From book fairs to steakhouses, 50 things we are loving in Tulsa right now


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Apr 13, 2024

From book fairs to steakhouses, 50 things we are loving in Tulsa right now

The hardest part of making the Tulsa 50 is narrowing our list down to only 50 things we are loving and looking forward to this year. But here you go. Keep this list close when you are looking for

The hardest part of making the Tulsa 50 is narrowing our list down to only 50 things we are loving and looking forward to this year.

But here you go. Keep this list close when you are looking for something awesome to see, eat and experience in the Tulsa area.

Tulsa 50 compiled by: Jason Collington, Stacey Dickens, Art Haddaway, Nicole Marshall Middleton, Patrick Prince, Jimmie Tramel and James D. Watts Jr.

Daniel Shular, Tulsa World Magazine

It might not look too impressive right now, but the open space near where Second Street downtown segues into the Inner Dispersal Loop is in the process of becoming “the largest multi-purpose adult playground in the state.”

That's the plan Watershed Hospitality — the company behind The Hemingway, Kilkenny's and Nola's — has for this stretch of real estate at 732 E. Second St. A 4,000-square-foot facility will be the hub of an acre’s worth of outdoor space for everything from pickleball courts to a Ferris wheel. Three bars and two kitchen spaces will be able to serve 800 to 1,000 guests a day.

All that's in place right now is a food trailer, but that's more than enough for people hungry for creative barbecue. That is what chef and pitmaster Nick Corcoran has been serving at Alley Cat Ranch food trailer since March, and he plans to continue to do so as the ambitious plans are built up around him.

Ribs, pulled pork brisket and burnt ends are among the best in town, with Corcoran adding such grace notes as a roasted poblano sauce for his pulled pork and a chipotle sauce that gives his burnt ends a caramel-like sweetness with just a hint of heat.

Brett Rojo, for Tulsa World Magazine

On Sundays at the Mercury Lounge, don't be surprised when 200 people show up for some bluegrass with their brunch.

The Mercury Lounge, 1747 S. Boston Ave., likes to call itself a "neighborhood dive bar by day and a regional, benchmark music venue by night." There's a reason why we named it one of the best music venues in Tulsa World Magazine's local music issue earlier this year.

What makes this place special is not many like it are hopping when the church crowd is looking for some grub. A lot of that is thanks to the Johnny Mullenax Band.

A Tulsa native, Mullenax likes to say his sound is a "funky country bluegrass good time for working folks." He's had this standing brunch gig since January 2021, and as is the style at many shows in Tulsa, you never know who will jump on stage and join the show.

Tulsa World Magazine photo

On the right summer night in Oklahoma, when an evening breeze makes you forget about the heat of the day, there might not be a better place than a rooftop with the lights of downtown around you.

Luckily, a lot of developers have thought about this as downtown keeps getting more decorated at night.

You can get boutique wines, local beers and signature cocktails at The Penthouse Rooftop Bar on top of the Mayo Hotel, 115 W. Fifth St. It offers the only unobstructed 360-degree view in downtown Tulsa at that height, 18 floors from the street. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-close. (Just be sure to check first they aren't closed for a private event).

You will also be surprised at the view at the Boxyard, when you look toward the sunset. On Cherry Street, you get a good look five floors up at Sidecar Barley & Wine Bar, 1515 E. 15th St. If you want sushi with your downtown views, check out another Tulsa 50 honoree, In the Raw Vu. Find indoor and outdoor seating at Roof Sixty-Six, on top of the Hotel Indigo in the Blue Dome District, 121 S. Elgin Ave.

And we are looking forward to Soma, a "tropical Americana" bar and kitchen, that will open in the summer of 2023 on the rooftop of the new Brut Hotel at 1840 S. Boulder Ave.

Daniel Shular, Tulsa World Magazine

New and improved hiking and mountain bike trails are being professionally designed in the woods of west Tulsa and are sure to attract outdoors enthusiasts from all over.

