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The 15 Hottest New Restaurants in Oklahoma City

Where to find killer tacos, outside-the-box sushi rolls, and soul-warming ramen

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Today Eater returns to Oklahoma City to focus on 15 newish bars and restaurants that have been garnering some serious buzz. Once again The Oklahoman's food editor/food dude David Cathey has kindly offered up his picks of the hottest openings of the past 12 months.

Among his picks are several new Mexican restaurants (Cultivar Mexican Kitchen, Hacienda Tacos, Revolución Taqueria & Cantina, Barrios Fine Mexican Dishes) — the city is crushing hard on tacos, especially. Daytime dining is also having something of a moment, whether in the form of classic diner breakfasts (Sunnyside Diner, Hatch) or with a more French bent (En Croûte).

Without further ado, and in geographic order, the Eater Heatmap to Oklahoma City:

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Hacienda Tacos

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A partnership between local restaurant vet Robby Vernon (La Baguette) and S&B Burger Joint co-founder Bryan Neel, the Mexican concept opened in the Shoppes at Northpark just before Christmas. The fast-casual restaurant emphasizes premium ingredients and offers a full bar. Though it’s only been open a short time, it’s already found an enthusiastic audience.

Ding Asian Fusion

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The second restaurant from Szechuan Bistro owners Leo and Sophia Chen, Ding expands upon its sister restaurant’s menu from mainland China. Ding offers plenty of Chinese favorites to the Southern Nazarene University crowd in Bethany, plus a full sushi bar and teppanyaki dining room.

The Hutch on Avondale

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30 years as standard-bearer for local culinary standards weren’t lost when the Coach House closed in this space in February — instead, these years make up the rich backstory for a new restaurant in the storied space. Executive chef David Henry remains in the kitchen, but now rather than old-school fine dining staples, he's making room on the menu for barbecue ribs, braised beef cheek, and a variation on the orange dreamsicle. The vibe at the Hutch is fun and relaxed, but with no less sophistication than Coach House. With an expanded cocktail program and a kitchen full of state-of-the-art equipment, pub fare in OKC has never been so good.

En Croûte

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This tiny fromagerie and bistro opened before Christmas with chef Jonathan Stranger, previously of Ludivine, at the stove. Featuring a menu showcasing its distinctive cheese selection, counter seating fills up early with Chesapeake Energy execs looking for a latte and pancakes or salad or sandwich for lunch. Night time is for urban sophisticates looking for a place to lounge with lamb shoulder or cioppino, paired with a bottle of wine in the heart of Nichols Hills.

The Pritchard

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The Pritchard opened in the Plaza District in the fall, filling a need for upscale, full-service dining in the entertainment district. Chef Shelby Sieg built her reputation on world-class pastry skills, but is showing her savory side with a menu dominated by dishes that work as tapas, entrees, and sides. Wine is the star beverage here, and it's served by the glass, bottle, and on tap from an extensive list that changes with the seasons and availability, offering the promise of discovery with each return trip.

Goro Ramen + Izakaya

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The city’s second, and Hospitality 84’s first, ramen concept opened in the Plaza District last summer to large crowds that haven’t slowed. Chef Jeff Chanchaleune is pushing out three kinds of ramen plus add-ons to customize each piping-hot bowl. A well-stocked bar has stretched crowds deep into the night while a recently added lunch service has expanded its audience.

Revolución Taqueria & Cantina

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There are two key trends happening in OKC dining right now, and Hospitality 84 is cashing on both with Revolución: tacos and downtown locations. This full-service, gourmet taqueria features late-night dining and outdoor seating so you can cozy up to the green neon cactus standing tall out front with a cold one or with a margarita made with one of the 11 tequilas on offer.

Sunnyside Diner

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Along with Mexican food, breakfast was the other prominent theme in new restaurants this year. Sharing the same property as Revolución, Sunnyside Diner offers old-timey breakfast fare like pancakes, omelets, corned beef hash, hearty sandwiches in meatloaf, brisket, or hot beef daily. Since owners Shannon Roper and Aly Branstetter opened the doors in the spring, the retro-chic dining room has remained busy.

Barrios Fine Mexican Dishes

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Good Egg Dining Group, the local, independent hitmakers behind Kitchen No. 324, Red Primesteak and the Drake Seafood and Oysterette, has built a strong reputation on quality concepts. In this project, chefs Robert Black and Chris McCabe this time turn their attention to mixing modern interpretations of Tex-Mex favorites like fajitas with clever use of classic Mexican ingredients like mole and huitlacoche. From the bar, the frozen avocado margarita has drawn a fan club, and the kitchen offers desserts rarely seen at other local Mexican cafes.

