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Food Dude: Oklahoma is brimming with food news

The Food Dude Dave Cathey shares news and notes from around the Oklahoma City metro area.
by Dave Cathey Published: January 11, 2012

A lot is going on upon the local foodscape, and here are some tidbits of interest.

In December, restaurant reservation website released its Diners' Choice Awards for the top 100 best restaurants in the United States. The list was derived from more than 10 million reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for more than 12,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Two Oklahoma restaurants made the list: The Metro Wine Bar and Bistro and The Coach House. The list is based on feedback from website users. The Metro, which is owned by restaurateur Chris Lower, ranked highest in the state. Second was Western Concepts' property The Coach House, which is the playground of chef Kurt Fleischfresser. Lower founded The Coach House in 1986. He hired Fleischfresser in 1988. The two opened The Metro as partners later that year and went on to open many concepts together through the 1990s. The two are still partners in Irma's Burger Shack.

“I think it's really cool that two Oklahoma City restaurants would make a list with such great restaurants,” Lower said.

Fleischfresser agreed, “It's an honor to be mentioned with such great restaurants across the country, and it shows how far Oklahoma City dining has come.”

The list includes iconic restaurants such as Le Bernardin in New York and Thomas Keller's The French Laundry in California's wine country.

Longtime Oklahoma City chef John DiGiovanni died in November, and his wife, Amber, is determined to create a scholarship at Oklahoma State University in his honor.

DiGiovanni was chef of 72nd Street Grill and DiGiovanni's at Skirvin Place. He was named “Chef of the City” in 1989 and worked as a corporate chef and consultant while acting as mentor to many young chefs during his career in Oklahoma City. He also was a regular on local radio and television for more than 20 years.

Amber, who now lives in Kansas City, is seeking donations to vest the scholarship.

To donate to the scholarship, make checks out to the OSU Foundation; in the memo line write: John DiGiovanni Scholarship Fund. You may also donate online. Go to, click “Give Now,” or you may call (800) 622-4678.

As the great Devon tower soaring high above downtown nears completion, you can bet there will be some places to eat within. Word is a food court and at least two new restaurants are due, including a new eatery in the Colcord and one 50-plus stories in the sky.

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