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
2262 W. Main St., Norman
What works: a variety of menu items that are both tasty and healthy.
What needs work: Some of the prices are a little steep.
The tip(s): Order whatever is in season or on special because Local tries its best to offer the freshest area ingredients possible.
There are many restaurants in the metro area with a farm-to-fork emphasis, but Local in Norman has taken it to the next level with an aim to create a menu solely based on seasonally available, homegrown produce and meat.
Don’t be fooled by its strip mall location; Local is a large and spacious restaurant that features a modern design with soft lighting and comfortable decor. But it’s perfect for an intimate dinner, too.
There are quite a few tables, and other seating options include a cozy lounge area connected to the bar, as well as a shaded patio.
The menu varies based on what’s being harvested, though some items are available year-round with seasonal modification.
I began dinner with smothered french fries ($5), a happy-hour special with roasted red peppers, red onion and goat cheese. The fries were thinly cut, warm and crispy. The roasted red pepper, goat cheese and red onions all carried strong flavors that weren’t overwhelming but meshed well together. The fries were served with truffle aioli and ketchup, both housemade.Next up was the farmers market salad ($5), a menu item that stays year-round, with updates based on what’s in season.
The salad was a fresh menagerie of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, herbed goat cheese and marinated eggplant. It was topped with a blend of spices and a great house-made green goddess dressing, which was light but flavorful and made with a dairy or cream base, spices and garlic.
For the entrée, the four meat meatloaf ($16) included Oklahoma beef, buffalo, pork and lamb — thick and hearty. The blend of meats came topped with a mushroom sauce and crispy bacon. The sides were grilled zucchini and warm, cheesy au gratin potatoes. The meal gave off a home-cooked vibe, which was pleasantly unexpected. A lighter portion of the meal ($9) is also available.
I went again for lunch — it’s that good. This time, an order of portobello fries ($7) started the meal. They were six thick-cut fries that were crispy outside and had a nice amount of spice. They were breaded with cornmeal and served with truffle aioli. The mushrooms were warm and flavorful, and the aioli was a nice touch to the dish.
The next part of the meal was the lamb dip sandwich ($10), which was no ordinary sandwich. Instead of an overstuffed sandwich with heaps of meat and cheese, the baguette offered a balanced bread-to-contents ratio and was filled with warm, thinly sliced lamb and melted Swiss. It was messy but oh-so-edible with a mild (but greasy) warm au jus.
The food at Local is fresh and delicious, and the menu is much more diverse than one might expect. There are typical healthy options like soups and salads, but it also features items like burgers, enchiladas and ravioli, for those craving something with a bit more caloric density.