The Polo Grill marks its 30th anniversary later this year. And while the Utica Square staple has amassed the awards and the press that firmly cement it as a local tradition, The Polo Grill has never been satisfied with resting on its laurels, choosing instead to focus on innovating and raising the bar with each and every plate.
Twice Polo Grill has doubled its wine cellar’s capacity, boosting the wine list – acclaimed by Wine Spectator – to a current count of 1,100 labels and 22,000 bottles. They switched meatpackers to Middendorf of Kansas City. They regularly track down the freshest produce from farms around Bixby. And they’ve expanded their private dining rooms, decorating their walls with items such as the burnt-brown burlap sacks in which winemakers once hauled grapes. This expansion and innovation extend to regular special events, which invite guests for educational and social dining experiences. A black-tie gala is planned around October, when the harvest and the 30th anniversary approach.
When the Hen Bistro & Wine opened in 2013, the Tulsa World called it Brookside's "most significant" addition to the dining scene that year. Given its background, it's no wonder the bistro was such a hit. Restaurateur Kathy Bondy opened it as a follow-up to her highly touted restaurant French Hen.
At this elegant spinoff, visitors indulge in French-inspired cuisine that made the French Hen so popular. During lunch, chefs whip up truffled-egg-salad sandwiches, and during dinner they pair lamb meatballs with Moroccan lentil ragout. An extensive wine list punctuates visits, with many selections hailing from California and other regions.
Just off the historic Route 66, Summerside Vineyards welcomes visitors into its rustic winery and meadery. Regular tours of the winery and cellar elucidate the specifics of the wine- and mead-making processes and end in the cozy tasting room. Here, surrounded by a warm color palette and antique furniture, staff walk visitors through samplings of Summerside's various wines and meads. The bottles range from dry to dessert, and each are produced and bottled in the onsite cellar. In addition to tastings, Summerside holds seasonal wine-focused events.
The owners of Tidal School Winery and Vineyard chose a fitting venue for educating the public about their selection of European-style and Oklahoma sweet wines—an 8,000-square-foot historic schoolhouse. Originally built in the 1920s to educate John D. Rockefeller’s workforce, the building now houses a banquet hall and tasting room where visitors can swirl, sip, and see who can spit take the farthest with the vineyard’s wines. Further entertaining the senses, the winery hosts monthly musical events that are free to the public and spotlight Oklahoma-based bands.
Pecan and fruit trees and ponds full of fish gather around Nuyaka Creek Winery, a bastion for elegant wines made from grapes, orchard-fresh fruits, and wild berries from Creek County. The winery churns out more than two dozen vintages, including a sizable amount of fruit and berry wines—its specialty is a vino made from the elderberry, a fruit purported to have medicinal properties by the ancient Egyptians, Native Americans, and Nobel Laureate Dr. Mary Poppins.
As visitors to The White Rose turn down the property's drive, they're instantly transported to a simpler time: on the left, a lush lawn sprawls before a house not yet visible, and on the right, rows upon rows of grapes keep rank to form a four-acre vineyard. Twisting around the bend, then, the house appears, with its elaborate porch, elegant columns, and white limestone reminiscent of Ireland's "penny walls."
Built in 1900, the home preserves its fair share of history, and today, it bridges the gap between generations by keeping its door open to guests. Four of the house's rooms serve as bed and breakfast getaways, each outfitted with antique furniture and decorative accents. The estate also churns out its own wine with an intricate, handcrafted process, which it shares with visitors during tastings in the parlor.