Flavor wave 

If a slice isn’t what you’re craving, check out these four northeast Oklahoma City restaurants that come recommended by OKC Black Eats.

click to enlarge Florence's Bar

Berlin Green

Florence's Bar

Florence’s Restaurant

click to enlarge Florence's Meatloaf - BERLIN GREEN
  • Berlin Green
  • Florence's Meatloaf

If you haven’t heard rave reviews of Florence’s Restaurant in the seven decades that they’ve been in business, then you must not read, own a television or have many friends because you’d be hard pressed to find anyone here who hasn’t been to this northeast Oklahoma City fixture. When Oklahoma Gazette dropped in last week to get forkfuls of the Wednesday special, a honey meatloaf that often sells out (so get there early), the place was already abuzz about the forthcoming announcement of the James Beard Foundation award. Florence Jones Kemp was in every food column, blog and all over social media platforms the following day when she became the first Oklahoma restauranteur to win an award from the foundation for what she calls her “country soul cuisine.” And rightly so. Florence grew her own vegetables and churned butter from cows she milked growing up in Boley, turning her particular brand of homestyle cooking into a wildly successful restaurant in 1952, which she now operates in concert with her daughter, Victoria. In addition to the house specialties and revolving daily offerings, Florence’s offers a three- and four-vegetable plate (without an entree) for good reason. The mashed potatoes come with hearty starchy chunks in them, the collard greens are an even combination of a bit of bitterness and a touch of sweetness and the buttered corn is pitch-perfect. If you’ve never been, good luck getting your hands on a piece of her yam-fried chicken without a wait in the wake of her national award.

click to enlarge Carican Flavors Jerk Chicken Wings - BERLIN GREEN
  • Berlin Green
  • Carican Flavors Jerk Chicken Wings

Carican Flavors

The first thing that comes to mind when you say “Caribbean food” is thoughts of searing waves of spiciness, but Carican Flavors has toned down the heat in favor of … well … flavors. The curried chicken is best served on a bed of spinach rice but the mild jerk chicken or wings are delicious on their own. The food is served cafeteria style with a choice of two sides. For those, it might be best to time your visit on a Friday or Saturday when the callaloo — a leafy vegetable dish made with taro, amaranth or xanthosoma — is available. The food isn’t the only unique thing about Carican, with Jamaican Ting, a grapefruit soda that puts Fresca to shame, and Trindadian Solo, a soda that comes in banana or kola champagne (kind of like a cream soda) flavors, as well as ginger beer and sorrel (a virgin blend of the drink made from a hibiscus-like flower) made in house.

George’s Happy Hog Bar-B-Q

click to enlarge George's Happy Hof Bar-B-Q - BERLIN GREEN
  • Berlin Green
  • George's Happy Hof Bar-B-Q

While the other restaurants listed here are along major thoroughfares, you have to travel a little off the beaten path to Culbertson Plaza (southwest from NE 23rd St. and Kelley Avenue) for George’s Happy Hog Bar-B-Q, but the place isn’t hard to find. Just follow your nose as the scent of smoked meats leads the way. Whether you like your barbecue on its own or served on a bun, the ribs, brisket and bologna are calling your name. The place can go from dead quiet to completely packed in the blink of an eye, but the service is lightning-fast so it shouldn’t discourage you should you find yourself at the back of a long line. Every barbecue joint should also be judged by its sides and the baked beans and coleslaw here are on point and though it’s a little cocky to call your potato salad “perfect,” you’ll find yourself agreeing after the first taste of the sweet but tangy spuds.

Ice Event Center & Grill

click to enlarge Ice Event Center - BERLIN GREEN
  • Berlin Green
  • Ice Event Center

Known around the city as a popular northeast Oklahoma City nightclub, the Ice Event Center & Grill also offers some of the best quick eats. Whether you go for the cornmeal-breaded fried fish or the ball-in-hand burger basket (which comes with a 12-ounce beef slab instead of the standard 8-ounce patty), all the entrees come with tasty (and piping hot) sides of fries, unless you opt for a salad, which isn’t stingy on its portions either. If they’re available, don’t forget to grab a stack of six strawberry lemonade cookies for dessert.

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