Yes. Yessss. Amid the joys of moving to downtown OKC – which are myriad, and I don’t just mean the gardens – and into a new and much more inviting office, one of the comparatively meager drawbacks has been more-or-less abandoning some prior haunts that are now farther away than is quite convenient. In some cases, this has led to improvements (e.g., Foodies replacing Pei Wei in the rotation); in others equivalents (I like the Plaza Starbucks, but there’s another at St. Anthony’s); in still others acceptable compromises (no CVS practically in our backyard, but getting to the Walmart Market at 23rd and Penn isn’t so much worse that I’m particularly bothered).
After eight months downtown, there were really only two things that still necessitated regular trips to the old neighborhood: the Slice House runs on coffee from Primacafé, and the spicy turkey at Saturn Grill is my favorite sandwich in the metro. Shaved turkey and bacon crumbles folded into warm, soft flatbread, topped with melted Swiss cheese and grilled onion and pepper slivers, laced with red chili mayo – it is spectacular. Full stop.
And now it’s moved downtown with us.
Saturn Grill just (last Monday) opened its third location, just south of the traffic circle at 10th and Walker. Like, one mile from here. You might be able to see it from our roof if the Civic Center happened to be transparent. Practically the only way it could be closer would be for a franchise to fall out of the sky onto the little grassy lot across the street from my window, and I’m holding onto some hope that that scraggly lawn is about to sprout a Primacafé somehow. (Maybe I should plant some coffee beans…)
So how do the new digs stack up? The vibe’s definitely a little different – both 10th and Famous Original SG (in Nichols Hills Plaza) are bustling, that’s no surprise, but the new one has a more open feel; the Plaza’s kind of deep but narrow and dimly lit with one long lane for traffic, while 10th is sunlit (at noon in December) and wide and boasts a lengthy bar with seating and a visible kitchen area. The décor is mostly shades of black and white, with variegated orange tabletops and counters that really pop in the sunlight and some impressive-looking (so far, since they’re new) murals behind the chefs and around the pizza oven. The TVs scattered throughout are a trifle incongruous but help break up the “one big room” feel, as does the change in elevation between different seating areas.
The menu’s similar with updates: you couldn’t get hummus or polenta appetizers at the Plaza, nor as many vegetarian options, and though some entries are nowhere to be found on the new menu, my three standbys – spicy turkey sandwich, blackened salmon sandwich, chicken alfredo pizza – are still in full effect. The new place doesn’t offer daily specials, but some of the most popular picks from the original location are simply part of the new menu.
Can I find things to cavil about? Sure: paying by waggling my finger at an iPad was faintly odd, the outdoor seating consists of all of four tables and parking is likely to be an issue at peak hours (I, at noon on a Thursday, parked at Brown’s across the traffic circle and ordered carryout)…
…But none of that’s anywhere close to constituting a dealbreaker. One of my favorite things about the entire metro just set up shop in our backyard. Yesssssss!
STEVE GILL is unusually tall, has a B.A. in Letters and a minor in Classics from OU, drinks a great deal of coffee and openly delights in writing, editing and catching the occasional typo for Slice – especially since his dream career (millionaire layabout in a P.G. Wodehouse novel) is notoriously difficult to break into. He's probably trying to think of a joke about pirates right now.