One such trail is Boomtown, the largest downhill mountain bike trail in Oklahoma. Located at Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness, it features a boardwalk, jumps, a 200-foot drop in elevation and a metal "flyover" bridge.

Trails west of U.S. 75 at Bales and Lubell parks were recently connected thanks to a donation of land to River Parks by the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Mooser Creek Greenway has 8.5 miles of multi-use trails that are rated for beginner and intermediate riders. The trails are also suitable for adaptive mountain bikes.

Stephen Pingry, Tulsa World Magazine

Isn't it nice when everyone just gets along?

We are loving the mash-ups that Gambill's Pastaria, 1921 S. Harvard Ave., is doing with other restaurants. One of their regular collabs is with the owners of the former Lassalle's New Orleans Deli. They call it LaGambill's, and the marriage results in offspring such as crawfish ravioli with cream sauce, muffuletta pizza and LaGambill's Shrimp & Grits, made with Italian polenta.

Other collabs have included Flo's Burger Diner, Mac's Barbecue, Palace Cafe, Lambrusco'z To Go Deli and Calavera's (they call it Gambavera's).

There's nothing wrong with that, especially when some of these collaborations grow into brick-and-mortar restaurants. In May, Gambill's Tex-Mex Barbecue opened in the house just next door to the Pastaria, a result of collaborations with Mac's Barbecue. And earlier this month, the Gambill outpost in the Shops at Mother Road Market, 1102 S. Lewis Ave., became Gambill's Jewish Deli.

Keep 'em coming, Gambill's. We feel the love.

Daniel Shular, Tulsa World Magazine

Grassroots Larder is a "treat yourself" kind of place.

More specifically, it is a combination of neighborhood market, coffee bar and grab-and-go eatery offering goods that are sustainably produced.

The space on Tulsa’s Cherry Street now occupied by Grassroots Larder, 1325 E. 15th St., has been many different businesses in the past. Longtime Tulsans will remember it as The 15th Street Wok, a high-end Chinese restaurant. More recently, it has been the home to several watering holes, such as The Pint on Cherry Street, the White Owl and Main Street Tavern on Cherry Street.

Now, the interior of Grassroots Larder evokes the coziness of an early-20th-century store — with tiled floors, antique light fixtures and ceiling panels that resemble the tin tile ceilings of that period — with all the high-tech conveniences of a 21st-century establishment.

Stephen Pingry, Tulsa World Magazine

A California-based soul food restaurant founded by former NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson has come to downtown Tulsa, and it received four stars all around in a review by restaurant critic James D. Watts Jr.

Fixins Soul Kitchen is in a first-floor space at 222 N. Detroit Ave., an 11-story building owned by Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy.

Johnson played 12 years in the National Basketball Association and is a three-time All-Star. After his playing career, he became the first Black mayor of Sacramento, California, elected in 2008 and 2012. Co-founded by Johnson’s wife, Michelle Rhee, Fixins has other locations in Sacramento and Los Angeles.

As a professional basketball player, Johnson traveled each year to more than two dozen NBA cities. He said during those trips, he sought out soul food restaurants because they reminded him of the great cooks within his family.

“BBQs and reunions always featured Grandma Gladys' famous peach cobbler and competitions around who made the best collard greens or potato salad,” the Fixins website says. “This restaurant is an homage to this amazing African American family and Johnson’s broader network of friends and associates by featuring all of their best recipes and family favorites.”

Tulsa World Magazine file

Silhouette Sneakers & Art in Tulsa's historic Greenwood District is a place where high-end footwear, art and community converge.

The store, at 10 N. Greenwood Ave., was the location of a feel-good story earlier this year when anonymous donors paired up with the store to surprise the Hale High School boys basketball team.

The team's 15 players and three coaches all received a new pair of shoes to celebrate their season, which included a 13-game win streak. The Rangers had won a regional championship for the first time since 1998.

