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
Syrup Breakfast Boutique
123 E. Main, Norman
What works: a small menu of favorite breakfast foods
What needs work: The wait for a table can get pretty long.
Tips: Drink the coffee black; it’s that good.
True, the mornings I rush off to work, I tend to find myself making breakfast out of a Coca-Cola and a candy bar. But I try to give that meal the respect it deserves, and if I have time on the weekends, I like to do breakfast up right.
Syrup is a “breakfast boutique” in Norman. Although surrounded by bars and late-night hangs on Main Street, it doesn’t stay open past 2 p.m. It’s a cute little place, with long booths and chandeliers, as well as rustic wood tables.
When we arrived, there was a short wait. Syrup is small, and word about it has spread. Luckily, its menu is small — just one page of unique dishes — so your morning brain isn’t forced to weigh all the possible combinations of eggs, bacon and grits like diners and other breakfast joints. Although the name of the place is sweet, there are plenty of savory options to please everyone in your group.
We started off with some coffee.
Syrup serves Stumptown Coffee ($2), a welcome departure from what one encounters at most breakfast places.
To quote my boyfriend, “This coffee isn’t messing around.” It’s strong, but not overpowering like some of the more over-roasted blends one would find at a certain international coffee chain. I had it black and let the server top it off every time she passed by.
On the menu, I saw Home Sweet Homa ($7) and knew I had to have it. Sweet potato pancakes come covered in marshmallow cream and crumbled pecans, with some syrup on the side.
The stack is close to toppling when it hits the table, but it didn’t last long. The pancakes aren’t as sweet as you would imagine, especially for something that comes covered in marshmallow cream. All the flavors balance each other out, and even my sweets-hating sweetie enjoyed them.
Another treat for the sugar fiend inside you is the crunchy French toast ($8). You get four wedges of challah bread that have been coated in cornflakes. It’s served with whipped cream, syrup and strawberries.
What’s a breakfast without some eggs Benedict ($11)? There just isn’t enough hollandaise these days. This was probably the fastest scarfed item on our table; our forks clanked against each other as we battled for the last bite. The eggs were poached perfectly, and they come with slices of avocado mixed in with the normal ingredients and with bacon substituted for ham.
Admittedly, I am not one who orders a fritatta often, but I’m glad I did at Syrup. Usually, I find such menu items, which have to be prepared well ahead of time, can be dry. Not the case with the stuffed frittata ($8). It was packed with bacon, potatoes, Tillamook cheddar cheese and bell peppers. Our server brought us some Cholula Hot Sauce, which proved to be the perfect addition.
The Morning Glory ($8) is probably the best dish for those who like a little bit of sweet and a little bit of savory. It’s the fluffiest waffle I’ve ever had, topped with scrambled eggs, your choice of bacon or sausage (I did both because I have no self-control), Tillamook cheddar cheese and, of course, syrup. Not only is it delicious, it’s filling and satisfies each little taste bud on your tongue. Added bonus: This is probably the best hangover cure in Norman city limits.
While Norman has its share of greasy spoons and breakfast spots, Syrup is a gem, the sort of place where you can take your mom, meet your friends or drag your one-night stand the morning after.