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.
“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.
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.