Despite obtaining a business degree from the nearby University of Oklahoma, Rebecca Sparks always knew she “loved the restaurant business and the kitchen more than anything.”
In 1981, that love led her to Legend’s Restaurant, where she fell in love with the business and, eventually, the man who hired her — longtime owner Joe Sparks.
These days, Rebecca Sparks — now the executive chef — can peek into Legend’s main dining hall and instantly recognize half the patrons.
The Sparks’ say that listening to the dining requests of those regulars is what has kept the charming casual fine dining establishment open and thriving for the past 41 years.
The Sparks’ describe Legend’s regular clientele as a very communal group that is weary of chain restaurants, loves Norman and has a hankering for fine homemade meals.
Longtime menu items such as an award-winning beef tenderloin filet and desserts like the popular lemon cream cake are restaurant’s best-known dishes, but like most owner-operators, the Sparks’ like to mix things up.
The large and diverse menu includes beef, pasta, chicken and seafood entrees, salads featuring homemade dressing and ten homemade deserts daily.
The daily desserts are displayed for patrons as they enter the colorfully-decorated restaurant on Lindsey street, which seats 90 people in the main room and 40 in the banquet hall.
Legend’s Times Two is next door, seating an additional 80 and mostly used for special events and catering.
Most entrees range from $10 to $30, and the restaurant also features a large wine list, a full bar and a popular Sunday brunch.
Although new items are constantly added to the menu, the theme of the restaurant’s decor has remained mostly the same since the mid-1970s, Joe Sparks said.
The artwork hanging Legend’s Restaurant is largely the work of local artists. Always one to keep it in the family, some of Rebecca Sparks’ mother’s vibrant floral paintings hang above a baby grand piano by the bar.
Most of the art is for sale and patrons buy the pieces frequently.
11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday
11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday