Even so, we still can’t possibly honor everyone, so a few years ago, we created Rest of OKC.
Here, we celebrate top scorers in fantasy categories like Best Mustache That Looks Like a Living Organism, Best Name For a Bar That Doesn’t Exist Yet, Best Double Meaning, Best Place to Meet Me, Best Reader Write-Ins, Best New Resident of a State Jail and Best Performing Arts WTF.
Rest of OKC is also our opportunity to thank our readers, sponsors, advertisers and community for loving (and hating) Oklahoma Gazette for more than 35 years.
By Jennifer Chancellor, Greg Elwell and Kory B. Oswald.
Photos by Mark Hancock, Garett Fisbeck, Gazette Staff, BigStock.com and Provided.
BEST OF THE REST EATS
Another Best of OKC has come and gone. Gazette Publisher Bill Bleakley has retreated to his isolated hunting lodge once again, from whence he will not emerge until the spring of 2016.
Staff members who had to count every ballot by hand and call readers to verify they “really meant” to vote are outside, looking at that hot circle in the sky and wondering why their translucent skin hurts.
Are you happy, Oklahoma City? Is it worth it to know who “the best” is? Yeah, it probably is. Thank you for focusing your time and attention to vote and read the Best of OKC results.
Even after all our work, there simply were not enough categories to convey the depth and breadth of our city’s cuisine. How could there be when so many deserving restaurants were left wanting?
So, in deference to their struggle (which is real), we submit to you the “other” categories and winners that were left from Best of OKC.
Hungry Frog Restaurant
1101 N. Pennsylvania Ave.
Sure, Jimmy’s Egg won Best Diner in Oklahoma Gazette’s real Best of OKC contest this year, and we have no problem with that. But what about the Best ‘DINER,’ for which the only entry is Hungry Frog? Its sign proudly proclaims it a ‘DINER,’ and its food proudly makes me want a giant stack of pancakes topped with a comically large pat of slowly melting butter.
Best Cajun Food
C’est Si Bon
101 N. Douglas Blvd., Midwest City
In a hotly contested category that everybody forgot to put in the paper for some reason, C’est Si Bon must fight it out against other Cajun luminaries like Bighead’s in Edmond, The Shack Seafood & Oyster Bar, Hillbilly Po-Boys & Oysters, Jazmo’z Bourbon St. Cafe, Crabtown and the powerhouse buffet at Cajun King. The people cry out for justice and also gumbo. Probably they would settle for gumbo. Maybe some crawfish étouffée … and some catfish.
805 N. Hudson Ave.
You’ve heard of food so tender it falls off the bones. But have you eaten what’s inside the bones? Maybe it’s time for a visit to Ludivine, where they buzz-saw cow femurs lengthwise and roast them until the fatty marrow becomes a creamy gelatin suitable for spreading on toast points and eating while making a weird, near-orgasmic face. It’s sometimes referred to as “meat butter,” and for those who love flavor, it’s a must-have. Honorable mention goes to Carican Flavors, 2701 N. Martin Luther King Ave., where the marrow in the oxtail adds to the rich and flavorful broth that we would shower under if given the option.
The Coach House
6437 Avondale Drive
It’s hard not to feel a bit overwhelmed in The Coach House. Not because it smells like horses — it doesn’t — but because it has long been the secret hangout of Oklahoma City’s tastemakers and up-and-coming chefs. Chef Kurt Fleischfresser makes exquisite food and trains young cooks until they’re ready to run their own kitchens, create their own menus and, eventually, open their own restaurants. It’s not cheap, but the food served there is nothing short of wonderful.
Best Place To Meet Me
3718 N. Shartel Ave.
We had a category for where to meet a hipster but completely glossed over the information people really wanted: namely, where to find me, Greg Elwell. I’d like to say that I hang out at the above-named restaurants all the time. And I will. I hang out at the above-named restaurants all the time.
But that’s not true. I am here, at the Gazette, writing this sentence. And when you read this sentence, I will probably still be there, writing more and different sentences.
Please, somebody bring me some coffee.
The Basement Modern Diner
200 S. Oklahoma Ave., Suite X
The actual best place to wait out a tornado is in another state, where tornados are not happening. But if you’re in Oklahoma City, The Basement is a pretty good choice. It’s underground, for one, but it also has booze, bowling lanes and ice cream. Yeah, if the power goes out or everybody is trapped down there for some reason, you know you want to be where the ice cream and alcohol are.
