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A fried steak topped with gravy on an outdoor table Social Deck + Dining [Official Photo]

The 15 Essential Oklahoma City Restaurants

Where to find country-fried steak, old-school prairie Lebanese food, and pepita-crusted chiles rellenos in Oklahoma City

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Years of expansion have built Oklahoma City’s dining scene into a rich tapestry, where local tastes for beef, pork, catfish, and chicken (particularly when they’re fried, smoked, or both) fuse with global cultures. The culinary identity of the 405 has consistently broadened to encompass the vibrant Asian District north of downtown, a range of Mexican, Central American, and South American flavors to the south and west, and a community of Black-owned restaurants growing on the city’s east side. Not even a pandemic could stop that pursuit.

But 2020 taught restaurateurs lessons they are unlikely to forget, and customers have adopted new habits they’re unlikely to abandon. Post-pandemic diners may still cling to outdoor dining where it’s available, and Oklahoma City restaurants show little willingness to dispose of their patios, decks, and sidewalk sets. Operators also expect carryout dining options to remain popular into the future. Online ordering is here to stay, too, and delivery made gains unlikely to recede.

Here are 15 of Oklahoma City’s many restaurants that deserve our support. These establishments pivoted and flourished during the industry’s most challenging times, setting themselves up to lead the way into the market’s next chapter too.

Note: The inclusion of restaurants offering dine-in service should not be taken as an endorsement for dining inside. Studies indicate a lower exposure risk to COVID-19 outdoors, but the level of risk is contingent on social distancing and other safety guidelines. Check with each restaurant for up-to-date information on dining offerings. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit Prepare OKC.

Dave Cathey has been food editor for the Oklahoman in Oklahoma City since 2008. He writes the Food Dude column and is the author of Historic Restaurants of Oklahoma City and A Culinary History of Pittsburg County: Little Italy, Choctaw Beer and Lamb Fries.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cafe 501

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501 S Blvd
Edmond, OK 73034
(405) 359-1501
Visit Website

Opened in the mid-1990s, this institution introduced upscale counter-service dining to Edmond, Oklahoma City’s neighbor to the north. Backed by a commercial bakery and a brand-new streetery, Cafe 501 continues to serve its legendary Coyote chicken sandwich (topped with caramelized onion, jalapeno, cheese, and chipotle mayo), brick oven pizza, and house-made desserts on the street and for takeout. Be sure to grab some take-and-bake cookie dough for the house.

A table topped with many lunch plates
The full lunch spread
Cafe 501 [Official Photo]

2. Nunu's Mediterranean Cafe

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3131 W Memorial Rd
Oklahoma City, OK 73134
(405) 751-7000
Visit Website

Lebanese cuisine on the prairie predates Oklahoma statehood. Nunu’s Mediterranean is a distillation of that heritage with a few new tricks. The patio is an ideal spot for a tenderloin kebab and a bottle of Lebanese wine. If you prefer to dine at home, the entire menu — hummus, hashwa rice studded with fixings, cabbage rolls made with spiced beef or vegetarian — works for takeout and delivery too, all packaged in the restaurant’s custom touchless to-go bags.

A table filled with takeout containers of food and packaging
Takeout from Nunu’s
Nunu’s [Official Photo]

3. The Hutch on Avondale

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6437 Avondale Dr
Nichols Hills, OK 73116
(405) 842-1000
Visit Website

Once known as the Coach House, which for three decades was the local standard-bearer for culinary excellence and fine dining, the Hutch on Avondale has gradually shaken off the weight of its ancestry. Chef David Henry, a graduate of the Coach House’s vaunted apprenticeship program, cooks through the same classic French lens, but he has traded in linen tablecloths and Dover sole for an inspired high-low mashup of dining traditions. Since the pandemic, a tree-covered patio and an additional dining stage on the lawn are available for full-service dining, while a new takeout menu offers chef Henry’s greatest hits. Look for white cheddar and chive biscuits, cauliflower burnt ends, grilled “cheeze,” and coq au vin. Outdoor diners can finish with strawberry shortcake with vanilla ice cream or a brownie sundae, while a cookie flight is a sweet way to end a takeout meal.

A chef tops a burger with thick sauce, beside a small crock of french fries
Black angus burger
The Hutch on Avondale [Official Photo]

4. Sushi Neko

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4318 N Western Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
(405) 528-8862
Visit Website

Sushi Neko became one of the city’s hottest spots in the late 1990s by staying a step ahead, as with its serendipitous decision in 2018 to install a sidewalk dining space, where overhead heaters and unique masonry booths offer protection in the colder months. Legendary for fresh sashimi (especially the yellowtail special) and specialty rolls, Sushi Neko has barely broken stride. Check out hidden gems like the rolled rib-eye negi maki.