Pictured above, Nathan Hale High School basketball players Deon Franklin, Kabron Lewis, Nate Morehead, Jearmiah Cogan and Nathaniel Grace are overjoyed after being surprised with the news they would get a free pair of sneakers of their choice at Silhouette Sneakers & Art.

Daniel Shular, Tulsa World Magazine

Marshall Brewing Co. celebrated its 15th anniversary this year and launched a new partnership with the local charity Food on the Move.

Marshall Brewing, 1742 E. Sixth St., is Tulsa's original craft brewery, founded by brewmaster Eric Marshall in 2008. With inspiration from Marshall's time studying and apprenticing in Germany, the brewery splits emphasis between traditional German-style lagers and more flavor-forward American-style craft beers.

Proceeds from Marshall's new “The Giving Train” fundraiser will go toward Food On The Move’s initiatives, including its monthly events that offer fresh produce, community resources and hot meals from local restaurants.

Food on the Move, founded by Taylor Hanson of the band Hanson, is a mobile food initiative designed to create a collaboration of food, health experts and community partners to mobilize quality food into local food deserts to combat hunger and food insecurity through access, innovation and education.

We raise a glass to Marshall's charitable way of celebrating their big milestone. Cheers!

Photo courtesy David M. Benett, Getty Images for Apple TV+

A filmed-in-Oklahoma movie received a nine-minute standing ovation at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

Martin Scorsese brought “Killers of the Flower Moon” to Cannes for the film’s May 20 world premiere. Shot in Pawhuska, Tulsa and other Oklahoma towns in 2021, “Killers of the Flower Moon” stars Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio in an adaptation of David Grann’s book about the serial murders of the Osage in 1920s Oklahoma.

If you weren’t at Cannes, you’ll have to wait a few more months to see “Killers of the Flower Moon.” The film is scheduled to arrive in theaters in October.

Pictured above are Jillian Dion, Tantoo Cardinal, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Cara Jade Myers at the Cannes Film Festival.

Photo courtesy Tulsa Drillers

The Tulsa Drillers partnered with Church Studio and OKPOP Museum to become the "TulsaSound" for four games, wearing special uniforms as part of its annual 918 weekend.

The TulsaSound merch includes navy, red or gray T-shirts with the TulsaSound logo, as well as the official jersey with piano keys and a guitar with the TulsaSound script.

This is hardly the Drillers’ first connection to music. Longtime Tulsa resident, multi-instrumentalist and three-time country music entertainer of the year Roy Clark was an original co-owner of the baseball team with businessman Bill Rollings. Clark would have turned 90 this year.

Tulsa World Magazine photo

There is nothing better than the thrill of the hunt, and the growing estate sale trend in Tulsa proves that.

The sales are fueled by several estate sale-related Facebook groups with thousands of members. Group members share information about upcoming sales and discuss the value of their finds.

According to many regular estate sale attendees, Tulsa is poised perfectly to have amazing estate sales. The city has attracted a lot of wealth over the years — namely with the oil boom of the early 20th century — that’s been passed down through generations.

Several Tulsans who own estate sale businesses or are frequent visitors of them have stories of their most noteworthy finds — the wacky, wonderful, unbelievable and everything in between.

Tulsa World Magazine file photo

A Lego store recently opened in Woodland Hills Mall. The 2,153-square-foot outlet is the second Lego shop in the state, joining one in Oklahoma City.

The Tulsa store, which is on the mall’s lower level across from the Apple store, will feature a pick-and-build wall, brick specialists and hands-on play opportunities. It also offers a wide range of new products available only from Lego stores and

The Lego Group patented the Lego brick with the familiar tubes inside and studs on top on Jan. 28, 1958, and the blocks made then still fit perfectly with the ones made today, according to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

Mike Simons, Tulsa World Magazine

Longtime friends Shelby Remy and Spencer Snow may have started at Mother Road Market, but they always knew Tulsa's first food court was just a launching pad for what they really wanted to do.