Best Name For A Bar That Doesn’t Exist Yet
The Your Mom’s Tavern & Grillery
No matter how old you are, no matter how dumb it is, when someone answers a question with “Your mom,” it still gets a laugh. So, why hasn’t anybody capitalized on this and opened up a place people can’t wait to go for a burger and several beers?
“Where should we go tonight?”
“Screw you, Derek! But, yeah, let’s go. I’ve been wanting to try the Your Mom’s Cooking Is So Bad Burger.”
Maybe next year, Derek.
BEST LETTERS WE DIDN’T RUN
Oklahoma Gazette gets a whole lot of emails, phone calls and letters to the editor. Did we say we get a whole lot? Because we get a whole lot.
A handful of readers let us know when they think we need to shut up, and we’re super grateful they continue to read our paper anyway. In Rest of OKC, some have a voice, although they might not get a name. Here are some of the best reader callouts we received in the past year. Letters have been edited and names removed to protect, well, everyone. — Ed.
Doesn’t this world have enough people disrespecting people without publications like this? … Don’t bother responding; what you have to say and what you think is not important to me!!!
Best lazy rhetoric
We have an election next week, and as with all elections, we hear the plethora of candidates on both sides speak of “compromise” and “bi-partisanship” and “crossing party lines” and blah, blah, blah, blah.
Best interfaith troll
The “interfaith community” here in Oklahoma translates into all who hate the unwanted restraint of American Constitutional Judeo-Christian-based law and capitalism.
Best passive-aggressive line about cyclists
Including an image of a city sign where I routinely go running. It speaks volumes. Print that! It’s within OKC limits. (See photo.)
Best tinfoil hat
Declassified information is available on many decades of human experimentation projects carried out by the government. The systems we count on have been manipulated in order to keep the number of victims, their complaints and the highest level statements suppressed or kept below society’s awareness threshold.
Best crazy line
I want to agree with and expand upon what Gazette Editor Jennifer Chancellor said on public radio today.
Bestest, craziest line
As one who has watched countless episodes of the show, I can attest that those darn Duke boys were closet racists, and their car (The General Lee) was so racist, it should have been named the Grand Dragon.
Perhaps the voices behind the Gazette should return to kindergarten.
Best use of needless quotes
Our hedonistic irrationality leads us to the false redefinitions of “marriage equality,” “embrace,” “respect,” “support” and even “diversity” itself.
Hi, Ok Gazette. I see this paper — a very nice-looking paper — in local restaurants. My input is this: Why such a hard left editorial view? And why do you think the letters have the same view? I think Oklahoma is a pretty conservidive [sic] place. Maybe you are just terribly biased.
Best typo callout
I am happy to see this opportunity opening up in OKissC … but I am really happy they are taking over the old Dan O’Brien’s “Pubic” House … being near the bank and B&N may have been a downer for old Dan. Look at the article again. No misspellings but one letter missing made my day! Thanks! Then again, Gene Simmons might be happy to get a “pubic” not a “public” house!
Best middle-of-the-night phone message(s)
I’m glad I know you’re the editor, because next time the paper says something stupid … I’ll call you. To say that schools are underfunded is dumb (long pause, then yells), Dee-You-Em-Bee … madame! (click) (calls back) … And remember MAPS for Kids? … (unintelligible, groaning) Wasn’t that wonderful? (yells) Helllooooo?!! (click) (calls back) Seventy percent of the population thinks you’re an idiot! (click) (calls back) … I think the Gazette is a Democrat-whore paper. (click)
I suppose you could say his charges were significant (Editor’s note: fraud, larceny, “engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses,” bail jumping, “obtaining money by false pretenses,” spanning from 2003-2009, according to publicly available records), but if you review the trail of appeals, record of nonviolence and professional accomplishments, he is no risk to society.
Best random line
The Thunder alone is a bloated cash cow.
Best definition of a lie
As I see how this tragic event is treated in a cavalier manner by media and called a bombing by everyone, I am deeply embarrassed and ashamed. The official story is wrong. It’s a lie; furthermore, it’s a vulgar, dirty lie.
Best wasted insult
Mr. Meyers can once again “do things you could not do before,” like take occasion to trash right-wing politics and Christian religion and ignorant Oklahomans.
BEST READER WRITE-INS FROM BEST OF OKC BALLOTS
Best Local Winery:
Best Free Entertainment:
7-Eleven at 10th Street and Western Avenue
Best Local Contractor/Handyman:
Best Family In-State Staycation:
Staycations are at home, dumbasses.
