It is these chefs and aspiring restaurateurs that came up in many a successful chain, and it is in these concepts that most of them acquired the skills and ambition to open a place of their own. These young, eager, talented individuals have taken what they have learned and branched out with new flavors and classic techniques in a culture ripe for change.
Thank the Food Channel, with its nonstop coverage of the newest and the hottest in the culinary world beaming into every home, all the time. Thank the “slow food” movement, with its emphasis on quality ingredients and the idea that food should be enjoyed, extolled and doted over, the process as much a reward as the product. And finally, thank those whose advocacy for a more locally sourced, sustainable lifestyle and its “buy local” philosophy created a demand among consumers to want more than just the fare available at the nearest big-box retailer or chain restaurant.
It is telling how ripe for change Oklahoma City was that it was a movement spurred as much by the consumers as the retailers. Local talent who had come up in the industry as it was even 10 years ago were free to branch out and do things their own way.
Brady Sexton’s approach with his concept, Scratch, is a product of all these positive changes, and it seems he has found his niche.
got his start managing several area restaurants before briefly leaving
the industry to pursue a career in oil and gas land management.
“That lasted about 8 years, but I was never really happy with anything but the money,” he said.
He always aspired to have his own place, and in a short amount of time, several things fell into place that pointed toward it being the right time. A space opened up when Matt and Sara Runkle of Native Roots were looking to make the move to Oklahoma City from Norman. At almost the same time, a friend of the family, Nate Nuss, a trained chef, returned to Oklahoma from time abroad with an impressive resume.
Also, Brady called in longtime friend Ira Koplowitz, owner of Bittercube.
Koplowitz had bartended all over the world, and Brady saw his work up close at The Violet Hour in Chicago.
“I knew right then and there that when I opened my own place, it would have a bar like that,” Brady said.
In addition to working with Bittercube, the pair act as consultants with restaurants and bars.
“I don’t place a bottle behind the bar without their approval,” Sexton said. “Our cocktails are among the best in the state because that is what these guys do.”
Scratch’s approach to cocktails is just as the name implies.“We knew we would make everything from scratch, naturally,” Brady said. “The bar squeezes all the juices, each garnish is cut to order, and [we] make all of our syrups.”
It takes the same approach with the food menu.
“Everything that comes in the door has to be the rawest way we can receive it: no seasoning mixes … and there’s no corn syrup or enriched flour allowed in the door,” Brady said.
Added Sexton, “Eat real food, drink more; that’s how we believe people should live.”
Brady doesn’t have any trouble finding inspiration. “I have such talented chef,” he said.
He can present chefs with a really bare bones idea and watch them “come up with something awesome on the spot.”
What you can see from talking with Brady for even a short amount of time is that the details are what sets Scratch apart, along with its commitment to prepare the freshest ingredients in the best possible way. The reception to Brady’s approach has been a positive one.
He is already considering expansion into other metro areas and is excited about the future.
“Our ambitions are high,” he said.
“Eating real food and drinking our cocktails with everything made from scratch means you will feel wonderful tonight and tomorrow.”