View Full Version : What makes a Bricktown eatery?



metro
05-15-2007, 08:42 AM
What makes a Bricktown eaterie?By Steve Lackmeyer
The Oklahoman
One restaurant opens with great success just as another closes a business perhaps doomed from the start.
Bricktown's demise has been predicted time to time as one prominent restaurant or another went dark over the past decade.



And don't be too surprised if similar predictions are made when last week's closing of Al Eschbach's Hall of Fame Sports Bar is followed by the inevitable failure of more Bricktown restaurants later this year.

Those same doomsayers will somehow dismiss the lines of customers that awaited the opening Friday of Falcone's Pizzeria and Deli. Customers were still dining both inside and on his canal side patio tables late into the evening on Sunday.

I doubt anybody in Bricktown is really surprised by the closing of Al's.

Certainly not Chad Huntington, who accompanied me for lunch at the restaurant when it first opened last fall. Huntington, a former Main Street manager, has kept some of the philosophies learned while working in Automobile Alley and used them in dealing with fellow Bricktown merchants.

He does more than simply introduce himself to new neighbors. He does his best to also explain the quirks of doing business in the state's premier downtown entertainment district: try not to open in the fall or winter, when business is almost at a standstill, and don't assume you can operate a restaurant as you did out in the suburbs.

And most importantly, he advises, never, never, never think selling hamburgers and beers in Bricktown is a sure path toward riches.

He cringes when he sees operators not prepared or open during big events or when the district is packed with visitors when the weather is good. As manager of the Bricktown Water Taxis, Huntington knows just how wildly business can swing in a month, week or even a day.

Newcomers with no experience in Bricktown often seem least prepared, staffing too much during slow times and not staffing enough when the district is filled with visitors. Huntington also urges new operators to get acquainted with fellow merchants in the Bricktown Association, where they discuss upcoming events, challenges and opportunities at monthly meetings.

The folks at Al's were offered these tips. Whether they listened, or followed such advice, may or may not have played into their demise. Pizzeria owner Danny Falcone is being welcomed into Bricktown, and so far is showing signs he's got the picture. He opened just as the district's busy season is starting, and with a crowd packing his restaurant at 10 p.m. Sunday, he admitted Bricktown is not May Avenue where his original restaurant is located.

For Falcone, the swings were literally hour to hour. Welcome to the neighborhood Danny, and good luck.

Easy180
05-15-2007, 08:55 AM
Al's already dead huh?....Never heard one good thing or any promotion for the restaurant...Sure they aren't suprised at all

Hope we get something solid to go in that location....Finally

kevinpate
05-16-2007, 06:42 PM
And the list of places I dinna ever get around to trying before it was too late once again gains a new notch. Maybe I'll catch the next act.

HOT ROD
05-16-2007, 08:50 PM
I wish Falcones was open before or by the Arts Festival tho, that is one of OKC's biggest events!! and think of the visibility he would have gotten from patrons outside of OKC (like myself).

Ditto that with the restaurants in Midtown and AAlley (soon to be).

We did visit Cafe Do Brasil in MidTown, and it was some of the BEST Brazillian food we've had (and that is saying a lot as we do have our favourites before coming to OKC). I encourage all of you to visit them if you have not already. It will enlighten your culinary delights as well as support a local business (and midtown). OKC does have much to offer!!!

Cafe Do Brasil and Iron Starr in Uptown (bbq was awesome) has become yet another reason for me and my girlfriend to return to Oklahoma City. Can't wait to sample Falcones, RedPrime Steakhouse, and the other venues opening soon. We also want to try the restaurants in the Paseo and Capital Hill latin downtown next time, we just observed/discovered these districts on this visit.

My girlfriend also LOVED the turkey legs from the Arts Festival, anyone know of a full-time restaurant in the city that has them?

BailJumper
05-17-2007, 06:57 AM
Been to Cafe De (not 'Do') Brazil a few times. Gotta say, nothing special there. The food isn't bad, just nothing special and their spicy dishes were far from really spicy. Prices are almost high and the restaurant is unnecessarily noisy.

I preferred their fare much better when they were on Classen as the muffin shop.

I wouldn't go back, but it seems that many times when we are taking friends out in that area they want to try it. They all end saying "yep, nothing special here."

Iron Starr however is quite nice!

foodiefan
05-17-2007, 08:44 AM
Went to Cafe Do Brazil (Do is how they are listed in ads and the phone book) Sunday with my son. . second trip. Food was great, service was not good the first time and atrocious the second time. I had called the previous day for reservations and was told they didn't take reservations. First question when we arrived was "Do you have reservations". . .and it went downhill from there. . .I'll only go again when I can steel myself for the service.

jbrown84
05-17-2007, 08:56 AM
It is DO.

metro
05-17-2007, 08:59 AM
Been to Cafe De (not 'Do') Brazil a few times. Gotta say, nothing special there. The food isn't bad, just nothing special and their spicy dishes were far from really spicy. Prices are almost high and the restaurant is unnecessarily noisy.