A small dish of octopus salad
Octopus salad
Dave Cathey

5. VZD's Restaurant & Bar

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4200 N Western Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
(405) 602-3006
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By converting its parking lot along Western Avenue into an outdoor dining room and bar, this legendary music venue gave itself a lifeline through the pandemic. Now chef Eric Smith’s broad menu covers classic burgers, sandwiches, and an eclectic mix of entrees like pad thai, beef stroganoff, and vegetarian Frito chili pie. Private parties can also book customized multicourse dinners with Smith at the one-table Crown Room restaurant inside VZD’s.

6. Burger Punk

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3012 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
(405) 724-8017
Visit Website

Just before the pandemic, this former burger truck graduated into a full-on burger emporium where Turbos — the signature coffee slushie cocktail — flow freely on the turf-covered deck. Among the loaded burgers is the Clash, which mixes cheese, fried onions, jalapenos, hoisin mayo, and nacho cheese Doritos. Then there’s the Theta, a medley of hickory sauce, pickles, and mayonnaise in a take on local burger lore. (As the story goes, Town Tavern in Norman served the burger in the 1930s to sorority girls looking for an onion-free option before dances.) Beyond burgers, there’s the street dog (chili, onions, and chef Tom Woolly’s signature liquid gold sauce), as well as a saucy mac and cheese churched up with fried onions, panko, and roasted jalapeno. Pair anything with mosh pit fries: crinkle cut fries beneath bacon, jalapeno, and fried onions, all doused in that same liquid gold sauce. 

A cheeseburger topped with Doritos chips on checkerboard wax paper in front of an astroturfed outdoor seating area
The Clash burger
Dave Cathey

7. Frida

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500 Paseo
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
(405) 683-7432
Visit Website

For the past two years, the chic, modern Frida has provided a platform for chef Quinn Carroll’s interpretation of Southwest cuisine, from queso fundido to short-rib empanadas with pepita-crusted chile relleno in between. The expansive patio, opened during the pandemic in summer 2020, is a lovely spot for brunch or dinner, when you can enjoy sugarcane-skewered scallops and “Santa Fe-spiced” bone-in pork chops. Carryout is available for the whole menu, which also includes tamales (made vegan or with seafood), and Mexican hot chocolate cheesecake for dessert.

A banquet and tables beneath an open screen ceiling just outside an interior dining room
Outdoor seating at Frida
Frida [Official Photo]

8. Pizzeria Gusto

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2415 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
(405) 437-4992
Visit Website

A wood-burning pizza oven at the center of chef Kathryn Mathis’s kitchen churns out Neapolitan pies topped with specialties like butternut squash, lamb sausage, and soppressata, to name a few. Meanwhile, small plates like burrata, roasted carrots and fennel tossed in harissa, and steamed mussels are especially satisfying when paired with the inventive menu of standard and seasonal craft cocktails. Both the tree-covered back patio and the restaurant’s front stoop seating are popular for brunch on sunny Sundays, when the pizzeria serves lemon-ricotta cornmeal waffles, Parmesan frittatas, and mimosas filled out with fresh orange, pineapple, or grapefruit juice.

A pizza topped with ground sausage, cherry tomatoes, sliced olives, cheese, and onions
Lamb sausage pizza
Dave Cathey

9. Social Deck + Dining

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1933 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
(405) 602-8705
Visit Website

This outdoor dining oasis between the shadows of the Plaza District and Uptown boasts two patios — one covered in the front and one open in the back — along with a menu made for brunching in the sun. Patio diners can share an eclectic array of buttermilk biscuits, hummus, and a burrata board, paired with a house cocktail like the floral, vodka-based Club Social. Owner Jamie Winteroth credits efficient delivery and curbside pickup to the locally owned TapTapEat app, which helped the restaurant send out tikka masala, corned beef hash, and chicken pappardelle during the pandemic.

A fried steak topped with gravy on an outdoor table
Country fried steak
Social Deck + Dining [Official Photo]

10. Florence's Restaurant

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1437 NE 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK 73111
(405) 427-3663
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Florence’s has been an institution since 1952, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that the restaurant opened a brand-new front porch for outdoor dining. The eponymous founder, Florence Jones Kemp, and her daughter, Victoria Kemp, cook fried chicken, candied yams, and braised oxtail from scratch, and they bake dinner rolls and cornbread daily too. Wings, spareribs, peach cobbler, and pear pie all work great for carryout.

