Steven Paizis describes his style of cooking at the new McNellie's in Oklahoma City's MidTown as "fine dining meets pub food.”
He's serving a number of items from the established menu of McNellie's Tulsa flagship restaurant/pub including burgers, meat loaf, fish and chips, ribs, pasta, salads, appetizers and desserts. The signature Mom's Sweet Potato Fries are already quite popular here, Paizis said. The Landlord's Cottage Pie, made with chipped beef, vegetables, mashed potatoes and cheese, is a pub version of shepherd's pie.
Also offered are a Reuben sandwich that uses a marbled rye bread Paizis asked nearby Brown's Bakery to create especially for the pub, a St. Patty's Melt sandwich and even a Southwest meat loaf sandwich topped with pepper jack cheese and served on Texas toast. Paizis has added his touches to the menu with a grilled chicken sandwich topped with Swiss cheese and caramelized balsamic onions.
"It's a pub,” the chef said of the 225-seat McNellie's, "but all our dressings and such are made here. We use fresh ingredients. Freshness is the key here.”
The Culinary Institute of America graduate has called Norman home for almost a year after overseeing kitchens of some of Tulsa's finest restaurants: Polo Grill, the Bistro and La Villa at the Philbrook Museum. He also worked at Cedar Ridge Country Club in Broken Arrow for several years, where he was in charge of food service during two Ladies Professional Golf Association tournaments.
Paizis, 39, said he'll continue to add his touches to the local menu of McNellie's in MidTown, which opened here last month in the Plaza Court Building once occupied by Veazey Drugs. The restaurant is associated with the Tulsa-based restaurant James E. McNellie's Public House. The pub offers 350 beers from around the world, including beers from China, Denmark, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Poland, Thailand and the Slovak Republic. Sixty beers are featured on tap, and there are organic as well as gluten-free beers on the roster. Currently, six flights of beer are offered, including one featuring Oklahoma beers.
The chef is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., where he worked in his Greek father's Manhattan deli after high school. He admits he disliked the restaurant business in the beginning but acquired basic cooking skills working in that deli.