I preferred their fare much better when they were on Classen as the muffin shop.

I wouldn't go back, but it seems that many times when we are taking friends out in that area they want to try it. They all end saying "yep, nothing special here."

Iron Starr however is quite nice!

Actually it is Cafe Do Brasil not Cafe De Brazil. And it's Brasil with an S just like they spell it in Brasil. Do a google on it. As far as the food and service I LOVEEE the food and the service has always been pleasant. Several times I have been given complimentary items to sample. There cheddar biscuits are to die for, especially with a little butter on them.MMMM now I'm going to have to go get one for lunch it sounds so good.

Karried
05-17-2007, 10:44 AM
This was listed on Google:

Cafe de Brazil
http://www.mrbreakfast.com/c.gif
NW 11th and Walker

and this:

Cafe Do Brasil

1903 N Classen Boulevard
Oklahoma City, OK 73106 So maybe that where the confusions stems from?

jbrown84
05-17-2007, 10:58 AM
That was their old location.

metro
05-17-2007, 01:11 PM
BUT, if you do a google, far more queries pop up with their CURRENT spelling Cafe Do Brasil, and all of which are their new location. But yeah, perhaps that is where the confusion was stemming from.

okclee
06-22-2007, 10:26 AM
Looks as if another restaurant may be going into the Kingman building (above Bourbon Street)??

I saw what seemed to be construction going on inside at the street level. I wonder what this place will be and how long it will last??

The old bricktown seems a little stale right now , all of the action seems to be in the Lower Bricktown area. Maybe it is just me??

Martin
06-22-2007, 10:31 AM
has othello's closed? -M

okclee
06-22-2007, 10:37 AM
Yes Othellos is closed.

How many restaurants have been in that location over the years??


I have relatives that visit from Minnesota about once or twice a year and they always comment on Bricktown and how many bars and restaurants come and go, throughout bricktown.

OKCGRL99
06-22-2007, 10:49 AM
OK, I might get ripped to shreds for this opinion, but here it goes. I think that some of the restaurants on the canal might be a little too expensive and that might be why they have not done well (i.e. Othellos, Daddy Hinkles, etc.) I think that maybe a place like a Chili's or TGI Friday's or something like that would do good in that spot. There are already inexpensive Italian and Mexican on the canal with Zio's and Chelino's, why not bring in a burger joint or a place that has a wide variety, inexpensive menu. People coming to Bricktown for a high class restaurant already have great choices with Mickey Mantles, The Melting Pot, The Mantel, etc. Bring in some more places that younger people (mid to late 20s) like myself can enjoy and not have to worry about breaking the bank!

okclee
06-22-2007, 11:17 AM
^^^ I agree with you Okcgrl.

I would like to see a Chili's or TGI Friday's in Bricktown, especially along the canal in the older part of bricktown.

Bricktown is an entertainment district and for the most part people that are going to restaurants in this area are probably doing more than just eating. There are the movies, bars, clubs, baseball game, ford center events, soon to be bowling alley, concerts, and people that are spending their money would like the more affordable options for dining.

Rifleman2C
06-22-2007, 12:35 PM
I get it... based on the above discussion, a McDonald's, a Burger King, and a Taco Bell (might as well throw in a Starbuck's) should be arriving in force on the immediately near horizon in Bricktown!


While we are at it, let's put a Sonic Drive-In right outside their headquarters!
That would be the greatest!


Or, we could just let Quick Trip build a Travel Center (Truck Stop) and we could all get microwave chili dogs and 32oz. sodas to wander around Bricktown with!
;-)

Martin
06-22-2007, 12:48 PM
wait a sec... there is a sonic right outside their headquarters!

i'm not so sure that price had anything to do with the failure of othello's and hinkles... i found those to be in the same price range as chili's, etc.

-M

Rifleman2C
06-22-2007, 01:01 PM
wait a sec... there is a sonic right outside their headquarters!

-M


Tada! ... doesn't the Sonic solve the problem? There's the less expensive, fast food alternative for those that just can't be troubled to sit down and have a meal over a period of an hour or more.


My point is this--be careful what you wish for, or just might get it: you just might end up with one or two Quick Trips or 7-11's, or a McDonald's and Burger King fighting it out across the street from each other in Bricktown.


Just what restaurants does the OKC public want to represent that portion of the city, anyway?

Martin
06-22-2007, 01:08 PM
as i stated, i really don't think that price is the problem. do you think that a fast-food option in itself diminishes bricktown?

-M

Rifleman2C
06-22-2007, 01:20 PM
Yes, I do think the proliferation of the fast food option will diminish Bricktown. Fast food in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. Too much fast food could mean that Bricktown as a destination becomes just the same as any other fast food row that has popped up throughout the OKC area.

And, maybe I'm way off base here (and the money alone is the really important thing), but isn't that what we are trying to avoid? Isn't Bricktown supposed to be a destination in OKC, not just another place to run the SUV up and down the streets, looking for just the right fast food to get to the kids for their evening meal?