11. Stella Modern Italian Cuisine

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1201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
(405) 235-2200
Visit Website

With its picture windows looking out on downtown, Stella has long been popular with guests, but a relatively new patio proved a great investment through the pandemic. Now, with chef Chris McKenna back in the kitchen, Midtown diners have flocked to the outdoor seating area to enjoy cocktails with their Roman-style pizzas, wild boar Bolognese, and lamb shank osso buco.

A bowl of crab dip with chips arranged around
Baked crab dip
Stella / Facebook

12. Ludivine

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320 NW 10th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
(405) 778-6800
Visit Website

Whether served on the covered patio or delivered curbside, Ludivine chef-owner Russ Johnson’s menu is always driven by the seasons. Daytime diners can drop by for a steak sandwich, wagyu burger, or a three-course light lunch that includes soup, salad, and house-made pasta. The dinner menu, meanwhile, might include such appetizers as bone marrow and foie gras, followed by entrees like smoked duck leg and braised lamb shank. Save room for the sassafras cake.

A charcuterie plate with pate, sliced fish, pickled vegetables, toasted bread, mustard, and other fixings
Charcuterie plate
Nathan Poppe

13. Barrios Fine Mexican Dishes

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1000 N Hudson Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
(405) 702-6922
Visit Website

The semi-covered courtyard at Barrios, anchored by a bright pink fireplace, is among Midtown’s most sought-after destinations, but the restaurant’s Mexican and Tex-Mex specialties flow inside and out. As wood-fired fajitas beef up the air with anticipation, start with queso fundido and Victory Club nachos, paired with an avocado margarita. Then dig into a short rib tinga chalupa or hot chicken sopes.

A table set with chips, various dips, and cocktails, with a courtyard and outdoor oven visible in the background
Chips, dips, and drinks in the courtyard
Barrios [Official Photo]

14. Iguana Mexican Grill

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9 NW 9th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
(405) 606-7172
Visit Website

This Automobile Alley stalwart features a covered patio where diners enjoy a broad taco menu by chef Shelby Sieg. Options include traditional variations like cochinita pibil, and chorizo and potato, as well as more whimsical creations like a cheeseburger taco with queso Chihuahua and chopped pickles. 

A plate of tacos on a table beside brightly colored metal seats
Tacos
Iguana Mexican Grill [Official Photo]

15. Riviere Modern Banh Mi

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905 N Hudson Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
(405) 604-3446
Visit Website

The Nguyen family, who also owns the Jimmy’s Egg breakfast franchise, provides fanciful banh mi variations in Midtown. Picnic tables added to the spacious sidewalk last year offer diners more ways to get their hands on an Autobanh with chicken schnitzel, a Banh Mi Boy filled with blackened shrimp, or a Philly-cheesesteak-inspired Banh Jovi. The menu also includes rice and vermicelli bowls, street corn, and wok-fried green beans, and a coconut milk waffle awaits for dessert.

A banh mi sandwich on an outdoor table with a to-go drink
Banh mi
Riviere Modern Banh Mi [Official Photo]

1. Cafe 501

501 S Blvd, Edmond, OK 73034
A table topped with many lunch plates
The full lunch spread
Cafe 501 [Official Photo]

Opened in the mid-1990s, this institution introduced upscale counter-service dining to Edmond, Oklahoma City’s neighbor to the north. Backed by a commercial bakery and a brand-new streetery, Cafe 501 continues to serve its legendary Coyote chicken sandwich (topped with caramelized onion, jalapeno, cheese, and chipotle mayo), brick oven pizza, and house-made desserts on the street and for takeout. Be sure to grab some take-and-bake cookie dough for the house.

501 S Blvd
Edmond, OK 73034

2. Nunu's Mediterranean Cafe

3131 W Memorial Rd, Oklahoma City, OK 73134
A table filled with takeout containers of food and packaging
Takeout from Nunu’s
Nunu’s [Official Photo]

Lebanese cuisine on the prairie predates Oklahoma statehood. Nunu’s Mediterranean is a distillation of that heritage with a few new tricks. The patio is an ideal spot for a tenderloin kebab and a bottle of Lebanese wine. If you prefer to dine at home, the entire menu — hummus, hashwa rice studded with fixings, cabbage rolls made with spiced beef or vegetarian — works for takeout and delivery too, all packaged in the restaurant’s custom touchless to-go bags.

