fbpx

Black-Owned Restaurants in Oklahoma City: A Culinary Journey

Oklahoma City surprised us with its vibrant energy! This city offers a mix of history, culture (howdy, cowboys!), and – the most important part for me – amazing food. From the lively Bricktown to the moving Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, there was something for everyone. There are so many fun things to do in Oklahoma City and so many great restaurants to eat at!

This time, this is Ismail Mpiana, husband and foodie side of our business, @MyCulinaryAdventures_ sharing my experience at some of our favorite Black owned restaurants we tried while in Oklahoma City!

But who is the real star of the show? The food scene. Oklahoma City goes way beyond just chicken-fried steak (although, trust me, there’s a place for that too!). No OKC trip is complete without experiencing its fantastic selection of Black-owned restaurants. These spots weren’t just delicious, they were like cultural adventures taking my taste buds around the world. 

Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

You may ask, why specifically focus on Black-owned restaurants? We’ll let this article on how Black owned restaurants help close the racial wealth gap explain most of it. Despite making up 14.4% of the population, only 2.7% of black people are employed by small businesses, even though the rest of the population makes up 70% of the small business workforce. The average white household makes $215,000 more than the average Black household. There’s simply not enough representation, and many Black people still feel the generational impact of Jim Crow era policies in addition to the current issues (see the story from Scrambl’d) in addition to having less wealth to invest in businesses. 

Supporting Black-owned businesses is a chance to help close that gap. Many times we hear the argument, “it’s not about race, it’s just about good food”. However, if that were the case we would see a percentage of Black owned businesses compared to the percentage population of Black people to the same degree as white businesses and population. We would also see an equal amount of average wealth. However, this is not the case, which shows a greater underlying problem. 

Scrambl’d

Scrambl’d, a vibrant brunch spot bursting with color and flavor, is more than just a restaurant. Founded by veterans Cordell Love and Jacob Williams, Scrambl’d embodies resilience and a commitment to community. Inspired by the thriving Black brunching scene in Houston, Cordell sought to bring the same energy to Oklahoma City, facing significant hurdles along the way.

For four years, Cordell encountered systemic racism and redlining firsthand. Bankers and investors, solely based on the location and income of the area, dismissed his vision, refusing to invest in Black-owned businesses in that specific area. Their response was a reminder of the racial inequalities embedded in the financial system. Undeterred, Cordell and Jacob persevered, finally securing the investment needed to turn his dream into reality.

Scrambl’d quickly filled a void, becoming the first Black-owned brunch spot in Oklahoma City. The restaurant, with its almost tiffany blue walls, is a pop of color, reflecting the vibrancy of the community it serves. They serve creative dishes like Oaty’s Lamb Chops, French Toast, and the Luther Burger. They also have a unique twist on a cheeseburger, featuring glazed doughnuts in place of the bun. 

Scrambl’d isn’t just about food; it’s about creating a space where the community can gather, enjoy delicious meals, and celebrate their culture. The long lines and wait times on weekends are a testament to Cordell’s success. It proves that his vision – fueled by resilience and a commitment to his community – has not only overcome obstacles but thrived.

  • Hours: Tuesday to Friday at 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM ; Saturday & Sunday at 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Closed on Mondays
  • Reservation: Not Required
  • Menu: Scrambl’d Main Menu
  • Map: Scrambl’d Map
  • Contact Number: +1 405-900-5972

Grey Sweater

Chef Andrew Black, the mastermind behind Grey Sweater Restaurant, is a 2023 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef Southwest. He is also the 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Chef. His culinary journey has been featured by some well-known magazines, such as The Wall Street Journal, Wine Enthusiast magazine (50 Best Restaurants 2022), Zagat Stories, and Thrillist. 

At Grey Sweater, a restaurant located in the Deep Deuce District, Chef Black takes diners on a unique culinary adventure through his blind-tasting menus. Get ready for a selection of main dish like Pink Moon Oysters, Pan-Seared Scallops, Australian Lamb Tenderloin with Jamaican allspice, a unique compressed cucumber foam, and Pistachio Crumble with Orange Chai Ice cream for dessert.

Grey Sweater’s menu changes regularly, giving each guest a little bit of surprise. We loved having to guess what we were taking bites off because they only tell you what you’re having after you take a guess per course. 

You can choose from a 7-course ($137) or a 10-course ($187) option, each showcasing his innovative approach to global flavors. We opted for the full 10-course experience along with the Platinum wine pairing, featuring some of the most unique and rare wines in the world. As wine pairings are optional, they have an amazing bar for making craft cocktails to your liking or a glass of wine. 