OKCGRL99
06-22-2007, 01:41 PM
I get it... based on the above discussion, a McDonald's, a Burger King, and a Taco Bell (might as well throw in a Starbuck's) should be arriving in force on the immediately near horizon in Bricktown!


While we are at it, let's put a Sonic Drive-In right outside their headquarters!
That would be the greatest!


Or, we could just let Quick Trip build a Travel Center (Truck Stop) and we could all get microwave chili dogs and 32oz. sodas to wander around Bricktown with!
;-)

Never once did I say I wanted a fast food joint! I was just stating that it would be nice to have something that was different and inexpensive on the canal. Othello's competing with Zio's, Daddy Hinkle's competing with Bourbon St. and Mickey Mantel's, why not have a place LIKE Chili's or TGI Friday's (not necessarily those, but something that would have a menu selection like them) there to cater to more people. Just because I say inexpensive does not imply I want McDonald's, Taco Bell or anything of that nature.

Rifleman2C
06-22-2007, 01:57 PM
Never once did I say I wanted a fast food joint! I was just stating that it would be nice to have something that was different and inexpensive on the canal .... Just because I say inexpensive does not imply I want McDonald's, Taco Bell or anything of that nature.


And I never said you did say that... but I just wanted to caution folks that when you are a city on the build that will try to be all things to all people, you certainly don't need to spend millions of dollars renovating the area just outside of your downtown to make it just another enormous strip mall.

Character counts... in any city!

okclee
06-22-2007, 02:53 PM
How about Charleston's or Louie's??

metro
06-22-2007, 03:32 PM
I get it... based on the above discussion, a McDonald's, a Burger King, and a Taco Bell (might as well throw in a Starbuck's) should be arriving in force on the immediately near horizon in Bricktown!


While we are at it, let's put a Sonic Drive-In right outside their headquarters!
That would be the greatest!


Or, we could just let Quick Trip build a Travel Center (Truck Stop) and we could all get microwave chili dogs and 32oz. sodas to wander around Bricktown with!
;-)

Actually Starbucks already announced a Bricktown location long ago. It will be above the bowling alley in the Centennial building. I'm guessing it will be open by late summer. I'm not sure if youre being sarcastic about the Sonic outside their headquarters, but they do have a walk-up/sit down location right outside their headquarters in Bricktown.:bright_id

OKCGRL99
06-22-2007, 03:32 PM
How about Charleston's or Louie's??

Yes, they would be perfect in that location IMO.

JerzeeGrlinOKC
06-23-2007, 04:01 PM
Maybe I'm crazy but some of the restaurants that have failed recently probably have failed because they just aren't that good (either service, food, or both). I think its just a rotten string of bad luck.

Personally, we went to Othello's and were pretty disappointed at the service and food, although we gave them kudo's for trying. I'm not surprised at all that they closed down, most people I know had the same experience as we did. Food business is tough.

That was just the point, they weren't experienced enough to deal with the demands of the spot (as Huntington points out). They just weren't good enough. Then, I go to Western and see some thriving restaurants, and they are GOOD (like all those in the Deep Fork group, Sushi Neko, Saturn Grill, and everything else). And some are affordable, or the same price as the sit-down chains. If they could get some more good quality restaurants like are on Western, I think Bricktown would be in good shape. And good advertising.

They just need to keep trying with independent places until they get a good place with strategic management. Its probably not about "bad luck spot" or the "we need chains" (ug too many chains ruin the character, there are enough down there already).

JerzeeGrlinOKC
06-23-2007, 04:03 PM
How about Charleston's or Louie's??

Didn't see this post, that would work too, that would be cool.

Rifleman2C
06-24-2007, 03:11 AM
They just need to keep trying with independent places until they get a good place with strategic management. Its probably not about "bad luck spot" or the "we need chains" (ug too many chains ruin the character, there are enough down there already).

:congrats: :congrats: :congrats:

That's my point exactly, JerzeeGirl! Bricktown will become just another 'fast food row' and not a destination if we let it. Fast food and chain restaurants, although safe and predictable, don't show a lot of character.



And Metro, regarding your post response to me, I don't see that there is a 'sarcasm' emoticon available on this site, so I just try to do what I can.

I didn't know there was already a Starbuck's in line for Bricktown, though. Sigh. That's what I get for not living in OKC any more...

OKCGRL99
06-25-2007, 12:23 PM
I agree there should not be a National chain restaurant down on the canal....but I would like a place that as a menu variety LIKE Chili's or TGIFriday's. Louie's or Charleston's would be great! Louie's on the Canal, to compliment Louie's on the Lake would be great!

lika do da chacha
07-24-2007, 09:21 PM
Been meaning to comment on this thread for a while.
-just thought Id mention that the ownership of Al's and Othello's were nearly the same people, give or take a partner.

Is it any suprise they both went down in flames?

They bled them both to death.

As someone once associated with Othello's, Id like to say that Im sorry for the lack of attention to detail. It was like going to war with no bullets, if you know what I mean.

We made a lot of people happy, but not everyone.

My way of thinking; If one person talked away unhappy, it was one too many.