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Wichita & Oklahoma City bound

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I'm Dallas Chowhound who'll be spending two days in OKC and two days in Wichita later this month, and I'd like some suggestions. In OKC, I'll be staying in a hotel in the Bricktown area. What's the best-of for this neighborhood? Also, is it safe to walk to dinner and back in Bricktown at night? I ride the rails in Dallas and Chicago at night by myself, but you know, safety first! I was born in Wichita, and I have family there, but their idea of adventuresome dining is visiting the On the Border in Bradley Fair. Please help me avoid another meal at Toc's or the Green Mill!

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  1. use the search function for reports on wichita asian (incl lao & malaysian), mexican, great burgers, etc.

    good luck!!! :)

    1. Bricktown is very safe at night. I would say Nonna's in Bricktown.
      I like Sushi Neko for sushi, but it is off Western and not in Bricktown.
      Also, Classen Grill for Breakfast and not in Bricktown.

      I've been through Wichita and have stopped at the Nu Way Cafe for lunch. They have a loose meat sandwich. The root beer and onion rings were delish!

      1. When I'm in OKC, a stop at the Cattlemen's Steakhouse (http://www.cattlemensrestaurant.com/) is mandatory. Probably the best steak I've ever had. Lots of character, too. You can easily imagine it as the kind of place where oil and cattle barons sit down to talk "bidness." It's in the Stockyards district west of downtown. Dress up if you want, but casual's fine, too.

        MattKn is right that Bricktown is safe at night. There's an Italian place at the west end of the canal just below the train station. I had a good meal there in 2002, but don't remember the name of the place.

        The OKC area is known for its onion burgers. Roadfood had a few reviews, mainly of places in El Reno to the west of OKC.

        In Wichita, try Doc’s Steakhouse (http://www.garlicsalad.com/), home of the garlic salad.

        I’ve heard good things about the Dutch Kitchen up the road near Hutchinson. It’s run by Mennonites. http://www.travelks.com/s/index.cfm?L...

        4 Replies
        1. re: sigerson57

          I'll vouch for Cattleman's in OKC, but would discourage the NuWay visit in Wichita, unless you go just for the root beer....everything else I've eaten there was not very good, including the lauded onion rings...nasty.
          Not sure about Doc's in Wichita...I think it is a relic of the 1950s and assuredly, the steak will not be like Cattleman's. I plan on trying it soon, but Sarge says it is full of tobacco smoke and mediocre food...she's lived here for 20 years.
          Now, since you didn't specify your likes and dislikes, it's hard to recommend anything really. Like I said, use the search engine. I've posted lots of recent findings in wichita--otherwise, the board here is pretty dead--and i've seen some interesting BBQ places in OKC...but you've got those in Dallas, and down in Lockhart/Taylor/Luling, my old stomping ground. There is no BBQ in Wichita from what i can tell....but i may still discover something hidden. The obvious places people recommend are 2nd-3rd rate....
          Use the search engine...

          1. re: sambamaster

            I have heard Delano BBQ is good and Pig in Pig Out as well. I'm not sure if they have seating though. I actually love Nu-Way, although it is an aquired taste. If you like Lebanese go to Nouvelle or N & J's.

            Samba, I know you hated Bella Luna, but for bistro food at a ridiculously decent price, fresh ingredients, and enough on the menu to please everyone, I'd recommend it for a family outing. Walt's on east Central can tend to get smoky, if you hit it at the wrong time (evening) but it's got great burgers, fries, and bar food. Thai Tradition and Pasage to India are also good, but from your post your family may not be into it.

            1. re: shopgirl26

              Thai Tradition and Passage to India are great for sure!!!! Passage to India has flavors as well developed as most really good Indian joints I've found in Texas (there are some great ones there, hi tech industry and all...), though the menu is not as extensive as I'd like to see. Thai Tradition does a good job also, but the prices are a tad high compared to what I'm used to...more than even the NY-Jackson Heights places I know. But it's good food...
              Bella Luna is ok for a "please everyone" experience, just don't expect great chow... the burger is pretty decent, but two salads i've had there were disappointing.

              1. re: sambamaster

                Bella Luna is the only place I ever felt put too much cheese on their salads, they tend to overdress them. I could eat entire trough full of the cream of mushroom soup, but I wish they's do real french fries.

                I've eaten at the Green Mill a few times and had drinks there, it has been filthy everytime I've been there. Everything is sticky and swarming with flies. Go to Il Vicino if your fam wants pizza. I tried to go to Bartelli's the other day, because I heard they had the closest thing to New York pizza and of course it was closed. I'll try again later. I'm never out west, so I'll make a special trip. Also, this sounds weird, but everyone raves about the sandwich guy in Towne East food court. They wrote him up in the paper, I think it's called Metro Dog. I have heard nothing but good things. Again a special trip, I usually avoid the mall like the plague.

        2. Yes, Bricktown is reasonably safe at night. There are so many new places there that I don't know, as well as some chains there, like Zio's and others. I enjoy TapWerks and Bourbon street cafe. Nonna's is good but very expensive. Leo's BBQ is pretty near by, (not walking) 3631 N. Kelley, for some of the best Q in the area, although Earl's Rib Palace in Bricktown is worth a try. As you'll read in other posts, the cafe at the art museum is good (also not too far to walk), and the best breakfast in town is still the Classen Grill. If you find something good, please report! Sorry I know nothing about Witchita.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Betty

            One place to avoid in Bricktown is Toby Keith's. I have been there twice and it just wasn't good either time.

