Best of the City 2016 - 405 Magazine

Best of the City 2016

From tourist attraction to shoe store, filmmaker to impending development, and including some selections from our editorial staff for good measure – we’re pleased to share with you more than 100 of the greatest hits to be found in the 405.


Polling is closed, the ballots have been counted and the results are in. No, not for the Presidential election – think local. This is our 4th annual Best of the City survey, and we’re thrilled to bring you the majority selections for highlights of life in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Norman and surroundings … plus a few helpings of our own two cents in the Editors’ Choice categories.

These are the people, places, tasty treats and overall delights that you (and we) love most about the 405.


Editors' Choice

Best Mac n’ Cheese

Slaughter's Hall

Lots of places list mac and cheese as a possibility somewhere amid their litany of sides – but in this Deep Deuce watering hole it has its own section on the menu. That should give some indication of how seriously Jonathon Groth’s kitchen takes the concept, and the execution isn’t just cheesy and good … it’s fromagical.
Our discussion over which of the four flavors reigns supreme got a little heated, but in the end, heat won out: The Fire Mac’s pasta, cheddar-jack cheese and ground sausage are elevated by a sriracha queso that gives your taste buds a persistent but not painful sizzle. Top it with roasted peppers and fried onions, and a star is born.

Good Eats & Drinks • Editors' Choice

Best Alcoholic Accompaniment to the Advent of Summer

Power House's hatch green chile top shelf margarita

Summer is coming. And whether you consider that good news or bad, there’s no point in trying to hide from it – lean into it and fight the heat with some heat of a different kind. This specialty of the Power House energizes its mixture of tequila (Cazadores Reposado), Grand Marnier, Cointreau and lime by adding a trickle of ancho/habanero syrup and roasted Hatch chiles for a beverage that’s perfectly drinkable; not too prickly or a personal endurance demonstration like some shots, but deliciously refreshing with a lingering, smoky warmth in the back of the palate. Combined with the bar’s rustic vibe, classic country soundtrack – Hank Sr. to “Hot Rod Lincoln” – and ample patio, it’s a prime choice for the end of a long, balmy day.

Readers' Choice

• Best Coffee Shop

Elemental Coffee


• Best Craft Brewer

Coop Ale Works


• Best Breakfast

Jimmy’s Egg


• Best Weekend Brunch



Best Workday Lunch

Park Avenue Grill


• Best Casual Dinner

The Mule


Best Fine Dining

Ranch Steakhouse


• Best Desserts

La Baguette


• Best Food Truck

Big Truck Tacos


• Best Al Fresco Dining

Redrock Canyon Grill


Best Out-of-Business Restaurant You Wish Would Make a Comeback

Nonna’s Euro-American Ristorante


• Best Burger

The Garage


• Best Barbecue

Earl’s Rib Palace


• Best Pizza

Hideaway Pizza


• Best Seafood

The Drake


Best Steak

Red PrimeSteak


Best Sushi

Sushi Neko


• Best Vegetarian

Red Cup


Best Ethnic Restaurant

Queen of Sheba


• Best Chef

Kurt Fleischfresser


Best Customer Service

Ted’s Café Escondido


• Best Drinksmith

Amy Nelms at Red Piano


• Best Cocktail Bar

R & J Lounge


• Best Watering Hole



• Best Place to Take Visiting Friends/Relatives



Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant

Hideaway Pizza

Good Eats & Drinks • Editors' Choice

Best New Restaurant

Chae Modern Korean

It was a crowded field this year for this category; there have been a lot of new names added to the city’s restaurant scene, and many of them are very good. But however subjective the question of accounting for taste may be, you can’t fake numbers. And we eat here a lot. The menu of modern Korean cuisine positively sparkles with tasty temptations, from tempura shrimp nestled in soft buns through creamy, savory risotto-like duck jook and spice-laden seafood soup jjambbong and a heavenly house take on bulgogi. Honestly, one of the only reasons we aren’t even more frequent customers is that the portions are large enough to keep the office fridge fairly constantly stocked with leftovers. Highly recommended.

Photo by Joshua Gateley

Diversions • Editors' Choice

Best Comeback

Ou vs. Tennessee

The Sooners were in only the second game of the season and the first against real competition, down by 14, with less than 14 minutes to go, having a mere field goal as the highlight so far amid 8 punts and 2 interceptions, as the biggest audience they’d ever had (102,455) redefined “hostile territory.” No problem. QB Baker Mayfield led OU 80 yards to score, the D got a 3-and-out, then Mayfield capped another grinding drive by hitting Sterling Shepard in the end zone to tie it with 40 seconds to go. Tennessee scored first in OT, so Mayfield ran it in himself, then nailed a gorgeous TD lob to Shepard in double overtime for the game winner. It was an incredibly gritty, resilient team performance that coach Stoops called “maybe my favorite” of his many victories. If your blood runs even the slightest bit crimson, your heart was racing with joy after this one.