Nic's Place Diner and Lounge

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Perhaps the city's most anticipated opening of 2016, Justin “Nic” Nicholas’ second offering opened almost a year later than expected, but one look at the beautiful dining room and it all makes sense. For close to 20 years, Nic’s Grill has been king of the state’s burger scene, operating out of a 17-seat lunch counter. Now with more room to operate, Nic’s Place serves the burgers that continue to draw crowds along with a much wider selection of comfort foods, plus a full bar in the stunning basement lounge.

Thanks to thoughtful interpretations and Instagram-friendly presentations of pancakes, waffles, muffins and all the usual breakfast fare, this Automobile Alley addition has enjoyed big crowds since it opened in the summer. Hardwood floors, communal tables, and a distinctive dining room bring the diner experience into the 21st century.

Sidecar Barley & Wine Bar

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Automobile Alley’s newest watering hole Sidecar offers an impressive wine list plus single-malt scotches in a setting appointed in wood, glass, and iron. With outdoor seating, large screen TVs and an enticing selection of sliders, the city’s cocktail crowd has welcomed it with enthusiasm.

Cultivar Mexican Kitchen

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Modern takes on Mexican cuisine came early and often this past year. The first to open was the fast-casual Cultivar in Automobile Alley. Chef Josh Valentine grinds heirloom corn to make tortillas and builds seasonal tacos on them. The menu also includes a burrito bar, quesadillas, and salads. Diners can eat inside or out with easy access to the industrial-chic tequila-focused cocktail bar.

Mary Eddy's

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21c Hotels opened a new property in the summer, anchoring downtown’s march west. Mary Eddy’s Kitchen and Lounge opened ahead of the hotel it boasts a broad menu from chef Jason Campbell, whose kitchen is stocked with premium ingredients and all the state-of-the-art equipment he could ask for to churn out wood-fired pizzas and rotisserie chicken. Built in converted car factory, the dining room continues the theme of industrial chic with the lounge near the art-heavy entryway.

Dekora!

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Drew and Anna Mains converted their successful Bricktown restaurant In the Raw to Dekora! in December. Originally a link in a chain based in Tulsa, the duo rescued the franchise from shuttering and nursed it to success years ago. This year they made a clean break from the original chain, creating Dekora! in the same space. The new décor is a celebration of Japanese pop culture with a menu dominated by sushi rolls. Those who fear raw fish need not fear Dekora! thanks to pork steam buns, yakitori, four standard entrees, rice and noodle bowls, plus house-made desserts. But most importantly, it features a bar that breathes fire like Godzilla — critical to any Bricktown property.

Hacienda Tacos

A partnership between local restaurant vet Robby Vernon (La Baguette) and S&B Burger Joint co-founder Bryan Neel, the Mexican concept opened in the Shoppes at Northpark just before Christmas. The fast-casual restaurant emphasizes premium ingredients and offers a full bar. Though it’s only been open a short time, it’s already found an enthusiastic audience.

Ding Asian Fusion

The second restaurant from Szechuan Bistro owners Leo and Sophia Chen, Ding expands upon its sister restaurant’s menu from mainland China. Ding offers plenty of Chinese favorites to the Southern Nazarene University crowd in Bethany, plus a full sushi bar and teppanyaki dining room.

The Hutch on Avondale

30 years as standard-bearer for local culinary standards weren’t lost when the Coach House closed in this space in February — instead, these years make up the rich backstory for a new restaurant in the storied space. Executive chef David Henry remains in the kitchen, but now rather than old-school fine dining staples, he's making room on the menu for barbecue ribs, braised beef cheek, and a variation on the orange dreamsicle. The vibe at the Hutch is fun and relaxed, but with no less sophistication than Coach House. With an expanded cocktail program and a kitchen full of state-of-the-art equipment, pub fare in OKC has never been so good.

En Croûte

This tiny fromagerie and bistro opened before Christmas with chef Jonathan Stranger, previously of Ludivine, at the stove. Featuring a menu showcasing its distinctive cheese selection, counter seating fills up early with Chesapeake Energy execs looking for a latte and pancakes or salad or sandwich for lunch. Night time is for urban sophisticates looking for a place to lounge with lamb shoulder or cioppino, paired with a bottle of wine in the heart of Nichols Hills.