Best Place to Spend Adult Time That is Kid-Friendly:
Best Person to Follow on Social Media:
BEST OF THE WORST
At Oklahoma Gazette, we’re all too willing to make fun of ourselves, too. Here are some of the best worst lines printed and/or edited out of our stories in the last year.
Pardon the pun, but it was a mouthful in more ways than one.
Oh, Jesus, We Didn’t Mean That:
Children young enough can get their rocks off in the Discovery Room, literally.
Hats off to a resident cooking rock star who can definitely hold her own against the pros and make the Oklahoma scene proud in the process.
Next, she tackled hot dogs.
Best Mixed Metaphors in a Run-On Sentence:
In a partnership that will go into extra innings, INTEGRIS Health has stepped up to the plate to become an Official Community Partner of the ASA Hall of Fame Softball Complex for the next 10 years, to the tune of $750,000.
Best Use Of “Scene” Or “Scenes”:
Best Kool-Aid Man Visual:
After bursting onto the scene in the ’80s …
Best Wettest Scene:
“It was before the craft beer scene exploded.”
Best Sci-Fi Melding Visual:
He has fused himself into the soul of the midwest punk scene.
Best Captain Obvious Line:
There’s a new food truck on the scene.
Best Snooty Art Scene Reference:
A wide breadth of visual art that few outside the scene would recognize.
Best Performing Arts WTF:
With stage names like April Showers and Ooops the Clown, you get the feeling that you aren’t on your way to see the ballet. It’s dazzling burlesque, and you’re in for some showtime extravaganza.
Best Dictatorial Lines About “Authentic Fare”:
“You know, Hitler was a vegetarian” is a popular thing to say to discredit vegetarians.
Almost Makes Sense:
You can still find hot dogs at Coney Island, though they might hesitate to fill your order if you use a German accent.
“OTHER” REST OF OKC WINNERS
Dino Lalli’s facial hair
Its origins are murky, but historians discovered that soon after its inception sometime in 1842, Dino Lalli’s mustache (in reality a single-celled organism) attached itself to its first host, J.J. McAlester, until the end of their reign as United States Marshal for Indian Territory in 1897. After a period of dormancy, it found its present host: handsome, 12-year-old Lalli. (He formally adopted it sometime around 1980, court records show.) After recovering from an almost career-ending blow in the early ’80s when Hall & Oates exploded on the scene, the ’stache regrouped and worked about nine years at the Oklahoma Film & Music Office, capitalizing off its prior experience as creative services director for the television division of a worldwide nonprofit based in OKC. The mustache — and Dino — now works tirelessly as a co-host and producer for Discover Oklahoma. Today, many people still fully credit Dino for the pair’s success. Few know that the duo works so well together they often finish each other’s sentences.
BradChad Porter, by his own accounts, is an adult, bald divorcee who has lost control of his bowels in his pants at least five times. He also is often called the funniest comic working in Oklahoma City right now. Whether he’s talking about being caught by his mother during an amorous encounter with himself or the ironic tragedy of dying at an amusement park, it’s not just his clever words that garner guffaws. His body contorts and explodes on stage with the telling of each story, eliciting peals of laughter from crowds. His pain is our gain, and Oklahoma Gazette thanks him for sharing it.
deadCENTER Film Festival
Opening night of this year’s deadCENTER Film Festival was surreal, even by Jerry Springer standards. A mockumentary premiere about local female pro wrestling group was paired with a documentary about a satanic black mass. Members of both communities came, but it wasn’t the brawlers who brawled. Nope. Instead, opposing satanic practitioners took their anger “Outside, bro!” and two men exchanged punches in front of the theater as The Real Enemy screened inside. Police broke up the scuffle.
H&8th Night Market
People-watching has never been as fun and rewarding as it is at H&8th Night Market’s monthly street festival. Waiting in line for an hour after you order your gourmet meal from some guy leaning out of a truck window gives you plenty of time to examine the dynamics of human interaction, crowd movement and local music and art. And, hey, is that a drone hovering above, filming everyone’s every move? Yep, it sure is! But you don’t care. (Wave hello, y’all!) Everyone around you is just so … interesting. Plus, that guy at the window accepts credit and debit cards. So order a second craft beer while you wait. You’ll be glad you did.
