Charles Griffis wants to help Oklahoma City get healthier one diner at a time with his new restaurant, OK’sadilla!
The eatery, 136 NW 13th St., opened Dec. 14 in the former Beatnix Cafe space and focuses on healthy, organic fast food, Griffis said.
Griffis said his wife converted to vegetarianism when he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a few years ago. Switching to organic foods and watching what he ate also helped drop his A1C levels (used to measure average blood sugar) from 13.1 to 7.4.
According to The State of Obesity’s website, 33.9 percent of Oklahomans are obese, which can lead to diabetes. Griffis said it’s hard to find healthy food on a time crunch, so he decided to create a place to help.
Though he liked the old name, issues with the Oklahoma Tax Commission meant he had to find a new identity for the restaurant.
“We really wanted to keep the name, but I’m glad we did what we did,” he said. “The food is fresher and healthier. It represents our state and our product.”
In addition to quesadillas made with grass-finished beef and organic chicken, the restaurant also serves elote, a Mexican street food comprised of corn on the cob covered by a creamy sauce with chili powder on top.
Jonathan Groth is Rococo’s new chef de cuisine.
His resume cuts across the Oklahoma City restaurant business; he trained with Kurt Fleischfresser in the Coach House Apprenticeship Program before running the kitchen at The Lobby Cafe & Bar. He also taught culinary arts at Platt College and, most recently, was executive chef at Slaughter’s Hall and WSKY Lounge.
Groth said he isn’t sure which restaurant location he will work at regularly, Rococo’s original eatery at 2824 N. Pennsylvania Ave. or Rococo Northpark at 12252 N. May Ave.
“Bruce [Rinehart, Rococo owner,] wants to get through the holidays and then start looking at the menu and making some decisions,” he said.
In November, Rinehart told Oklahoma Gazette he plans to make big changes to the East Coast-style Italian and seafood restaurant’s menus in 2017.
“We’re excited to have him on board,” Rinehart said. “Right now, we’re just getting him in to learn what we do and how we do it. After the new year, he’ll play a role in blowing up the menus and having some fun.”
The new hire comes during a transition for the small restaurant group. Chef Josh Partain left in November, and Rinehart hopes to open a new concept, The Manhattan, early next year at 210 Park Ave., Suite 150.
Waffle Champion owner Todd Woodruff is readying his next food project for a spring 2017 opening. Maples Barbecue will be run out of a concession trailer and serve Austin, Texas-style smoked meats.
“It’s that central Texas, German-style barbecue, focusing on brisket and prime, all-natural meats,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff’s sisters live in Austin.
“That style of barbecue is not really around here,” he said. “I started smoking at the house, and I found if you keep it simple with the right ingredients, you can get a product I’ve only experienced in Austin.”
The oak-wood smoker is fabricated out of a 1,000-gallon propane tank welded to a 250-gallon propane tank. Woodruff said it holds about 500 pounds of beef.
He plans to open for lunch six days a week after a March 1 opening and will not serve alcohol.