The Pritchard

The Pritchard opened in the Plaza District in the fall, filling a need for upscale, full-service dining in the entertainment district. Chef Shelby Sieg built her reputation on world-class pastry skills, but is showing her savory side with a menu dominated by dishes that work as tapas, entrees, and sides. Wine is the star beverage here, and it's served by the glass, bottle, and on tap from an extensive list that changes with the seasons and availability, offering the promise of discovery with each return trip.

Goro Ramen + Izakaya

The city’s second, and Hospitality 84’s first, ramen concept opened in the Plaza District last summer to large crowds that haven’t slowed. Chef Jeff Chanchaleune is pushing out three kinds of ramen plus add-ons to customize each piping-hot bowl. A well-stocked bar has stretched crowds deep into the night while a recently added lunch service has expanded its audience.

Revolución Taqueria & Cantina

There are two key trends happening in OKC dining right now, and Hospitality 84 is cashing on both with Revolución: tacos and downtown locations. This full-service, gourmet taqueria features late-night dining and outdoor seating so you can cozy up to the green neon cactus standing tall out front with a cold one or with a margarita made with one of the 11 tequilas on offer.

Sunnyside Diner

Along with Mexican food, breakfast was the other prominent theme in new restaurants this year. Sharing the same property as Revolución, Sunnyside Diner offers old-timey breakfast fare like pancakes, omelets, corned beef hash, hearty sandwiches in meatloaf, brisket, or hot beef daily. Since owners Shannon Roper and Aly Branstetter opened the doors in the spring, the retro-chic dining room has remained busy.

Barrios Fine Mexican Dishes

Good Egg Dining Group, the local, independent hitmakers behind Kitchen No. 324, Red Primesteak and the Drake Seafood and Oysterette, has built a strong reputation on quality concepts. In this project, chefs Robert Black and Chris McCabe this time turn their attention to mixing modern interpretations of Tex-Mex favorites like fajitas with clever use of classic Mexican ingredients like mole and huitlacoche. From the bar, the frozen avocado margarita has drawn a fan club, and the kitchen offers desserts rarely seen at other local Mexican cafes.

Nic's Place Diner and Lounge

Perhaps the city's most anticipated opening of 2016, Justin “Nic” Nicholas’ second offering opened almost a year later than expected, but one look at the beautiful dining room and it all makes sense. For close to 20 years, Nic’s Grill has been king of the state’s burger scene, operating out of a 17-seat lunch counter. Now with more room to operate, Nic’s Place serves the burgers that continue to draw crowds along with a much wider selection of comfort foods, plus a full bar in the stunning basement lounge.

Hatch

Thanks to thoughtful interpretations and Instagram-friendly presentations of pancakes, waffles, muffins and all the usual breakfast fare, this Automobile Alley addition has enjoyed big crowds since it opened in the summer. Hardwood floors, communal tables, and a distinctive dining room bring the diner experience into the 21st century.

Sidecar Barley & Wine Bar

Automobile Alley’s newest watering hole Sidecar offers an impressive wine list plus single-malt scotches in a setting appointed in wood, glass, and iron. With outdoor seating, large screen TVs and an enticing selection of sliders, the city’s cocktail crowd has welcomed it with enthusiasm.

Cultivar Mexican Kitchen

Modern takes on Mexican cuisine came early and often this past year. The first to open was the fast-casual Cultivar in Automobile Alley. Chef Josh Valentine grinds heirloom corn to make tortillas and builds seasonal tacos on them. The menu also includes a burrito bar, quesadillas, and salads. Diners can eat inside or out with easy access to the industrial-chic tequila-focused cocktail bar.

Mary Eddy's

21c Hotels opened a new property in the summer, anchoring downtown’s march west. Mary Eddy’s Kitchen and Lounge opened ahead of the hotel it boasts a broad menu from chef Jason Campbell, whose kitchen is stocked with premium ingredients and all the state-of-the-art equipment he could ask for to churn out wood-fired pizzas and rotisserie chicken. Built in converted car factory, the dining room continues the theme of industrial chic with the lounge near the art-heavy entryway.

Dekora!

Drew and Anna Mains converted their successful Bricktown restaurant In the Raw to Dekora! in December. Originally a link in a chain based in Tulsa, the duo rescued the franchise from shuttering and nursed it to success years ago. This year they made a clean break from the original chain, creating Dekora! in the same space. The new décor is a celebration of Japanese pop culture with a menu dominated by sushi rolls. Those who fear raw fish need not fear Dekora! thanks to pork steam buns, yakitori, four standard entrees, rice and noodle bowls, plus house-made desserts. But most importantly, it features a bar that breathes fire like Godzilla — critical to any Bricktown property.

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