With its rollicking roster of sweet and savory crêpes, espresso, and creamy gelato, the recently opened Mod's Coffee & Crepes injects a much-needed shot of continental pancakery into downtown's throbbing lunch vein. Mod's crêpes are made to order, allowing diners to watch the thin batter metamorphosing into a delectably light meal-casing before it migrates southward down their esophagi. Though Mod's delights sweet teeth with classic crêperie concoctions of Nutella and banana ($4.50) or chocolate-covered strawberries and cream ($4.50), savory crêpes provide a hearty lunch in a light, airy wrapper. The club crêpe (ham, turkey bacon, brown mustard, tomatoes, mozzarella, $6.50) channels classic noontime fare, and the spicy turkey and cranberry crêpe ($6) recaptures the tryptophan-laden harvest feasts of youth. In addition to crêpes, Mod's also serves scintillating salads and soups, such as tomato basil and creamy mushroom brie (cup $3.50, bowl $6).
Sunlight filters through the thick leaves of whispering pine tress, illuminating a 20-acre clearing of vineyards, lily ponds, and lush gardens. This is the site of Whispering Pines Restaurant and Lounge, whose fairytale backdrop and upscale French fare has won the veneration of Discover Oklahoma. Guests who find their way onto its grounds are greeted by a towering 1900s-style mansion adorned in ivy and surrounded by a wrap-around porch. Inside, white-clothed tables scatter across deep-red carpets amid hanging artwork and a roaring fireplace.
Owners and head chefs Chinda and Rany Kchao await to serve guests, drawing on years of fine-dining and French-continental culinary experience. The Kchaos and their family bring forth plates of upscale French fare and decadent steaks, punctuating each course with a house-made, palate-cleansing sorbet instead of a palate-cleansing spray from the garden hose. After dinner, guests of the inn climb the grand staircase to the main-house suites or meander across the grounds to independent cottages, where whirlpools and baskets of treats await them. In the morning, servers deliver freshly prepared breakfasts to each room.
The first IHOP?the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin?opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001. Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
Pubs west of the Atlantic often pay homage to the UK, but Dan McGuinness Pub goes one step farther: it was actually made in Ireland. Shipped to Memphis, Tennessee in pieces, the first Dan McGuinness was entirely assembled by a team of five Irishmen, who still manually hold it together today. The franchise's other locations weren't built this way, but they all carry on the original pub's tradition of friendly service and classic Irish dishes such as corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash, and shepherd's pie. American and English influences also permeate the menu in dishes such as blackened chicken fingers and fish ‘n’ chips made with Atlantic cod dipped in Harp lager batter.
The pub's beer list similarly mixes up European and American offerings with brews from Guinness, Smithwick's, and Sam Adams. Feasts at Dan McGuinness unfold amid a convivial atmosphere, with entertainment such as billiards and live music every Friday and Saturday night.
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.