Sometimes you want to know a whole lot about a little, and others you want to know a little about a whole lot. Herein lies the latter:
Vast, the swanky restaurant concept high up within the new Devon Tower, will open Oct. 24. You can make reservations now by calling 702-7262.
Adding ice cream
Kaiser's American Bistro has added an ice cream counter. Owner Shaun Fiaccone told me he and his partners wanted to simplify things for those guests coming in for ice cream only. As you enter, the ice cream counter is to your left, with dedicated stools and a view right into the goodies. With this summer finally taking a page from the last one, this is one of the coolest places in the city to take respite.
As mentioned in last week's column about the 101-course Culinaire for a Cause, Christine Dowd has been named executive chef of The Metro Wine Bar and Bistro. Dowd made her reputation as the owner/chef of Trattoria il Centro, which closed earlier this year. Dowd and partner Maggie Howell still own and operate Aunt Pitty Pat's Catering. Dowd takes over for chef Rolyn Soberanis, who joins the staff at Big Truck Tacos. Metro owner Chris Lower said he is ecstatic to add Dowd to the team. She is known not only for her culinary skills but also for her natural leadership skills. I'll be taking a closer look at Dowd's impact on The Metro in the next month.
Guernsey Park building
If you've been prowling out behind Cuppies & Joe on NW 23 Street, you might've seen a beautiful restaurant space being built called Guernsey Park. The new restaurant will be the playground of Vuong Nguyen, current first apprentice at The Coach House. Nguyen's graduation dinner is set for Aug. 19, and he hopes to have Guernsey Park opened by middle to late September. Nguyen, who just finalized the menu for his graduation service, said the menu will reflect his Asian heritage but be driven by the classic flavors and techniques he's been studying under chefs Kurt Fleischfresser and David Henry the past two years.
Speaking of The Coach House Apprenticeship program, former Burger Rush owner Kevin Lee recently began the program.
Response in Norman to The Garage Burgers and Beer, 307 E Main St., has been so good, a second location is near completion in Edmond. The new Garage opens Aug. 20 at 601 S Bryant Ave. The Norman location has an expansive bar with video games and Brewskee-Ball in the back, but specializes in gourmet burgers plus a few tacos and french fries served in various states of dress.
Odyssey de Culinaire is halfway home, set to finish Thursday at the Skirvin. Oklahoma City chefs invaded Tulsa last week, combining on a feast featuring pork snout to tail.
Saturn Grill growth
Saturn Grill in MidTown has developed as fast as building permits will allow. Chef/owner Joseph Royer hopes to be up and running near the 10th and Walker roundabout by October. He also plans to remodel his Sweete Memories bakery into a gourmet cookie concept with the industrial bakery in the back continuing to provide Saturn Grill locations with baked goods.
At the beginning of summer, fans of chef Josh Valentine's Divine Swine Pork Bistro were greeted with a cryptic sign on the window, stating “due to life-changing opportunities,” the store would go dark until August. More recently, the building has been put up for sale. What does it all mean? First the bad news: The Divine Swine won't be returning to the location in August. The good news: All is well in chef JV's world. When he resurfaces, it'll be in a big way. Stay tuned ...
If you go in to visit Custino's Italian Kitchen, don't ask for Phil because you won't find him there. The transient chef from Chicago finally returned here to open a new concept with longtime friend Bud Elder, but Custino has already exited. Elder blamed ill health and heavy workload. Elder recently hired a new chef and they will continue to use Custino's original recipes.
A second Tucker's
The second Tucker's Onion Burgers concept will open in Classen Curve late September.
Das Boot CampAndy Gmeiner, chef/owner of Royal Bavaria between Moore and Norman, will soon open Das Boot Camp at 229 E Main in Norman. Gmeiner, who started as executive chef at Royal Bavaria, 3401 S Sooner Road, in 1994, took ownership in 2007. Das Boot Camp, which is scheduled to open in early September, will feature beers brewed by Gmeiner and a lighter menu of German fare.