Readers' Choice

Best Art Gallery

JRB Art at the Elms


Best Museum

OKC Museum of Art


Best Cultural Event

Festival of the Arts


Best Performing Arts Venue

Civic Center Music Hall


Best Theater Company

Lyric Theater


• Best Dance Company

Oklahoma City Ballet


• Best Street Festival



• Best Charity Event

Memorial Marathon


• Best Live Music Venue

ACM@UCO Performance Lab


• Best Casino

Riverwind Casino


• Best Movie Theater

Warren Theatre


Best Sporting Event

OKC Thunder game


Best Tourist Attraction

OKC National Memorial and Museum


Best Hotel

Skirvin Hilton


• Best B&B

The Grandison


• Best Romantic Staycation

Skirvin Hilton


• Best Family Excursion



• Best Saturday Destination

Myriad Botanical Gardens


• Best In-state Getaway

Beaver’s Bend State Park

Diversions • Editors' Choice

Best Place to Watch a Sunset

Lake Hefner

Oklahoma is known for many weather-related phenomena – sweltering summers, torrential rains, ice storms, tornadoes, earthquakes and so on. On the flip side, it’s also often deserving of its reputation for some of the most stunning sunsets across the nation. Must be the big skies.

Whether you’re cycling along the trails, taking a leisurely stroll, making a foray out onto the water itself (warmer weather is coming, after all) or simply enjoying an adult beverage on the deck at one of the local eateries, Lake Hefner provides a stunning stage for the sun to settle; we consider it the best place for viewing the end to daylight hours.

Diversions • Editors' Choice

Best Impending Development

21c Museum Hotel

While Oklahoma City has no shortage of hotels, or museums, a snazzy new combination of the luxury of a boutique hotel with a twist of modern art is poised to impress.

So far, only a few cities, such as Louisville and Nashville, have experienced what the 21c Museum Hotel brand is all about. Now it’s OKC’s turn, and owners say it may prove to be the crown jewel of downtown’s west side.

It’s located in the old Fred Jones assembly plant in the 900 block of West Main – where old Model T Fords were built a hundred years ago. Now guests will enjoy all the modern conveniences of the 21st century: The hotel offers a full-service restaurant and bar, workout facilities, a 3,000-square-foot penthouse and exceptionally well-appointed guest rooms. The museum space downstairs houses contemporary art with exhibitions that will change throughout the year.

We’ll be taking a closer look in 405 Magazine’s May issue, but for now suffice it to say that our new neighbor has us quite excited for its upcoming opening.

Gotta Love Those Okies • Editors' Choice

Best Local Grocery Employee

Marni Vincent at Forward Foods

A resident of Norman, Marni has worked at Forward Foods for seven years, currently serving as store manager and cheesemonger. Yes, really.

“I’m there to educate customers about the cheese, charcuterie and other products we sell,” she explains, “but I try to also build relationships with the customers so that they feel welcome and comfortable enough to approach the counter or call the shop with any questions.

The world of cheese can be intimidating – I was really intimidated when I started this job – but Forward Foods made that world really approachable for me, so I try to emulate that experience.”

Given that cheese is her favorite food, especially Wabash Cheese Cannon Balls, the ability to share her enthusiasm and foster it in others makes the job a pleasure.
So next time you’re in Norman, especially if it’s during one of the cheese classes on Friday evenings at 6:45, pop into Forward Foods and ask for Marni; she’ll help you find something delicious.

Readers' Choice

Best Elected Official

Mayor Mick Cornett


Best Celebrity

Kevin Durant 


Best Musician

Kyle Dillingham


Best Bar Band

My So-Called Band 


Best Visual Artist

Gayle Curry


Best Local Actor (nope, Brad Pitt doesn’t count)

