- Garett Fisbeck
- Supreme Pizza at Flip's in Oklahoma City, Monday, May 18, 2015.
Could Flips be more Italian?
Yes. Yes it could. For one, it could make everyone working there grow a thick mustache. It could replace all the patio furniture with gondolas. It could refuse to speak-a the English while pinching the air in front of it.
Other than that, Flips Wine Bar & Trattoria, 5801 N. Western Ave., is about as Italian as it comes in Oklahoma City. Red-and-white checked tablecloths? Yep. The sounds of The Rat Pack crooning hits over the speaker? Indeed. The Omega 3 Antioxidant Power Salad ($12.75) with salmon, blueberries and avocado?
Thats not particularly Italian, said Flips manager Bri Bibb, who has worked at the restaurant in one capacity or another for more than a dozen years. But it is, by far, our most popular salad.
Now in its 30th year, Flips is a restaurant both bound by tradition and free of expectations. Bibb said she sees couples who started dating 13 years ago come in together today as families. The small, loyal staff gives the place a very homey, comfortable feel.
Its longevity and success also gives it the freedom to add things like that salad to its menu.
I quite enjoyed the salad, actually. It was fresh and light but still quite satisfying.
The Smokin Italian Mac and Cheese ($10.50 at lunch, $17.95 as part of a three-course dinner with soup and salad) doesnt strike me as especially Italian, either, though it has lots of Italian parts. Italian Fontina and provolone with house-cured cappacola ham on Flips own hand-cut rigatoni is continental enough. Add in Swiss and cheddar, crunchy chopped green onions and Parmesan cheese and youve got a grown-up delight thats exponentially better than your childhood favorite.
- Garett Fisbeck
- Smokin Italian Mac and Cheese
Still, if youre looking for classic, red-sauce Italian dishes, theres no shame in Flips spaghetti and meatballs game. For $10.75 at lunch or $17.95 at dinner, you also can choose your pasta and sauce combination, though feel free to ask your server, who will have some solid ideas. I found meatballs a prime example of how slow food can be done well. Each tender sphere waits to meet a fork so it can fall apart into the sauce.
Mamas meat sauce is another delectable choice. Its preparation takes two days, with slow-roasted pork shoulder that is shredded before it is cooked into a tomato sauce that is bursting with robust tomato flavor.
I was back there when they were shredding it, Bibb said. It looked so good, I wanted to make a sandwich with it then and there.
Sadly for her, that pork was destined for the sauce. But dont cry too hard or youll overlook the under-ordered Pesto Dumplings appetizer ($10.50). Perfectly cooked, hand-rolled potato gnocchi are drenched in a creamy pesto sauce with fresh spinach. If you cant get enough of these, theres good news: It is also served as an entree ($11.50 at lunch, $17.95 for the three-course dinner). Be sure to order extra bread because this sauce is begging to be sopped up.
Dont leave without trying a Flips pizza. It has something called the All-Meaty Supreme ($9.75 at lunch, $15.50 at dinner), which is a bit of a misnomer because it doesnt have all the meats. Oh, but its plenty supreme. Chicken and hamburger are junk meats compared to the cappacola, prosciutto ham and salami that hide with tomato sauce under all that cheese. On top of the mozzarella is Italian sausage, black olives, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions with a hearty chiffonade of fresh basil. A pizza with this much protein has no business tasting so fresh, but it does anyway.
The credit goes to owners Betsy Mitschke and Gail Vines, who are hands-on in the restaurants day-to-day running. Bibb said theyve kept Flips ahead of its time by being old-fashioned.
Were proud to do it ourselves, Bibb said. We make our own pasta. We make our sauces. We roll out the dough.
In a style of cuisine where so many competitors rely on canned, dried and frozen ingredients, its a difference that comes through on the plate.
Gondolas and mustaches or not, Flips is one of my favorite spots for Italian food in Oklahoma City. Thirty years after opening, its little wonder it has built such an enduring, committed audience.
- Garett Fisbeck
- Salmon salad at Flip's.
print headline: Mangi Italiano, Flips Wine Bar & Trattorias distinctive menu, great service and pizza are the secrets behind its 30-year success.