Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
As the proud, busy parents of three young boys, Kang and Mary Nhin know that eating dinner as a family can be a challenge. So they created Nhinja Sushi and Wok, a casual, kid-friendly setting where the service is fast and the menu includes healthy options. As children don a Nhinja mask cutout and sketch the daily Dow Jones chart on a coloring sheet, families dig into spicy tuna rolls or stir-fried Hunan Garden shrimp. The food blog Dishin & Dishes lauded the restaurant for offering the option to order sushi and entrees made with brown rice.
The family-centric vibe even extends to the restaurant's lime walls, which are decorated with artwork of the owners' children. Careful not to neglect fully grown eyeballs, they have also filled the space with futuristic white chairs, tables, and booths accentuated by the pops of bright pink, turquoise, purple, and lime green.
At the vivacious Bolero Tapas Bar & Spanish Grill, the clatter of passing plates competes with the chatter of diners as they enjoy their multicourse meals. Executive Chef Curtis Bramlett and second-in-command Justin Ward constantly enhance the menu with weekly specials, adding to the diversity of flavors already found among the tapas. The small servings are meant to be divided and discussed, much like the drawings that Rembrandt produced on flimsy paper. The golden-fried goat cheese drizzled with tupelo honey earned laurels from the Oklahoma Gazette, which also called the caramel flan “heavenly.”
Dark plank flooring supports the warm browns of the restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light and fresh air to imbue the indoor space. At rows of outdoor tables, patrons can sit beneath the starlight to arrange their tapas plates in shapes that mimic constellations.
Many of Caffe Pranzo's customers have been dining there for well over a decade. It's the restaurant's traditional Italian menu that inspires such devotion, plating pastas, chicken, and fish saut?ed in delicate wine sauce. Pizzas, too, are prepared the old-fashioned way, with dough thrown high in the air. After garnishing them with gourmet toppings such as grilled artichoke hearts, portabella mushrooms, and summer squash, the brick-oven-baked pies transport to a dining room bedecked with works by local artist Jennifer Holloway. There, guests who've finished off their meals can tuck into cheesecakes shipped from New York City's Carnegie Deli for a taste of Manhattan without the granite-y mouthfeel of biting the Empire State Building.
Inspired by her mother?s Lebanese cooking and hosting skills, NuNu's Mediterranean Cafe owner Nunu Farhood decided to follow suit, sharing her family?s time-tested recipes and spirit of hospitality with the community. Servers ferry falafel, kebabs, and hashwa?a m?lange of ground beef, rice, and seasonings the Oklahoma Gazette declared "the ultimate comfort food"?to diners. Guests can sit in a dining room enclosed by chic stone arches or enjoy fresh air on the front patio. NuNu's market sells a large selection of Middle Eastern groceries for home cooks who wish to try their hand at traditional recipes made with olives, vinegars, and a variety of pita breads.
Proper nutrition is key to healthy living, a view espoused by health-food store and co-op OKC Organics. Each week, OKC Organics staffers load share bags with organic fruits and veggies for weekly pickups, so members have healthy ingredients to make dinner with or to pelt at unfunny clowns. They also keep store shelves stocked with organic and gluten-free breads, free-range meats, and vitamins, as well as bath-and-body products. Even ready-made drinks are bursting with nutrients; shakes include metabolism-boosting tea and add-ins that help rebuild spent muscles or encourage healthy blood pressure.