A year ago, I posted a list of things I looked forward to and hoped to see in the Oklahoma City food scene in 2012 food scene. So now it's time to review.
First up was the opening of Local, which turned out to be one of the coolest things that happened in 2012. Chef Ryan Parrott left the kitchen at Iguana Mexican Grill to help open this ambitious Norman concept with sisters Melissa Scaramucci, Heather Steele and Abby Clark. The fledgling restaurant has endured typical growing pains and Normancentric growing pains, but the future looks bright for this farm-to-form restaurant that features a seasonal menu, lots of square-footage, an area just for kids and an approachable, affordable menu.
Staying in Norman, there was the arrival of the Austin, Texas-based chain Chuy's Tex-Mex Cafe. The place has been a resounding success, and units for Oklahoma City proper and Edmond can't be far behind. When this growth occurs, current Tex-Mex purveyors will be on notice to elevate or be eliminated.
I wrote that I wished to see the locavore movement spread beyond the true believers: Thanks to the foundation of champions for local and the Whole Foods effect, more people are using local than they have since they had no other choice. That's refreshing. The next step is for our local producers to fortify distribution. Currently, we have the Oklahoma Food Cooperative and a string of county-by-county farmers markets, which have served us well. Growth and cooperation will make things even better for both vendor and customer.
I was also hoping street food growth would expand, and it has. Once upon a time, Bobo's Chicken and a fleet of nearly anonymous taco trucks south of downtown were your best options for late-night street food. The H&8th get-togethers during warm months have succeeded in developing demand for an organized effort to gather and sup after hours. Waffle Champion has been so successful that a bricks-and-mortar location is now in the works. Heo's Kitchen and Taste of Soul Egg Roll have fortified the work of Big Truck Tacos. So, there's a little growth, but I would love to see even more.