This 3-hour drive from Dallas was well worth it for a truly unforgettable Black-owned tasting experience.

  • Hours: Wednesday to Saturday; 5:30 PM – 11:00 PM (Closed from Sunday to Tuesday)
  • Reservation: Reservations require credit cards
  • Menu: Pricing ; Wine Menu ; Water Menu
  • Map: Grey Sweater Map
  • Contact Number: +1 405-445-6274

Plus254 – A Taste of Africa

We were so thrilled to find Plus254 – A Taste of Africa, serving authentic Kenyan cuisine in Oklahoma City owned by Chef Stayce and Chef Brian Momanyi. Their menu offers popular Kenyan favorites, making it perfect for anyone wanting to try the region’s unique culinary landscape. 

They even have a Kenyan breakfast option (although we couldn’t find much information and recommend you call ahead if going for breakfast). You can indulge in lunch options like chapati with chicken and a side of spinach and Ugali, their signature cornmeal dough. A whole fried fish in coconut sauce with pilau rice and so much more. Plus254’s diverse offerings cater to every tastebud. 

They even have a food truck rolling through the city on weekends, making their delicious Kenyan food accessible to everyone. So, if you’re looking for an authentic and flavorful adventure, be sure to check out Plus254 – A Taste of Africa!

  • Hours: Monday to Friday at 6:30 AM – 5:00 PM ; Saturday & Sunday at 7:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Reservation: Not Required
  • Menu: Plus254 Menu
  • Map: Plus254 Map
  • Contact Number: +1 405-276-3177

Naija Wife Kitchen

In the same downtown food hall as Plus 254 you get to try a different African cuisine! Naija Wife Kitchen is a fast-casual haven for Nigerian cuisine. Owned by Tahnee, a passionate cook with a deep love for her adopted Nigerian culture. Chef Tahnee is American but married a Nigerian husband and learned to cook Nigerian cuisine and has since wanted to spread the flavors to more of Oklahoma City. She wanted to bridge the gap between the people of OKC and Northern Nigerian cuisine, making her place very approachable to anyone wanting to try something new.  

They offer rich flavors of Nigerian cuisine with their dishes like Egusi, Efo Riro, and Peanut Butter Soup all served with fufu, a staple made from fermented cassava flour. If you’re craving something a little spicy, try their Wings N’ Eggs combo. It comes with four Suya wings and three stewed eggs served over their signature jollof rice. 

Vegetarians and vegans can rejoice too. They have a selection of delicious vegan options, like the creamy vegan Peanut Butter Soup, Banga Soup, and Egusi, all served with rice or fufu for a satisfying and flavorful meal. Just make sure to call ahead to make sure they have it.  

The Gilded Acorn

Located inside the historic First National Center, The Gilded Acorn is a charming French style pastry shop offering a delightful array of sweet and savory treats. This hidden gem, co-owned by the esteemed Chef Andrew Black of Grey Sweater, is a haven for both casual patrons and those seeking a refined experience. 

Whether you’re craving a perfectly brewed cup of coffee alongside a delicate blueberry tart, or a refreshing mimosa paired with a selection of house-made macarons, The Gilded Acorn caters to every whim. For a truly luxurious experience, don’t miss their High Tea service for just $45 per person. It features a meticulously curated selection of finger foods and pastries made in-house and enjoyed in a sophisticated setting. Reservations are required for the High Tea at least 48 hours in advance with prepayment. 

  • Hours: Monday to Saturday at 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM ; Sunday at 6:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Reservation: Required with 48-hour notice
  • Menu: The Gilded Acorn Menu
  • Map: The Gilded Acorn Map
  • Contact Number: +1 405-900-6860

Mama Z’s African Supermarket / Restaurant

Mama Z’s in Oklahoma City is a one-stop shop for experiencing the unique flavors and culture of West Africa. This family-owned establishment, run by Olawale Azees and his family, offers a unique experience by combining a grocery store stocked with authentic African ingredients and snacks with a restaurant serving up delicious home-cooked meals.

We enjoyed the diverse and flavorful dishes of West African cooking, with dishes like Jollof Rice with savory goat meat, the most flavorful Jollof Rice we had, Egusi, Efo Riro which is a rich spinach stew, Meat Pies, Moi Moi, and more. Their stews/soups can be paired with pounded Yam and Amala. Feeling adventurous? Try the fiery Goat Pepper Soup, The Asun, fried spicy goat meat, or Giz Dodo, a dish featuring peppered gizzard and plantains – a true explosion of flavor! 

Whether you’re looking to stock up on pantry staples or savor a taste of West Africa, Mama Z’s warm hospitality and authentic cooking are sure to leave you satisfied.