbage and pickled turnips.
And any of the sandwiches can be turned into combo meals, either by adding a drink and stuffed grape leaves or falafels ($3.25), or a drink and fries ($1.99). Either one is great for a filling and delicious lunch.
I may or may not have gotten in a fist fight with my boyfriend over the stuffed grape leaves. Four came with all the food we ordered, but they were so good that we really didn’t want to share.
The same goes for the baba ghanoush and the hummus. All three items are featured on the La Fiesta Platter ($6), which comes with enough food for it to be a meal for one, or an appetizer for a crowd.
If you have diverse eaters made up of vegetarians and meat eaters alike, Shawarma Vite has you covered. The falafel sandwich ($4 for pita, $5 for wrap) was delicious, and those were some of the best falafels I’ve ever had. It also offers five different veggie platters, all between $6 and $8, with items like hummus, baba ghanoush and grilled pita.
For those watching their figures and looking for a good salad, I recommend the tabbouleh ($3.25 for a small, $6 for a large). The mint, parsley and lemon juice make this a flavorful treat that you will gladly have as an entree or in place of french fries as a side item.
For cheese lovers, there’s always the feta salad, full of lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, parsley, mint, sumac, olive oil and, of course, feta cheese ($4.25 for a small, $7 for a large).
I can’t emphasize enough how terrific this food was. There wasn’t a single thing we ordered that we didn’t love. The portions were huge, indicative of the Mediterranean hospitality that I associate with a table full of food.
My boyfriend and I have already agreed that Shawarma Vite is our new favorite restaurant, and I can’t wait to go back again and again.