In honor of Black History Month, OKC Black Eats has organized a selection of black-owned restaurants in the Oklahoma City metro area together for a monthlong celebration designed to build community and study economic development.
Apollo Woods founded OKC Black Eats in 2017 and has watched the marketing organization grow in the intervening years so much that it has become his full-time job. After starting Black Restaurant Week last February, Woods is expanding the event to the entire month as 18 black-owned restaurants will host events and offer special menu items.
“It is about food and emphasizing supporting local businesses,” Woods said. “We just want people to have a good time. … It goes way beyond the east side [of Oklahoma City]. I wanted representation across the city. The hope is that if people go to restaurants, they’ll stop at a gas station or walk into a nearby retail space. All of that direct spending stays in that ZIP code, that ward.”
OKC Black Eats is working with the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau to develop an economic impact report for dollars spent at black-owned restaurants and tourism brought to the city.
“I want restaurants to know that you’re a restaurant, but you have impact for drawing people to Oklahoma City,” Woods said.
To participate in OKC Black Restaurant Weeks, download a bingo card at okcblackeats.com. If you complete five restaurants in a row by checking into a restaurant on social media or taking a photo of the food, you will be eligible for prizes like apparel and gift cards sponsored by OKC Convention and Visitors Bureau and Metro Family magazine. Visit okcblackeats.com.
OKC Black Eats is sponsoring a service project Saturday in conjunction with Restore OKC.
PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS IN OKC BLACK RESTAURANT WEEKS
BIG O’S PORK AND DREAMS
285 S. Santa Fe Ave., Edmond
porkanddreams.com | 405-657-2235
Former coach and school counselor Owen Wilson leans on his education background to create the DreamCAST development program that rewards at-risk students and kids with scholarship opportunities. Big O’s specializes in overstuff baked potatoes, brisket, pulled pork, hot links, Polish sausage and much more.
Related Pork dreams: The new brick-and-mortar location of Big O’s Pork & Dreams dishes a family history of barbecue while helping the kids who need it.
100 NE Fourth St.
blackwalnutokc.com | 405-445-6273
Chef Andrew Black has an ambitious culinary mind (See this week’s review on P. 14.), and that continues for his participation in OKC Black Restaurant Weeks. He’s thinking of putting together a special menu in honor of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, who was viewed as a messianic figure by the Rastafari movement in Black’s native Jamaica.
9205 NE 23rd St.
briellesbistro.com | 405-259-8473
The offerings at Brielle’s and its sister restaurant in Automobile Alley, Magnolia Bistro, 722 N. Broadway Ave., Suite 100, are the closest Oklahoma City diners can come to New Orleans with Cajun and Creole meals done right. While you’re checking out its gumbo, étouffée and fried-green tomatoes topped with crawfish, be sure to save room for its huge selections of desserts that include show-stopping cakes and even King Cake bread pudding.
Related Louisiana love: Cooking with purpose, Brielle’s Bistro delivers excellent Cajun and Creole dishes.
Related Downtown Cajun: The owners of Brielle’s Bistro expand into Automobile Alley with the opening of Magnolia Bistro.
2701 N. Martin Luther King Ave.
caricanflavors.com | 405-424-0456
Oklahoma’s beacon for Caribbean food has long been the best place in Oklahoma City for stewed oxtails, jerk chicken and stewed red snapper. Owner Sharon McMillan is working on new menu items this month, which includes salmon for the first time. It’s not on the official menu yet, but be sure to ask for it.
CLEAN JUICE CLASSEN CURVE
5810 N. Classen Blvd.
cleanjuice.com | 281-814-7884
Clean Juice was founded in Charlotte in 2015, and as it has expanded to hundreds of locations across 21 states, it is the only USDA-certified organic juice bar franchise. The first Oklahoma location opened its doors at the beginning of February. Customers can enjoy cold-pressed juice, smoothies, salads, acai bowls and much more.
801 SW 119th St.
cornishsmokehouse.com | 405-703-1300
This restaurant on the border of south Oklahoma City and Moore sets itself apart from the barbecue field by offering deep-fried chicken and fish that is smoked before it gets crispy for extra flavor. It also has homemade jerk sauce made with ingredients shipped from Jamaica. Be on the lookout for jerk fried chicken with French toast as a special item this month.
Related Signature smoke: Cornish Smokehouse made the leap from food truck to brick-and-mortar thanks to a creative menu that includes jerk sauce.
ELMER’S UPTOWN BAR AND GRILL
3925 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day, Elmer’s Uptown has been the place for late-night dancing and drinks as well as food. Get up on the dance floor and groove to make a little extra room for its menu that includes favorites like fried chicken and catfish, burgers and rib-eye.
FREEZING COW ROLLING ICE CREAM
6401 Northwest Expressway
Suite 126 B
freezingcowokc.com | 405-982-0166
This locally operated chain takes advantage of the method of using an anti-griddle (which reaches temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius) popularized in Thailand to combine cream with unique flavors right in front of customers. Freezing Cow offers a variety of flavors that range from traditional to unique like green tea, mango, cotton candy, butter and even has keto and vegan-friendly options.
