Summer is leaving, but not without a fight as these triple-digit temperatures can attest. Fall and winter promise to be busy in the local food world. Once again, here's a little about a whole lot.
Mary and Kang Nhin, owners of Nhinja Sushi and Wok, not only opened a second location at 5 W 15 St. in Edmond but also are going back to school.
The fast casual Asian concept will serve students in the Edmond Public Schools three days. The school system has been a pioneer in evolving the student lunch program since joining forces with chef Dave Fouts to offer healthier, more delicious food options back in 2009 and 2010. Nhinja will supply three varieties of sushi Tuesdays at Edmond Memorial High School and Cimarron and Central middle schools. Sushi comes to Summit Middle School and Santa Fe High School on Wednesdays and on Thursdays at Edmond North High School and Cheyenne and Sequoyah middle schools. The Nhins have three boys who attend Edmond Public Schools.
Derick Jensen is organizing an Oklahoma Wine Culture tour on Sept. 29. The itinerary includes stops at Clauren Ridge Vineyard and Winery, Territory Cellars Vineyard and Winery, Tidal School Vineyard and Winery, Crestview Farms and Tres Suenos Vineyard and Winery. Cost is $100 and includes lunch and plenty of wine to taste. Reservations are required and can be made by email or phone. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; call: 200-9981.
Savory Spice Shop is expected to open by mid-September at 4400 N Western Ave., filling a space previously occupied by a laundromat. Able Blakley, who grew up in the Alva area, recently returned to his home state from Denver, which is where the Savory concept originated. Blakley's store will feature a variety of fresh spice from around the world, all ground in house. Blakley said they only grind about 20 pounds of an individual spice at a time to protect the integrity of the ingredient. Savory will be open to the public, but Blakley said he plans to provide for restaurants, too. You can learn more about the store on its Facebook page, search Savory Spice Shop OKC.
Hank Kraft, chief operating officer for the Hal Smith Restaurant Group, says the Redrock Canyon Grill, 9221 Lake Hefner Parkway, will reopen in October. The perfect storm that blew through the city back in May damaged a neon sign, sparking the fire that decimated the lakeside eatery. When Redrock returns, it will do so with some updated equipment, a new sign and the same great food. Meanwhile, HSG is prepared to open a second Upper Crust Pizza location in Edmond. Kraft said it should be open by mid-fall.
The Good Egg Restaurant group is all set to open its second Tucker's location in the coming weeks, and is now turning its attention to Kitchen 324, what corporate chef Robert Black calls the most ambitious concept with which he's ever been involved. The restaurant within SandRidge Energy will be a seasonally inspired cafe, craft bakery and coffee curator serving American rustic cuisine for breakfast, lunch and early supper to the public. Chef Chris McCabe has been working on the concept and chef Beth Ann McFarland will leave Republic Gastropub in the next couple weeks to helm the operation for the long term. Look for Kitchen 324 to open in December or in early 2013.
Hal Smith and Good Egg aren't the only groups expanding their operation. Flatire Burgers opened a second location in Bethany last week at 6315 NW 39th Expressway. The new location shares the same great burgercentric menu but will operate via counter service rather than full. Also, look for a second Pops Diner across from The Melting Pot in Bricktown in the near future.
New restaurants to check out include Bighead's Cajun Food Po Boys and Burgers in Edmond and Caper's Mediterranean Bistro and Buffet, which marks the return of longtime Cafe 501 chef Nordeen Bennai to the market, just south of Lake Hefner. More details on these new independent local restaurants in the weeks to come.
Five Guys Burgers recently opened its second metro location at 6900 NW Expressway Suite B. You'll remember Five Guys not only for its premium burgers but also for the diner whose excitement was such that she inadvertently created a drive-thru window where one did not exist. The national chain soon will open another store at 2300 W Memorial.
A word on Custino's: Tragic.
Chef Don Duncan, previously of the original Rococo Restaurant and Fine Wine location, is now behind the stove at Bin 73 with chef Beau Stephenson.
The Gourmet Gallery, located in Edmond at 1532 S Boulevard and 2820 NW 122 in Oklahoma City has announced a collaboration with Terry Sinclair's Soup Soup. Terry will offer well-known favorites, but also has created recipes exclusive to Gourmet Gallery. A special tasting is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at both Gourmet Gallery locations.