Susan Riley, Pollard Theatre


Best Filmmaker

Lance McDaniel


• Best Author/Writer

Laura Wilcox


• Best Blogger

The Lost Ogle


• Best Comedian

Spencer Hicks


• Best Meteorologist

David Payne, News9


• Best News Anchor

Erielle Reshef, KOCO 5


• Best Sports Journalist

Berry Tramel, The Oklahoman


• Best Radio DJ

Ferris O’Brien, The Spy FM


• Best Radio Team

Jack & Ron, FUN 96.9 FM


• Best Ambassador Who Makes You Proud To Be An Oklahoman

Kevin Durant


• Best News Reporter

Steve Lackmeyer, The Oklahoman


• Best Non-Elected Community Official

Jim Couch, City Manager


• Best Humanitarian

Jan Peery, CEO of YWCA


• Best Nonprofit Organization

Positive Tomorrows


• Best Leader of a Nonprofit

Brad Barghols, American Red Cross

Photo by Quit Nguyen

Gotta Love Those Okies • Editors' Choice

Best Community Developer

Steve Mason

Building a community isn’t just about buildings, businesses and bright ideas. It takes true vision and leadership. It takes the know-how to not only conceptualize the possibilities but also see projects through to completion. It takes knowing your market and the people within it. Steve Mason has been around that block more than a time or two. From Automobile Alley to Ninth Street to the Plaza District, Mason has shown leadership and the dedication necessary to build and encourage multiple thriving communities that all add to the fabric of the greater metro. And if that’s not convincing enough, he also was recognized at the 26th annual Dean A. McGee Award ceremony as the recipient of the Neal Horton Award, which is presented to a visionary who creates a renaissance in a downtown area. Yeah, he checked that box!

Shopping • Editors' Choice

Best Place for Vintage Sound

Guestroom Records

125 e main, norman | 405.701.5974 | 3701 n western, okc | 405.601.3859 |

Digital music is great. Catalogs are huge, streaming is simple, rocking out to your heart’s content is only a few clicks away. But there are times when we yearn for the more concrete experience, and when that urge hits, it’s time to hit Guestroom. Both locations – Main Street in Norman and 36th and Western in OKC – are packed with new and used CDs and vinyl, from local bands to an AC/DC EP you’d forgotten existed to the latest from The Struts (see p. 112). And if you need a recommendation or want to get into a pickup conversation about The Cult or Bowie’s best album, you’re in the perfect place.

Shopping • Editors' Choice

Best Place to Buy Your Booze

Broadway Wine Merchants

David Lack, owner of Broadway Wine Merchants, prides himself on one very important thing: He does not put a bottle of wine on the shelf he has not tried and liked. That commitment to curating a quality list means customers can trust they are getting a wine Lack personally recommends. Follow that up with his commitment to ongoing education for his staff, which has at times included sommeliers, and you’ll understand why this is a favorite stop in downtown. The beer selection is as impressive as the wine, including many local brews available in bottle or can, and there’s also an excellent array of quality spirits. Finding a liquor store in OKC isn’t difficult, but it’s worth going an extra mile or two for someplace this dedicated. 

Readers' Choice

• Best Antique Store

23rd Street Antique Mall 


• Best Bookstore

Full Circle Bookstore


• Best Bike Shop

Schlegel’s Bicycles


• Best Auto Dealership

Bob Moore Auto Group


• Best Furniture Store

Mathis Brothers Furniture


• Best Jewelry Store

BC Clark Jewelers


• Best Grocery Store



• Best Home Accessories Store

Interior Gilt


• Best Florist

New Leaf Florist


• Best Women’s Clothing Store

Five & Company


• Best Men’s Clothing Store

Mr. Ooley’s, Penn Square Mall


• Best Kids’ Clothing Store

Uptown Kids


• Best Gift Boutique

On A Whim


• Best Shoe Store



• Best Vintage Store

Bad Granny’s Bazaar


• Best District Shopping

Plaza District


• Best Eyewear Source

TSO Optical


• Best Fitness Center



• Best Personal Trainer

Brian Attebery, Results Fitness and Nutrition Center


• Best Yoga/Pilates Studio



• Best Family Doctor

Titi Nguyen Fitzsimmons


• Best Family Dentist

Dr. Krista Jones


• Best Cosmetic Dentist

Dr. Krista Jones


• Best Cosmetic Surgeon

Dr. Tim Love


• Best Hair Stylist

Rachel Baldwin, Revel Eight


• Best Hair Colorist

Rachel Baldwin, Revel Eight


Best Makeup Artist

Jennifer Bentley


• Best Barber

Doc Gattis


• Best Salon

Revel Eight


• Best Spa

Renaissance Salon & Spa


• Best Mani/Pedi Salon

Polished Nail Salon


• Best Salon/Spa for a Massage

Eden Salon and Spa


• Best Salon/Spa for a Facial

Renaissance Salon & Spa


Best Veterinarian (because pets matter)

Chris Rispoli


Best Eyewear Source

Vision Source