3131 W Memorial Rd
Oklahoma City, OK 73134

3. The Hutch on Avondale

6437 Avondale Dr, Nichols Hills, OK 73116
A chef tops a burger with thick sauce, beside a small crock of french fries
Black angus burger
The Hutch on Avondale [Official Photo]

Once known as the Coach House, which for three decades was the local standard-bearer for culinary excellence and fine dining, the Hutch on Avondale has gradually shaken off the weight of its ancestry. Chef David Henry, a graduate of the Coach House’s vaunted apprenticeship program, cooks through the same classic French lens, but he has traded in linen tablecloths and Dover sole for an inspired high-low mashup of dining traditions. Since the pandemic, a tree-covered patio and an additional dining stage on the lawn are available for full-service dining, while a new takeout menu offers chef Henry’s greatest hits. Look for white cheddar and chive biscuits, cauliflower burnt ends, grilled “cheeze,” and coq au vin. Outdoor diners can finish with strawberry shortcake with vanilla ice cream or a brownie sundae, while a cookie flight is a sweet way to end a takeout meal.

6437 Avondale Dr
Nichols Hills, OK 73116

4. Sushi Neko

4318 N Western Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73118
A small dish of octopus salad
Octopus salad
Dave Cathey

Sushi Neko became one of the city’s hottest spots in the late 1990s by staying a step ahead, as with its serendipitous decision in 2018 to install a sidewalk dining space, where overhead heaters and unique masonry booths offer protection in the colder months. Legendary for fresh sashimi (especially the yellowtail special) and specialty rolls, Sushi Neko has barely broken stride. Check out hidden gems like the rolled rib-eye negi maki.

4318 N Western Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73118

5. VZD's Restaurant & Bar

4200 N Western Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73118

By converting its parking lot along Western Avenue into an outdoor dining room and bar, this legendary music venue gave itself a lifeline through the pandemic. Now chef Eric Smith’s broad menu covers classic burgers, sandwiches, and an eclectic mix of entrees like pad thai, beef stroganoff, and vegetarian Frito chili pie. Private parties can also book customized multicourse dinners with Smith at the one-table Crown Room restaurant inside VZD’s.

4200 N Western Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73118

6. Burger Punk

3012 N Walker Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73103
A cheeseburger topped with Doritos chips on checkerboard wax paper in front of an astroturfed outdoor seating area
The Clash burger
Dave Cathey

Just before the pandemic, this former burger truck graduated into a full-on burger emporium where Turbos — the signature coffee slushie cocktail — flow freely on the turf-covered deck. Among the loaded burgers is the Clash, which mixes cheese, fried onions, jalapenos, hoisin mayo, and nacho cheese Doritos. Then there’s the Theta, a medley of hickory sauce, pickles, and mayonnaise in a take on local burger lore. (As the story goes, Town Tavern in Norman served the burger in the 1930s to sorority girls looking for an onion-free option before dances.) Beyond burgers, there’s the street dog (chili, onions, and chef Tom Woolly’s signature liquid gold sauce), as well as a saucy mac and cheese churched up with fried onions, panko, and roasted jalapeno. Pair anything with mosh pit fries: crinkle cut fries beneath bacon, jalapeno, and fried onions, all doused in that same liquid gold sauce. 

3012 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73103

7. Frida

500 Paseo, Oklahoma City, OK 73103
A banquet and tables beneath an open screen ceiling just outside an interior dining room
Outdoor seating at Frida
Frida [Official Photo]

For the past two years, the chic, modern Frida has provided a platform for chef Quinn Carroll’s interpretation of Southwest cuisine, from queso fundido to short-rib empanadas with pepita-crusted chile relleno in between. The expansive patio, opened during the pandemic in summer 2020, is a lovely spot for brunch or dinner, when you can enjoy sugarcane-skewered scallops and “Santa Fe-spiced” bone-in pork chops. Carryout is available for the whole menu, which also includes tamales (made vegan or with seafood), and Mexican hot chocolate cheesecake for dessert.

500 Paseo
Oklahoma City, OK 73103

8. Pizzeria Gusto

2415 N Walker Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73103
A pizza topped with ground sausage, cherry tomatoes, sliced olives, cheese, and onions
Lamb sausage pizza
Dave Cathey

A wood-burning pizza oven at the center of chef Kathryn Mathis’s kitchen churns out Neapolitan pies topped with specialties like butternut squash, lamb sausage, and soppressata, to name a few. Meanwhile, small plates like burrata, roasted carrots and fennel tossed in harissa, and steamed mussels are especially satisfying when paired with the inventive menu of standard and seasonal craft cocktails. Both the tree-covered back patio and the restaurant’s front stoop seating are popular for brunch on sunny Sundays, when the pizzeria serves lemon-ricotta cornmeal waffles, Parmesan frittatas, and mimosas filled out with fresh orange, pineapple, or grapefruit juice.

