Named for Dr. Wyatt H. Slaughter, the 1920 building was once a hub for music in Oklahoma City’s historic Deep Deuce district. Today, live jazz is back at Slaughter’s Hall on Tuesday nights, and Chef Johnathon Groth serves up some of the best sandwiches and comfort food in the city. All the meats are cured in house, so the Reuben and the pastrami (The Max) taste like real deli sandwiches.
Before you get to the sandwiches, though, try the hummus trio. The traditional and red pepper hummus are delicious, but Groth also includes a chipotle hummus that is simply too delicious to be believed. Also on the appetizer menu is another Oklahoma specialty: fried pickles. The dish is a standard all over the state, and in one bite, you will understand why.
Another house specialty at Slaughter’s is the mac & cheese. There are four on the menu, but try the BBQ Mac & Cheese without fail. Served with pulled pork and hickory sauce, there is enough here to share. That pulled pork shows up on the sandwich menu too in the form of the Carolina Porker. Oklahoma City tends to have barbecue styles more in line with Fort Worth or Kansas City, so the Carolina mustard sauce is a nice, tangy change of pace.
Slaughter’s Hall has a full bar with an excellent selection of domestic, imported and local beers. The east-facing patio is also shaded from sun most of the day, so dining al fresco is very pleasant. They are open daily at 11 a.m., and close at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Urban Johnnie Bar & Grill
Named for the father of the proprietors, Urban Johnnie is one of the city’s most visually striking restaurants. Built into the Level Apartments, Urban Johnnie has private, covered parking—a rarity anywhere downtown—patio dining, and plenty of seating in their two-story facility. The owners have one of the largest burger chains in Oklahoma (Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler), so the burgers here are excellent. They’ve been making burgers for nearly fifty years, after all.
For a food group that specializes in beef, the Haynes brothers have always been sympathetic to the cause of vegans and vegetarians, too. You will find an excellent selection of fresh salads, including the kale salad, served with lemon and roasted garbanzo beans, and a genuinely delicious veggie onion burger. If you’re new to Oklahoma, onion burgers started here, so it’s critical that all burger places be able to do one properly. And since burgers and fries are inseparable, the cheese fries at Urban Johnnie are outstanding, and because it’s Oklahoma, they are served with ranch dressing.
There are several entrees and sandwiches to choose between, and the pot roast is an easy yes. The beef is cooked until it’s falling apart, and then served with seasonal vegetables and mashed potatoes. It’s the Sunday supper we rushed home from church to eat when we were kids. Urban Johnnie also has a full bar that includes an excellent selection of affordable wines and local beers.
Urban Johnnie is open Monday through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. They are closed Sunday.
The Wedge, Deep Deuce
The Wedge was the first wood-fired pizza joint in Oklahoma City, but that was the original sister store, still open on N. Western. The Deep Deuce location came years later, but they make the same fantastic pizzas and appetizers. More than wood-fired pizzas, though, what The Wedge did right from the beginning was create delicious food for vegans and vegetarians, as well as those who need a gluten-free diet.
Start with the appetizers for sure. The Wedge Trio is a local favorite, a combination of red pepper hummus, roasted artichoke heart dip and kalamata olive tapenade. The meatballs are outstanding, so you can get them as an appetizer or on your pizza (The American Pie), or both. The Wedge has excellent salads, too, especially the signature salad and The Beet Goes On, a combination of roasted beets, oranges, reggiano, olive oil and herbs.
The pies are some of the city’s favorites, and that’s largely because everything is made fresh daily from scratch. They are popular locally because of their creativity, too. You can build your own pizza if you like, but the signature pies at The Wedge are quirky, creative and delicious. The Truffle-Shuffle is an amazing blend of truffle oil, mushrooms, spinach, roasted chicken and two cheeses. The Wedge could be accuse of hubris for calling their margherita pizza “The Perfect Margherita,” except it’s both true and a play on words. Simple, fresh, interesting ingredients and a wood-fired oven are all that’s required to make delicious pizza.
The Deep Deuce Location has a full bar and handmade Italian sodas. The Wedge opens at 11 a.m. every day except Sunday (10:30 a.m.), and closes at 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Author: Greg Horton