The Lost Ogle vs. Aaron Tuttle
Months and months before meteorologist Aaron Tuttle and The Lost Ogle (TLO) co-founder and editor-in-chief Patrick Riley went public with their arguments about who was best qualified to win Best of OKC’s Best Person to Follow on Social Media title, a painful and sometimes hilarious drama nearly broke the Internet. Tuttle fought TLO’s use of sleek-chested, ripped photos from his bodybuilding days. Things soon devolved into shout-outs requesting good copyright attorneys, cease-and-desist complaints, threats of lawsuits … and the best publicity either could ask for. Their beef with each other is legit — we don’t think it’s a publicity stunt — but it has also served them both well. Congratulations, gentlemen.
Schadenfreude, thy name is Randy Terrill. After being convicted of offering a bribe for the withdrawal of Sen. Debbie Leftwich’s candidacy in 2013, the former representative from Moore finally began his prison sentence this year. Perhaps best known as the author of anti-immigration and English-language-only bills, his fall from grace is perhaps more embarrassing to himself than the state. (The Sooner fan was forced to take a mugshot in an orange shirt. The indignity!) He’s due for release from the prison in Granite in February.
Best Rap Pose in a Promotional Photo:
Perry-born former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger has a solid flow. His rhymes are dope, and his braggadocio is legend. This pose alone is successful in today’s rap scene. Earlier this year, when Swagger told Oklahoma Gazette, “the impact is definitely not fake,” we secretly hoped he was alluding to a pending album debut.
Best Use of James Garner Statue:
This was a close one. In fact, we flipped a coin to choose the winner and then threw out that decision. The Oklahoma native and U.S. senator’s attempts to defund and/or dismantle Planned Parenthood, Native American sovereignty, religious freedom protections and Obamacare, however, prove his bite is far more dangerous than state lawmaker Sally Kern’s incessant bark. Whether you think Lankford’s a hero or a heel, almost everyone agrees that he’s a shrewd and controversial lawmaker.
This is a big win for us okies! No longer do we have to procure an old television and an ice-cold Coors and scoot off into the country to drink and fire weapons. At Wilshire Gun, OKC’s first-class gun range, you can grab an AK-47 or a Russian AK-74 as easily as you can grab a Jack and Coke!
Best Burn-the-Place-to-the-Ground Event Opening:
deadCENTER Film Festival
This year’s beloved deadCENTER Film Festival appreciation party blowout was jokingly close to literal when a fireworks display at the still-under-construction American Indian Cultural Center and Museum ended with the wail of fire truck alarms. Sparks from the fireworks set tall native grasses aflame, but it was quickly extinguished and no property damage was reported.
Oh, how we love thee, Edmond, America. Perhaps Oklahoma City’s most affluent suburb, it’s really skilled at putting on its happy face and downing another flute of perfectly chilled, from-a-box rosé as it smiles and pretends not to notice. Over the past year, it has launched a hugely successful monthly street festival that has brought in an estimated $1.5 million. Its schools are some of the best in the state. And, dude, its arts festival is pretty awesome. It also made the news for a brothel bust, prostitute takedown, feces-centric vandal, stabbing death, high-speed chase involving traffic violations and drug-related arrests.
Norman is not the next Austin. Austin, the former weird capitol of the world, is now a place where yuppies run wild in the streets, dragging up the cost of living with their high-end salaries, where every non-yuppie lives in a Neverland-like fantasy of never growing up and playing in a band until arthritis consumes their body and leaves them helplessly on their own with no 401K and a bleak resume. Norman is not weird like that. Boasting a state university and sitting comfortably as a ’burb of OKC, Norman sounds a lot like another metro suburb just to the north. Nothing weird about that.
Best Town That’s Way Weirder Than Anybody Thinks:
If news reports are to be believed, this quaint town has turned into some kind of Bermuda Triangle for normalcy. In June, a former councilman was arrested for allegedly possessing stolen copper wire/cable. This was after police said he told jail inmates to strip tornado sirens of metal so he could make some quick cash (about $160). This month, he was arrested again for allegedly intimidating witnesses in the case, including threatening the life of one witness and trying to run another off the road, according to KOCO.com. As if that wasn’t bizarre enough, earlier this month, News9.com reported the Luther Schools superintendent created a job that paid $65,000 and hired his wife to fill it. “I knew she could do the job,” he told News9.com. All of this is weird enough that we assume the next story to surface might be about a candy-colored clown they call The Sandman.