The two opened their first stand-alone restaurant, Salt and Lime Social, at 1121 S. Elgin Ave. in what is known as the Gunboat District, serving up intriguingly tasty variations on tacos, wings, burgers and other street foods, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic margarita creations, in a space designed for outdoor dining. And you have to try the crispy fried Brussels sprouts.

The restaurant is primarily a patio with two converted shipping containers — one has additional seating, the other houses the kitchen. For those who want to bring along their four-footed friends, a dog park area is adjacent to the patio.

Stephen Pingry, Tulsa World Magazine

When Almead Stutts first opened her barbecue restaurant in 1993, she was told that running a barbecue pit was too strenuous a job for a woman.

Stutts has been proving naysayers wrong for 30 years, by serving up authentic pit-cooking barbecue, homemade buttermilk pie and Southern hospitality to appreciative diners who make the trip to Stutts House of Barbecue, 2021 E. Apache St.

While Ms. Stutts still puts in a full day's work at her restaurant, she knows her success is the result of a whole community coming together, not simply to enjoy her food, but to help out in times both good and bad, to make sure Stutts House of Barbecue continues. It's just a reflection of her own attitude toward what she does with her life.

“I know we sell people food, but we really try to give them a little something extra — a little bit of joy," she said. "If someone leaves here, and they have a smile on their face, then we’ve done the best thing we can do."

Tulsa World Magazine file photo

New Kids on the Block performed for a sold-out crowd of 42,000 at the University of Tulsa’s football stadium in 1990.

Chapman Stadium hasn’t hosted a major concert event since.

It’s high time to fix that.

Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Alice Cooper announced a 2023 stadium tour that will include an Aug. 16 performance at Chapman Stadium.

More stadium shows on the way? The announcement that Def Leppard and Motley Crue would bring a tour stop to Chapman Stadium was followed by this tweet from TU President Brad Carson: “This is the first of several concerts we hope to host over the next year. $$$$ for the university, and fun for all.”

For tickets, go to or

Art Haddaway, Owasso Reporter photo

The Cherokee Film Studios in Owasso is bringing the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to Oklahoma.

The 4-acre site, located off of Oklahoma 20 just east of Owasso, is the first of its kind in Oklahoma and Indian Country, and serves as a state-of-the-art extended reality studio crafted with industry-leading software and hardware technologies.

Encompassing approximately 14,000 square feet, the facility features a large LED wall, accompanying edit suites, a control room, a pro-grade audio booth and crew and client lounges, as well as hair and makeup facilities.

The Cherokee Nation celebrated the grand opening of the facility with a dedication ceremony in June 2022.

Six months prior, the Cherokee Nation Film Office became the first tribal film commission to offer an annual $1 million film incentive for productions filmed within tribal boundaries.

More than 28 productions have already been created at the Owasso site, including five external projects such as “Land of Gold,” which debuted at the Tribeca Festival in New York last year and is now streaming on HBO Max.

For more information about the Cherokee Nation Film Office, visit

Pictured above are Owasso Mayor Kelly Lewis and her husband, Kevin, at the new Cherokee Film Studios' dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 22, 2022.

Photo courtesy Valerie Wei-Haas

Justin Thompson and his team have an enviable track record with restaurants, including Freya Nordic Kitchen, Prhyme Downtown Steakhouse and Juniper, which makes the opening of his latest concept, Isla's Southern Kitchen, something we await with great eagerness.

The restaurant, at 420 E. Archer St., is named for Thompson's daughter, and the food takes traditional and new Southern, low-country, Cajun and Creole traditions and gives them an elevated spin. It's expected to open in September.

Along with such staples as fried green tomatoes, gumbo and po' boys, planned menu items include include Justin’s Shrimp & Grits; Isla’s Favorite Brussels Sprouts with boiled peanuts, spiced honey and chili flake; Southern biscuits and gravy; crawfish beignets; ribeye steak with red-eye gravy; a Nashville-style fried chicken sandwich; and what Thompson modestly calls "the best Southern Sweet Potato Pie in the state."