GEORGE’S HAPPY HOG BBQ
712 Culbertson Drive
This family-owned restaurant has remained a customer-favorite for years thanks to its signature pecan-smoked meats including brisket burnt ends, brisket, chicken, smoked sausage, hot links and especially its bologna. Don’t worry about fried sides, as baked beans, mixed greens, potato salad, green beans, macaroni and cheese and coleslaw play an accompanying part in the symphony of smoked meat. Save room for a piece of lemon cake to top it all off.
GOOD TIMES & GREAT VIBES
232 S. Air Depot Blvd.
Suite D, Midwest City
facebook.com/good-times-great-vibes | 405-458-0994
Whether you want to enjoy a colorful daiquiri at Good Times & Great Vibes or take the drink to-go, this lounge has you covered. On Friday, it hosts karaoke night with a happy hour 5-7 p.m. that features drink specials starting at $5. On Sunday, they’re hosting an open mic night. Follow @goodtimes_greatvibes on Instagram for more events coming this month.
ICE EVENT CENTER & GRILL
1148 NE 36th Street
facebook.com/ice-event-center-grill | 405-208-4240
Ice doubles as a community center and restaurant. It hosts all sorts of events ranging from jazz to comedy and trap music, but it’s also a restaurant that turns out burgers, catfish and more. Be on the lookout for cooking classes in the month of February led by chef Rodney James that will include prizes and giveaways.
Related Community grill: Ice Event Center and Grill offers a variety of entertainment and affordable food.
OFF THE HOOK SEAFOOD & MORE
1920 S. Meridian Ave.
offthehookokc.com | 405-606-6040
The second Off The Hook Seafood & More location features a full bar and expanded menu from its original location on Britton Road. Chef Corey “Slawta” Harris is the only chef in Food Network history to win two competition shows, Family Food Showdown and Bite Club. Harris has created a menu that has done the impossible and made Oklahoma known for seafood with Off the Hook’s famous lobster cream sauce.
Related Opening its second location, Off the Hook Seafood & More becomes the standard bearer for Oklahoma seafood
OKLA SOUL CAFÉ
1524 SE 15th St.
This brand-new restaurant entered the Oklahoma City culinary community in 2020. Its food made with soul changes every one to two weeks. A normal meal comes with a main dish, two sides and a dinner roll, but the restaurant will offer a sampler plate for the whole month of February that features candied bacon deviled eggs, fajita chicken with rice, corn, roasted garlic potatoes, greens beans and a dinner roll.
4605 SE 29th St., Del City
This concept has graduated from popular food truck to brick-and-mortar with inventive fillings of the venerable egg roll. While the Chinese restaurant version is usually a side dish, a single egg roll at Taste of Soul can be a whole meal with a side of fried rice. February will bring a special egg roll, but you can’t go wrong with a breakfast option or the Purple Pork with loads of fresh pork and purple cabbage.
Related Soul expansion: Taste of Soul takes its giant egg roll concept to Del City with a drive-thru window.
THE HIVE EATERY
1141 E. Second St., Edmond
thehiveeatery.com | 405-906-2902
This new restaurant in Edmond is an equal-opportunity nourisher. It supplies comfort food classics with a twist like chicken and waffles with a jalapeño cornbread waffle, but it also keeps vegetarians and people keeping gluten-free diets in mind with plenty of healthy options like three kinds of avocado toast.
Related Friendship foundation: The Hive Eatery in Edmond provides organic, quality products for comfort and allergen-free food.
3801 N. Oak Grove Drive,Midwest City
tez-wingz.com | 405-546-8777
Chicago-style mild sauce is a condiment unique to the Windy City. It’s a blend of barbecue sauce, hot sauce and other ingredients. Get the regular or spicy version of mild sauce on wings, shrimp or catfish covered in lemon pepper seasoning at this Midwest City eatery founded by Chicago native Will Jordan.
Related Chicago mild: Utilizing Chicago’s famous mild sauce, Tez Wingz draws crowds for its lemon pepper wings, catfish and shrimp.
121 E. Waterloo Road, Edmond
texlahomabbq.com | 405-513-7631
Despite being located on the far reaches of northern Edmond, Texlahoma attracts crowds with its superior smoked meats. The restaurant makes its own jalapeño sausage, and the rest of its options — highlighted by pulled pork, pork ribs and beef ribs on Saturday — are so moist and tender, they don’t even require sauce. The Butler is a huge baked potato studded with brisket, pulled pork and sausage served with a pork rib garnish ($15).
3925 N. Lincoln Blvd.
wingsupreme.com | 405-702-5464
Self-proclaimed Oklahoma city’s King of Wings offers 18 flavors of wings that get cooked as the wing finishes for maximum flavor. You can also order boneless wings and seafood like its famous Boom! Boom! Shrimp. Complete a meal with sides like macaroni and cheese, green beans, fries and more.