Sparks of Reinvention at FLINT - 405 Magazine

Sparks of Reinvention at FLINT

A downtown classic embraces Southern decadence

photo of raw oysters on the half-shell at FLINT

Photo by Rachel Maucieri

The secret ingredient for success in the restaurant industry is the ability to evolve. In a business that’s notoriously fickle as this, where restaurants thread the needle between trends and traditions, even classic institutions need to adapt, providing a dining experience that’s at once fresh and familiar. It’s a tricky dance to pull off, but those that manage it transcend into rare territory as cornerstones of a city’s cultural DNA. The latest to attempt the feat is FLINT, the enduring American restaurant inside the historic Colcord Hotel at 15 N. Robinson Ave., which recently underwent a gilded makeover that simultaneously innovates and dazzles while harkening to its past. 

FLINT 2.0 is one of polished comfort. Without any pretense, both the dining room and the menu offer a decadent sense of comfort, with flavors melding Midwestern and Southern traditions in a space that’s as posh or as low-key as you want it to be. Whereas the original restaurant, in operation since 2012 before undergoing a thorough two-month remodel last summer, sported an open floor plan with one big flowing space, the new iteration divvies it up into a bar and lounge area, and an elongated dining room befitting anything from a splashy first date to a casual night on the town.

photo of the interior of FLINT
Photo by Rachel Maucieri

“The goal is that the restaurant is comfortable,” said Justin George, assistant general manager. “You can be here for a Sweet 16, a 21st birthday or a 25th anniversary — the most important factor is that it’s comfortable.” The new aesthetic achieves that with leather booths, a marble-clad fireplace and gold accents throughout, with artwork from local galleries, and a quartz bar to mimic the stonework in the lobby of the hotel. 

The food and beverage programs follow suit, newly emphasizing Midwestern-American food with Southern influences. Describing by George as “familiar foods presented in their freshest form,” the menu runs the gamut from buttery cast-iron cornbread and fried green tomatoes with jalapeño remoulade to grilled salmon over squid ink-dyed pasta, blackened redfish atop chicken andouille gumbo and banana pudding. Exemplifying the notion of familiar foods with a fresh makeover, hand-breaded chicken-fried steak is a righteous homage to the Oklahoma state meal, while FLINT’s impressive oyster selection is a nod to the oyster bar that occupied the Colcord’s lobby once upon a time. 

photo of blackened redfish with chicken andouille gumbo from FLINT
blackened redfish with chicken andouille gumbo | Photo by Rachel Maucieri

Behind that quartz bar, FLINT’s beverage program is among the most comprehensive in the city. Classic cocktails, an award-winning wine program and local craft beer are the cruxes, while the shelves are lined with esoteric spirits like 40-year-old Scotches and vintage bourbons that collectors would drool over. Guests can expect familiar cocktails, as well as unfamiliar takes on tradition, like a “reverse” Manhattan that uses the same staple ingredients in different ratios for a lighter, less-boozy approach. Meanwhile, the vault-like wine room is filled with all manner of (mostly New World) bottles, including some of the only large-format varietals in the city, ranging in size from 1.5L to 15L — helping to earn the restaurant a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2023. 

Next up is the massive patio. Currently used as more of a special event space on the building’s west side, FLINT has more plans for activating its 150-person terrace this year, equipped with its own outdoor bar, ample lounge areas and front-row views of the Myriad Gardens and the Devon Tower. But no matter where you’re seated, be it under the sun or under a piece of art, it’s the timeless comfort that’ll turn FLINT into its next evolution as an OKC classic in its own right.

Contact: 15 N. Robinson Ave.