The beverage program will feature classic and reinvented cocktails such as the Mint Julep, Sazerac, Gin Fizz and the Mississippi Bourbon Punch, along with a full array of locally brewed beers on tap.

Isla's also plans to offer the Okie Challenge: eat Oklahoma's state meal and get it for free. It's a 5-pound feast of chicken-fried steak with cream gravy, two biscuits, two cornbread muffins, whole fried okra pods, squash casserole, pulled pork topped with a corn salsa, and a personal-sized pecan pie. But the final menu has not been decided.

Photo courtesy Samir Mezrahi

Hats off to Samir Mezrahi, the former Tulsan who started Zillow Gone Wild.

This popular page, known for posting the most interesting and outrageous homes the real estate website has to offer, has become a social media sensation, with each post garnering tens of thousands of “likes” from users.

Mezrahi started Zillow Gone Wild in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, December 2020. Since getting its start a few years ago, Mezrahi’s account has gained millions of followers — whom he calls “Zillionaires” — across multiple social media platforms.

“It just keeps growing, and I’m having a lot of fun with what I’m doing,” Mezrahi said. “I can see people really enjoy it.”

Photo courtesy Magic City Books

Magic City Books' first adult book fair pop-up shop was a hit.

Crowds packed the patio of co-host NEFF Brewing as they shopped for all the items to satisfy their inner child, such as glitter pens, posters and stickers — not to mention books — amid grown-up libations.

Jeff Martin, the store's co-founder and president, said they are looking to have two book fairs a year. The event will return to NEFF Brewing, 321 S. Frankfort Ave., on Thursday, Sept. 21.

Photo courtesy AJ Stegall/OKPOP

The fundraising branch of OKPOP — the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture — has a face, and it’s the face of a homegrown country music superstar.

Blake Shelton is teaming with the OKPOP Foundation to be an honorary chairperson for a campaign to raise funds for the completion of OKPOP, expected to open in late 2024.

“Music is my livelihood, and Oklahoma is my home — my heart,” Shelton said when the partnership was announced. “So, when I heard more about OKPOP’s mission to inspire and empower young Oklahoma musicians or artists like me, I knew I had to get involved.”

Jeff Moore, OKPOP’s executive director, said Shelton is a great fit for what the museum represents, indicating that Shelton was a kid from Ada who made his dream come true by way of talent and passion.

“Those are the stories we are telling, and those are the kids we want to help pursue their own dreams of making music or films or writing the next big novel,” Moore said. “We want them to visit the museum and leave knowing the sky’s the limit.”

Pictured above are, from left, OKPOP Foundation Chair D. Scott Petty; OKPOP Executive Director Jeff Moore; Charlene Ripley, musician Steve Ripley’s widow; Shelton; OKPOP Foundation Managing Director Abby Kurin; and Oklahoma Historical Society Executive Director Trait Thompson.

Daniel Shular, Tulsa World Magazine

Keep your eyes on Jenks. There is a lot popping up in the Tulsa suburb to be excited about.

Much of the development is in the Ten District, where historic buildings are being restored and new arrivals include City Hall Steak & Cocktail, NexGen Fitness, and Salad and Go.

Situated 10 miles from downtown Tulsa, Bixby, Sapulpa and Broken Arrow, the Ten District is the heartbeat of Jenks. It starts exactly 10 blocks west of the Arkansas River and runs until you hit the old Midland Valley railroad tracks.

Tulsa World Magazine file photo

You don’t usually hear “if you want some great Mediterranean, turn off Harvard and it’s in that strip mall.”

But that’s the case with Saffron Mediterranean Cuisine, named one of the best new restaurants in Tulsa when it opened in 2021 at 3313 E. 32nd Place. Our restaurant critic James D. Watts Jr. wrote the Afshari family earned that spot thanks to the talent that drove people to eat at their last restaurant, Shish Kabobs in east Tulsa, for more than a decade.

With Saffron in the space once occupied by Bangkok Thai Buffet, the family was able to fulfill some personal dreams to have a bigger restaurant. Unlike some restaurants that opened at that time, Saffron survived the pandemic thanks to customers who kept coming back. It really is the kind of place where you want to try everything.

