Even though NE 23rd Street is one of the most historical streets in Oklahoma City, many locals tend to forget that it’s also home to some of the most grassroots and homegrown eateries in town, the best having a specific focus on soul food, barbecue and old-fashioned Southern cooking. NE 23rd Street restaurants are OKC’s culinary history all in a few blocks and really should be revered as such.
Winning big can be hungry, thirsty work. We scoured Oklahoma’s casinos for your best bets on sustenance whether you are on a winning streak, holding, folding, walking away, running, or just down to your last five bucks.
The Red Cup
3122 N. Classen Blvd.
What works: Delicious dishes made upon ordering.
What needs work: Some comfort-food faves lacked any real standout appeal.
The tip: If you're avoiding meat, this is the place for you.
I’m a big fan of meat. Beef and chicken, sure — those are easy. But I like almost every kind of fish, fowl and game. They taste good. That is my criteria for eating.
Here’s a flow chart: Does this taste good? If yes, keep eating. If no, stop eating.
Pretty simple, yeah? I can understand if you have some aversion to meats. I disagree, but I understand. What I don’t quite get are meat-eaters who have an aversion to not-meats. Soy-based sausage, say. Or burgers made with lentils and veggies and grains.
Do they taste good? Yeah. So I keep eating them. And I usually do that at The Red Cup.
Vegetarian (not vegan) food is the specialty at this coffee house/restaurant/ people-watching spot. And it starts with breakfast.
can get cinnamon toast or oatmeal, if you like, but I was turned on to
the Exotic Egghead ($5.95), and I’m never going back. It’s a breakfast
sandwich of scrambled eggs mixed with spinach and onions, topped with
tomatoes and goat cheese, all served up on marbled rye. I’d take this
sharp and tangy meal over an egg McMuffin any day of the week — and I
like egg McMuffins.
The biscuits and gravy ($4.50): Not so much. The gravy, made with mushrooms, has a sweetness that doesn’t quite work for me.
But when lunch rolls around, the choices get better and more varied. The standard is the veggie burger ($6.85), which has a nice, meaty texture without actually containing any nice, meaty meat. That said, if you’re looking for flavor, I recommend you get the SOB burger ($7.95). The “south of the border” flavor comes from sautéed peppers and a jalapeño bun, but the spicy guacamole is the real star.
The Frito pie ($7.50) is as good as any I’ve had in Oklahoma City, and the red beans and brown rice ($7.50) is filling as all get out. That said, don’t be afraid to reach for the hot sauce to put them over the top. The Frito pie is a little closer to complete, but the red beans need an extra burst of heat to keep them interesting.
After getting a recommendation from the chef, I tried the noodles and meat(less) sauce ($9.25), which was the closest I’ve ever come to thinking soy was real meat. Credit goes to its flavorful “soysage.” Nice and filling.
But maybe you’re looking for comfort food. Might I recommend the stinky cheese sandwich ($6.05)? It’s a grilled cheese sandwich made with stinky (read: delicious) cheese. It comes packed with Cheddar, Jack and blue, grilled with red onions on that marbled rye, which is from a local bakery. It’s gooey. It’s greasy. It’s wonderful.
The Red Cup offers daily lunch specials, and serves dinner and dinner specials Thursday-Saturday; enticing photos and descriptions are posted to its Facebook page.
If you don’t like The Red Cup, give me a good reason. The decorations? Kind of strange. The clientele? I saw a priest, a clown, a photographer and a narc (It was me!) last time I went in, so it’s a weird bunch. The food? It may not have any meat, but it still tastes good.
So keep eating.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.
Photo by Mark Hancock