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Food Issue: Building community

A monthlong celebration of black-owned restaurants will create awareness and track economic impact.

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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

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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. 

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BLACK WALNUT

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. 

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BRIELLE’S BISTRO 

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.


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CARICAN FLAVORS

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.



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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.


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CORNISH SMOKEHOUSE

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.



ELMER’S UPTOWN BAR AND GRILL
3925 N. Lincoln Blvd.
405-525-5367
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. 

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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

facebook.com/georges-happy-hog

405-525-8111

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. 



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GOOD TIMES & GREAT VIBES

DAIQUIRI LOUNGE

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.

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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.


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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.


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OKLA SOUL CAFÉ

1524 SE 15th St. 

405-652-0111

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. 



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TASTE OF SOUL GIANT EGG ROLL

4605 SE 29th St., Del City

facebook.com/tasteofsouleggroll

405-677-5820

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.


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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.


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TEZ WINGZ

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. 

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TEXLAHOMA BBQ

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).


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WING SUPREME

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. 

           

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