Photo courtesy Rich Soublet II

Some 55 years after it was first published, S.E. Hinton's landmark novel "The Outsiders" reached the stage in a new musical adaptation that opened in March at the La Jolla Playhouse in California.

The musical is co-produced by Tanninger Entertainment, the Tulsa company that has earned Tony Awards for its work in bringing the revivals of "Pippin" and "Oklahoma!" to Broadway.

Adam Rapp, who wrote the musical's book, drew inspiration both from Hinton's novel and from Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 film version, which has become almost as iconic as the original book. The music was composed by the band Jamestown Revival and Justin Levine.

The show's run, which ended in mid-April, earned praise from critics around the country, with one saying it “successfully blends the best of the book and the movie in a richly detailed story for teen and adult audiences. It reveals its characters’ thoughts through song lyrics that feel authentic to the book, while still delivering a cinematic-style visual punch, with muscular choreography and, yes, a dazzling rumble in the rain.”

Demand for tickets was such that the La Jolla Playhouse run was extended an additional week. Here's hoping that success means "The Outsiders" will soon be on its way to Broadway.

Stephen Pingry, Tulsa World Magazine

The popular arts festival Mayfest marked 50 years this year. It began as Jubilee '73 and ran annually for decades, until event operator ahha Tulsa suddenly shut down in November 2022.

Fortunately, the University of Tulsa stepped in and took over.

“We definitely had to hustle,” said Brad Carson, president of the University of Tulsa said. “Fortunately, we’ve had incredible support from the volunteer community that Mayfest has always had, and we were able to put all the assets of the University of Tulsa to work, as well."

Daniel Shular, Tulsa World Magazine

Cricket & Fig Chocolate gets around.

When the LIV Golf Tournament was in Broken Arrow earlier this year, Cricket & Fig provided the custom-made chocolates that were handed out to the VIPs attending the Pro-Am portion of the tournament. And those scones people enjoy during the monthly afternoon teas at the historic Harwelden Mansion? They're made by Cricket & Fig, as well.

Chef and owner Randy Page of the shop at 5800 S. Lewis Ave. in the London Square Shopping Center has earned a devoted following for his unique flavor blends for his handcrafted truffles. Flavors include Caramel Marshmallow, Black Sesame, Peanut Sparkle, Lemongrass & Ginger and French Toast.

And while the sweet stuff is a primary draw, Page and his staff also do a fine job with savory dishes, from burritos for breakfast to sandwiches, salads and pastas for lunch. Or enjoy a latte made with Illy Caffe to go along with your selection of chocolates.

Daniel Shular, Tulsa World Magazine

Maggie’s Music Box has one of the most consistent schedules of local acts throughout the week.

The owners describe the venue at 201 E. Main St. in downtown Jenks as a House of Blues on a beach.

Over the past 12 years, Kevin and Amy Smith have pioneered new venues for local music, from Studio 818 to Soul City Gastropub & Music House and now Maggie’s.

The phone rings now more than ever with local talent trying to find a stage.

That demand is one of the reasons why Maggie’s Music Box keeps tearing down walls to expand space for the crowds.

Stephen Pingry, Tulsa World Magazine

A new edition of Monopoly will replace the board game’s famous streets — including Boardwalk, Atlantic Avenue and Park Place — with some of Tulsa’s most recognizable cultural sites, historic landmarks and time-honored businesses.

The game’s “Community Chest” and “Chance” playing cards will have Tulsa themes, as well.

Public input on the local landmarks was sought earlier this year. Tulsa is the only city in the state with its own official version of the board game.

The game is expected to be on sale in time for Christmas.

Stephen Pingry, Tulsa World Magazine

Pro tip: Try lunch at In the Raw Vu.

Demand for a dinner table with a view and the delicious sushi, cocktails and more at the popular eatery at 110 N. Elgin Ave. in the Vast Bank building remains high.

