The old joke about Downtown Edmond is that it’s easy to tell when it’s 5 p.m. — that’s when all the cars leave. But for almost 10 years now, Bob Weiss and his family have been doing their part to keep the lights on a little later at Othello’s of Edmond.
Since November 1999, Othello’s in Edmond has been serving Southern Italian fare to hungry customers, taking its cue from the original location on Campus Corner in Norman. This isn’t fusion Italian or Mediterranean-style food, though there is a variety – it’s classic red sauce dishes.
“Our big sellers are still the classics,” Weiss said. “Chicken parmigiana and veal parmigiana keep them coming back.”
The building that houses Othello’s is steeped in Edmond history, though recent renovations have kept the interior modern and inviting.
During the city’s past, Othello’s was a hospital, a theater and the London House, a fine dining restaurant run by Weiss.
“We still see a lot of our customers from the old London House days, but they all enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere we have now,” he said. “The one thing they kept asking about, for years after we switched to Othello’s, was the coconut cream pie.”
Weiss said they decided the pie wasn’t very Italian, so they dropped it from the new menu, but when it seemed every other diner wanted to know if they could get a slice, he finally relented and brought it back.
A new addition came in the form of an old tradition. Othello's of Edmond has their own version of the Barry Switzer Table of Truth. Switzer, who frequents the Norman location so often that they gave him his own table, came up to Edmond when the restaurant opened and picked out a second Table of Truth.
Even non-famous customers make a lot of decisions at Othello’s and their choices sometimes end up on the menu.
“The ‘Customer Creations’ are dishes that our customers put together and we loved them so much, we decided to let everybody else try them,” Weiss said.
With names like “Susan’s Chopped Salad w/ balsamic chicken” for $13 and “Jack’s Herb-Crusted Salmon with Veggies” for $18, the dishes add a few new twists to old Italian favorites.
But the classics stick around for a reason. While some entrees climb into the $20 range, diners can still get a plate of spaghetti with marinara for $8 or creamy stuffed manicotti for $7.50.
Besides delicious food, Weiss said the real draw is the friendly atmosphere that’s both a great place to eat and a nice place to talk.
“We get a lot of first dates in here,” he said. “Sometimes they’re Internet dates or blind dates, but it’s great for them because they can sit and talk here forever. We don’t rush anybody out the door. If you come to Othello’s, we want you to sit, eat and enjoy yourself for the evening.”
And evening is when the fun starts, as the Othello’s in Edmond closes at 10 p.m. — or later, if people are sticking around.
The original Othello's is located at 434 Buchanan in Norman.