          2. Bricktown is great at night, no need to be scared. I'd avoid the chains like OTB, Abuelo's, and Toby Keith's - the only chain I like there is Zio's, I worked at the original for years and it is still a favorite!
            Nonna's is for fancy eats. Chelino's used to have good Mexican, I haven't been there in a long time. Tapwerks has a great beer selection! Hideaway is great for pizza. There is plenty of selection for you to try!

            1 Reply
            1. re: drgnflychic

              OK, Zio's is the place I was trying to remember. Second that recommendation.

            2. If you are driving, OKC is really easy to get around in. Slightly north of the Bricktown (touristy) area are several really good local places. Paseo Grill in the artsy Paseo District, Cafe Nova on Western, and Deep Fork Grill also north on Western, would all be good choices. I second the recommendation for the Museum Cafe at the OKC Museum of Art, Cattleman's is always great for real steak and not far west of the downtown area.

              1. Wichita:
                N&J Cafe--Mediterranean on E. Lincoln
                NuWay Cafe--but only the W. Douglas original location. The others are a waste of time. If you don't like the, uh, richness, just go for the rootbeer float.
                MyCahh--go for the Pho. Mix the lime, hoisin, hot, and fish sauces together for a beef dipping sauce.
                Bella Luna--try the one on E. Central. The other one sometimes has live music on Thursdays and Fridays. The mandolin jazz group is good and Jerry Hahn is a local legend you should see if you like to eat and listen to music.
                Doc's Steakhouse. grubby atmosphere, delicious food. Garlic salad--try it.
                Scotch & Sirloin--the upscale MAN'S restaurant, beef, and hard liquor, and waitresses with short skirts and low cut blouses. Make an oil deal while you are there.
                Garcia's Tacos. The Burrito Al Pastor is to die-for.
                Chester's very upscale version of Ruth's Chris steakhouse.
                Metro Grill--amazing sandwiches in the Towne East Mall food court.
                Dive burger: Bomber Burger or Jack's Coffee Shop.
                Less of a dive burger: The Oasis, where you can still find 3.2 beer. Or try Ty's.
                Tom's Lotus Garden on S. Broadway. Skip the buffet and order off the chinese menu. Try beef and chinese broccoli (which I think are mustard greens, but are great) or something called salt and pepper pork. Both acquired tastes.
                Sumo Japanese Grill is supposed to be very good. Generally a reservation is needed.
                Thai Tradition is excellent. I love the red curry duck, and lunch is a bargain
                Brint's Diner was recently on a road diner tv show on the food network, but I have not
                Fat Ernie's--see it to believe it. Southside chicken fried steak with real gravy.
                Hana Cafe--in old town
                Old Mill Tasty Shop, for lunch. Decent food, interesting ambiance.

                3 Replies
                1. re: joseiw

                  Where is Fat Ernie's? Are the burgers thick or thin? Hana Cafe is good sushi. Sumo is good, but unless something's changed, you could only order sushi and very limited food in the bar area. Or you have to sit at those hibachi tables and do the whole dinner thing. The garlic fried rice is on the menu and sooo good, but you could be waiting forever for it, they told us you will only get it if someone is having it at a hibachi table, they won't make it just for you. And I've heard from numerous people that have had less than pleasant experiences with the owner.

                  I just picked up a menu from Metro Grill in the mall, I haven't had the chance to peruse yet.

                  1. re: shopgirl26

                    Oh, I forgot to mention. River City Brewery is a decent "please all" kind of place. Big menu, lots of variety, large portions, affordable. The pizza is really good, as is the fish and chips. They have good beer too.

                    1. re: shopgirl26

                      Sarge says someone at the base recommended Fat Ernie's, but she refused to go when I read her a review online from some breakfast.com site that said: "on a good day the food is average, that is, if the roaches don't get it first..." She won't go now!!!! But it's probably ok, lots of other raves on that site, but also some who say it is very average... will go solo, i reckon!

                      Let us know what the sandwich offerings are at Metro...curious....am generally also anti-mall...

                  2. Thanks to everyone for their advice and suggestions! I know my trip will be much better for them. I will report back to let you know where I was able to visit. Thanks again.

                    1. I live in Wichita, but don't go out to eat a whole lot. One place I have been where I have consistently liked my food is Uptown Bistro in Old Town. A similar place is Nouvelle Cafe on Rock Road and about 37th. There is a Russian resturant that has unique food, Elena's, on Oliver near Lincoln. I've only been to Elena's for lunch and am not sure of the hours.
                      Il Vincento's has excellent salads and hot sandwiches, at least in our opinion.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: krisz

                        Where is Il Vincento's? I have been meaning to go to Elena's, you said unique, does that mean good?

                      2. What's wrong with Toc's?? I used to live about two blocks from there, and had breakfast there a lot (including once at like 2 a.m. after a gig at the Artichoke).

                        One of my friends who lives in Wichita says DeFazio's is still good--actually he says it's better than it used to be, even. It's not high-end trendy Italian, but it's good.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: revsharkie

                          Toc's frito chili pie has always been pretty darn good. And they used to have cinnamon rolls the size of your head.