Gigglez Bar & Grill is a delightful restaurant with a quirky name 

click to enlarge Cheery Cheese Fries at Gigglez Bar & Grill, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Cheery Cheese Fries at Gigglez Bar & Grill, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016.

Just call it GBG if saying “Gigglez” makes you giggly. That was the decision I made after several visits to Midtown’s restaurant, bar and comedy club. The food is great. The service is friendly.

And those two facts are why hungry locals need to learn more about Gigglez Bar & Grill, 1016 N. Walker Ave.

Owners Marty and Casey Phillips have quietly built a roster of culinary hits, thanks in part to menu guru and chef trainer Vuong Nguyen, who helped redesign the restaurant’s food offerings. Go ahead and laugh if you have the urge to, because nobody should ignore food this delightful.

At $9, All Mine, Nachos is an appetizer that outdoes most bar versions of this happy hour staple. That is not to say a customer who has enjoyed a few cold ones won’t also enjoy this plate of nachos. They are satisfying and delicious in all the ways one wants nachos to be — salty, crunchy and covered with toppings.

click to enlarge All Mine, Nachos (w/ steak) at Gigglez Bar & Grill, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • All Mine, Nachos (w/ steak) at Gigglez Bar & Grill, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016.

But there’s something else to them. Beyond a pile of tortilla chips covered in queso, Gigglez’ version adds melty mozzarella and then tops the chips with freshly made pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, jalapeños and balsamic caramel.

Adding regular caramel to a savory dish sounds crazy, but the balsamic caramel is buttery with a hit of the tang and deep, decadent flavor of the balsamic vinegar.

Bar nuts can often be another ho-hum snack for drinkers, but Gigglez’ Three Guys Walk Into a Bar, Nuts ($8) are served warm and seasoned to perfection.

click to enlarge Three Guys Walk Into A Bar, Nuts at Gigglez Bar & Grill, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Three Guys Walk Into A Bar, Nuts at Gigglez Bar & Grill, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016.

Diners who order this from the Ticklez appetizer menu embark on a journey to joy. The bowl that is delivered to the table is full of mixed nuts that are roasted, oiled and tossed in a special spice blend with rosemary for an herbaceous kick that is both familiar and unexpected. These are wonderful.

The homemade chili and the fresh, thinly sliced jalapeños are what put Cheery Cheese Fries ($7) on the must-try list. Don’t expect a mountain of french fries.

The appetizer that arrives at your table might not seem like a lot of food, but the thick-cut pub fries at the foundation of this dish are some top-notch potato planks. The chili flavor isn’t overpowering or too spicy and is balanced nicely with the melted cheese.

Add a jalapeño for an instant burst of heat and then put out the fire with a pull of beer.

While I’m of the opinion that appetizers are enough for anybody, those looking for a full meal will be pleased with the Gigglez menu.

First up in the Hammin’ it Up Burgerz category is the Have It Your Way, Dude ($8).

click to enlarge Have It Your Way , Dude (w/ bacon and fried egg) at Gigglez Bar & Grill, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Have It Your Way , Dude (w/ bacon and fried egg) at Gigglez Bar & Grill, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016.

Every place serves burgers, right? Gigglez, though, makes its version with a beef and pork patty. The flavor is familiar but just different enough to pique interest, and the kitchen staff knows how to prepare it so it’s perfectly juicy. Go whole hog (and chicken) and add bacon and a fried egg on top for $1 each. It’s the breakfast burger we all crave.

The restaurant, which opened in November, features a pizza oven left behind by the previous tenant, Saturn Grill.

That’s probably what makes Pineapple Express ($10) taste so good. Pizza ovens get very hot very fast, which is key to a properly cooked pie. This pizza is smallish, but enough for two to share, with a zippy pesto sauce under the cheese. The chicken is juicy, as are the tomatoes, and the spinach and pineapple add nutritional value and plenty of flavor. The finishing touches of bacon and fresh basil make this menu item irresistible.

click to enlarge Pineapple Express at Gigglez Bar & Grill, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Pineapple Express at Gigglez Bar & Grill, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016.

For a real kick to the, uh, tongue, order an Itsa Spicy Meata Balla ($11). Gigglez makes its own meatballs and a spicy marinara, which are perfect when pressed inside focaccia bread with melted provolone. 

Another focaccia star is the pulled pork goodness that is Kermie’s Love ($10). Nguyen is well loved for his homemade pickles, and he gave Gigglez owners the recipe to continue making crisp, tangy cucumber slices that really add some zing  to the exquisite barbecue pork.

click to enlarge Kermie's Love at Gigglez Bar & Grill, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Kermie's Love at Gigglez Bar & Grill, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016.

Like so many other restaurants across the metro, Gigglez has expanded its hours to include a brunch service. But rather than serve up the same old eggs Benedict and omelets as everyone else, Gigglez’ brunch gets a little crazy, including items with taro waffles, house-made chorizo and braised pork belly. 

The Smokey Biscuit ($9) is a great pick. It’s a smoked gouda biscuit covered in decadent chicken-sausage gravy, but there’s a problem: It needs to be bigger.

My Cousin Bennie ($12) is the owner’s favorite. This version of eggs Benedict uses rolls of baked pizza dough as a base, adding pepperoni, ham, sausage, spinach tomatoes and olives under a pair of perfectly poached eggs. Over the top is a delicious hollandaise sauce with Parmesan cheese and basil.

It’s a gorgeous mess and more food lovers need to know about it. There’s no way Gigglez should have a table open on Saturday morning with this level of cuisine. Oklahoma City loves brunch and this innovative menu is exactly what we crave.

Be it Gigglez or GBG or whatever you decide to call it (I choose “delicious”), this restaurant offers a heck of a meal. How many more foodies can discover this quirky eatery before everybody realizes the joke’s on them for missing out? 

Print headline: Seriously delicious, Gigglez Bar & Grill is a delightful restaurant with a quirky name.

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