One of the best parts of being in a new city is trying local restaurants, but the reality is that dining in the best restaurants saps a budget quickly. When trying to follow a budget or stay within a per diem, people tend to choose inexpensive chains. Fortunately, Oklahoma City is home to several local restaurants that make the low-cost chain decision unnecessary.
Café 7 has two locations in the metro: one downtown, one on the city’s northern edge. The downtown location is just steps away from the convention center and serves breakfast and lunch; the north location serves lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu features breakfast quesadillas, chicken and waffles, and breakfast burritos. Healthier options, including yogurt and fruit are also available.
Lunch at both Café 7 features salads, sandwiches, pasta, and pizza. The beauty of Café 7 is that the restaurant is that rare concept where you can feed a family of four for under $30, or you can have lunch and a local beer for under $15. Wine is also available. Child menu items are approximately $4.
Empire Slice House serves pizza by the slice for $3.25, and while a slice doesn’t sound like much, it’s a massive piece of pizza. Owner Rachel Cope said her prices are comparable to what you would pay at fast food burger joints. A whole pie feeds 3-4 people easily. As with Café 7, local, national, and imported beers are available, and depending on which beer you get, a beer and slice can be under $10.
Oklahoma City’s Asian District has a large number of excellent Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese restaurants, and Golden Phoenix has long been a favorite of locals. Menu items are traditional Americanized Chinese food, and the portions are large, meaning two dishes served family style will easily feed 3-4 people. For lunch, hit Sala Thai for excellent curry or other lunch specials in Uptown 23rd District.
Oklahoma is beef country, so it’s no surprise we have outstanding burger joints. S&B has been a local favorite for a long time, and the diverse menu includes signature burgers like the Theta and the Elvis, but you can build your own, too.
The Garage Burgers and Beer has some of the best prices in town. Healthy options in the form of turkey burgers and lettuce wraps are available, and the menu also boasts tacos. The house-made chips are outstanding, and the full bar has an excellent selection of beer and spirits. The burgers are the stars, though, and they do them extremely well and affordably. Build your own or choose from a signature burger, all of which can be made with locally sourced bison, too.
For the vegetarians or vegans, Elemental Coffee has outstanding grab-and-go breakfast for $5, as well as breakfast and lunch menu items. (They take care of the omnivores, as well.) Grab-and-go usually features a selection of three wraps or three biscuits, or a combination of both.