Red’s Southern Diner
840 W. Danforth, Edmond
What works: anything fried, creamed corn
What doesn’t work: wimpy salad
Tips: Biscuits and creamed corn complete the meal.
Signs of days past, including Coca-Cola and Phillips 66, hang over Red’s Southern Diner in Edmond. It makes for a cool visual and also hints at the items on the menu.
Vegetarians, be prepared. Almost everything at Red’s features chicken, although there is one beef or fish option. Served family-style, only seven main dishes and a few sides are offered. Most items are fried, which will offend some eaters and delight others.
Red’s makes good southern-influenced fare. It may not be just like Granny made, but the menu works. Speaking of menus, you won’t find a printed one. It’s on the wall, surrounded by flashing red and white lights, resembling a movie marquee.
Friendly servers are quick to appear and take drink orders. In addition to beer and the typical soft drinks, there’s a selection of bottled specialty sodas.
The meal began with a house salad. Unfortunately, underwhelming is the best description. The plate has a decent pile of lettuce with a meek blend of shredded cabbage and carrots similar to those packaged ones sold in grocery stores. House-made salad dressings are limited to honey mustard and Italian.
The basket of hot biscuits that arrived next, however, melted away any salad disappointment. Real butter and honey helped, too.
The main event offers several traditional American favorites, including fried chicken, chicken tenders, chicken-fried steak, barbecue chicken, pot roast, catfish and a chicken potpie. Sides are simple: large bowls brimming with mashed potatoes with skins, white gravy, creamed corn and a heap of fried okra. The star here is the corn; the little kernels are immersed in a wonderfully rich and dense sauce.
Fried chicken, steak and catfish are lightly coated in batter. They have the perfect balance, giving a delicious crunchy taste without minimizing the flavor of the meat: yummy and worth the caloric splurge. The potpie has carrots and peas blended into a thick, creamy sauce, then topped by a flaky, golden crust. The pot roast was acceptable, but the meat seemed slightly dried out and not too flavorful.
Dinner arrived on a huge tray and made dining space a challenge. Serving pieces are heavy-duty plastic plates and bowls, making it very kid-friendly. Children eat for a bargain $4.99, which includes a drink and ice cream. Adults get a choice of entree and all-you-can-eat sides for $11.99. Beverages and ice cream cost extra.
If you still have room, dessert options are biscuit bread pudding, strawberry crumble and a chocolate, cake-like pudding topped with ice cream that’s been sprinkled in walnuts plus caramel or chocolate drizzles. For $5, one of these can easily feed two or three, depending on your level of indulgence. None of the dessert options, however, was particularly remarkable.
The portion size could also be revisited. The helpings are so plentiful that sometimes food is wasted. Yes, take-away is available, but not everyone enjoys eating leftovers.
The atmosphere is cheerful and it’s easy to relax in the casual space. Expansive windows modeled on garage doors line an entire wall creating a light feel. Colorful lawn mowers anchored to the ceiling operate as fans.
Long wooden tables and chairs are organized in rows. Near the restaurant’s kitchen is a vintage travel trailer that has been converted into a private dining cab. This booth seats 10 and requires a reservation.
The entrees, decor and service at Red’s will inspire loyalty in metro area southern-dining devotees.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.