2415 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73103

9. Social Deck + Dining

1933 NW 23rd St, Oklahoma City, OK 73106
A fried steak topped with gravy on an outdoor table
Country fried steak
Social Deck + Dining [Official Photo]

This outdoor dining oasis between the shadows of the Plaza District and Uptown boasts two patios — one covered in the front and one open in the back — along with a menu made for brunching in the sun. Patio diners can share an eclectic array of buttermilk biscuits, hummus, and a burrata board, paired with a house cocktail like the floral, vodka-based Club Social. Owner Jamie Winteroth credits efficient delivery and curbside pickup to the locally owned TapTapEat app, which helped the restaurant send out tikka masala, corned beef hash, and chicken pappardelle during the pandemic.

1933 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK 73106

10. Florence's Restaurant

1437 NE 23rd St, Oklahoma City, OK 73111

Florence’s has been an institution since 1952, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that the restaurant opened a brand-new front porch for outdoor dining. The eponymous founder, Florence Jones Kemp, and her daughter, Victoria Kemp, cook fried chicken, candied yams, and braised oxtail from scratch, and they bake dinner rolls and cornbread daily too. Wings, spareribs, peach cobbler, and pear pie all work great for carryout.

1437 NE 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK 73111

11. Stella Modern Italian Cuisine

1201 N Walker Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73103
A bowl of crab dip with chips arranged around
Baked crab dip
Stella / Facebook

With its picture windows looking out on downtown, Stella has long been popular with guests, but a relatively new patio proved a great investment through the pandemic. Now, with chef Chris McKenna back in the kitchen, Midtown diners have flocked to the outdoor seating area to enjoy cocktails with their Roman-style pizzas, wild boar Bolognese, and lamb shank osso buco.

1201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73103

12. Ludivine

320 NW 10th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73103
A charcuterie plate with pate, sliced fish, pickled vegetables, toasted bread, mustard, and other fixings
Charcuterie plate
Nathan Poppe

Whether served on the covered patio or delivered curbside, Ludivine chef-owner Russ Johnson’s menu is always driven by the seasons. Daytime diners can drop by for a steak sandwich, wagyu burger, or a three-course light lunch that includes soup, salad, and house-made pasta. The dinner menu, meanwhile, might include such appetizers as bone marrow and foie gras, followed by entrees like smoked duck leg and braised lamb shank. Save room for the sassafras cake.

320 NW 10th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73103

13. Barrios Fine Mexican Dishes

1000 N Hudson Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73102
A table set with chips, various dips, and cocktails, with a courtyard and outdoor oven visible in the background
Chips, dips, and drinks in the courtyard
Barrios [Official Photo]

The semi-covered courtyard at Barrios, anchored by a bright pink fireplace, is among Midtown’s most sought-after destinations, but the restaurant’s Mexican and Tex-Mex specialties flow inside and out. As wood-fired fajitas beef up the air with anticipation, start with queso fundido and Victory Club nachos, paired with an avocado margarita. Then dig into a short rib tinga chalupa or hot chicken sopes.

1000 N Hudson Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

14. Iguana Mexican Grill

9 NW 9th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73102
A plate of tacos on a table beside brightly colored metal seats
Tacos
Iguana Mexican Grill [Official Photo]

This Automobile Alley stalwart features a covered patio where diners enjoy a broad taco menu by chef Shelby Sieg. Options include traditional variations like cochinita pibil, and chorizo and potato, as well as more whimsical creations like a cheeseburger taco with queso Chihuahua and chopped pickles. 

9 NW 9th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

15. Riviere Modern Banh Mi

905 N Hudson Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73102
A banh mi sandwich on an outdoor table with a to-go drink
Banh mi
Riviere Modern Banh Mi [Official Photo]

The Nguyen family, who also owns the Jimmy’s Egg breakfast franchise, provides fanciful banh mi variations in Midtown. Picnic tables added to the spacious sidewalk last year offer diners more ways to get their hands on an Autobanh with chicken schnitzel, a Banh Mi Boy filled with blackened shrimp, or a Philly-cheesesteak-inspired Banh Jovi. The menu also includes rice and vermicelli bowls, street corn, and wok-fried green beans, and a coconut milk waffle awaits for dessert.

905 N Hudson Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

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