But if you are craving a Restless Ribbon Roll, like, right now, try going midday.

We've had some luck, and you will, too.

Daniel Shular, Tulsa World Magazine

More than a dozen drive-in movie theaters once lit up night skies in and around Tulsa. Then the golden age of drive-ins faded, and the Admiral Twin was left as a sole reminder.

Good news for drive-in fans: One of those abandoned drive-in theaters is back in operation.

Tee Pee Drive-In, which operated in Sapulpa from 1950 through 1999, has been revived with a retro playground and new amenities, including trailers that have been transformed into Airbnbs.

The drive-in is located at 13166 W. Ozark Trail. For information and showtimes, go to

Courtesy rendering

WeStreet Ice Center is the new practice facility under construction for the Tulsa Oilers professional hockey team, and it will offer space for skating and youth sporting events. It is scheduled to open later this year inside Promenade Mall.

The center will offer room for figure skating, youth ice hockey, broomball, curling and other sports that would be new to the area.

The WeStreet Ice Center, which is expected to be a regional draw, is a 140,000-square-foot facility that will include an in-house pro shop, concessions, a full-service bar and restaurant, virtual gaming and meeting areas for events and celebrations.

Tulsa World Magazine file photo

This year, Tiffany Taylor made the jump from executive chef of Freya Nordic Kitchen — named Best New Restaurant of 2022 by the Tulsa World — to the close runner-up that year, The Hemingway, 1515 E. 15th St.

With that jump comes 10 new items on The Hemingway's menu, along with changes to five other dishes.

Fancy Fish Fingers comes from the playbook of juxtaposing “high brow” and “low brow.” The dish is a twist on crab cakes, served with a remoulade sauce.

“There is a little whimsy to just about everything we do,” Taylor told Tulsa World restaurant critic James D. Watts Jr. earlier this year. “We like to take things that are super familiar, then turn them on a 45-degree angle.”

Daniel Shular, Tulsa World Magazine

Halo-halo makes you happy just looking at it.

But get this: It's a combination of assorted jellies, fruits, candied beans, purple ube yam jam, shaved ice, milk blend, coconut leche flan, ube and pandan ice cream and coconut wafer cookies topped with condensed milk drizzle and fruity pebbles.

And Missy and Anthony Santos of Manila Ice, a Filipino food truck, are happy to hook you up with some halo-halo, as well as many other delicious Filipino foods.

Chef Anthony Santos, is a proud Filipino American, born and raised in Tulsa. Growing up, his Lola and Nana visited frequently from the Philippines and bonded with him through cooking. That bond grew into his desire to become a chef, and that passion took him to culinary school in the Philippines. As a '90s kid with a love of hip-hop, basketball, sneakers and Filipino food, the name of the truck — Manila Ice — is Anthony’s tribute to his childhood.

Other mainstay dishes include signature blackberry adobo wings, sinangag (garlic rice), turon and halo-halo. The menu changes with the seasons and available produce, along with their rotating specials.

Check out Manila Ice, ice baby.

To find Manila Ice, check its social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.

Daniel Shular, Tulsa World Magazine

One of the Oklahoma Aquarium's newer attractions doesn't swim, but it does spin.

A custom carousel, located inside the Great Hall near the main entrance, has marine-themed animals one can ride and is accessible for all. Cost is $3 for the first rider and $2 for each additional rider.

Also, be sure to check out some of the new "Marvels and Mysteries," such as the hands-on moon jelly touch exhibit.

The museum, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in May, also is home to the only exhibit of bull sharks in the Western Hemisphere. Find it at 300 Aquarium Drive in Jenks.

Daniel Shular, Tulsa World Magazine

Can you believe BOK Center is 15 years old?

The downtown arena has attracted some of the world’s biggest touring artists over those 15 years, a trend that is continuing in this anniversary year.

Bruce Springsteen (pictured above) returned to BOK Center in early 2023. Other big shows this year include The Chicks, Madonna, Luke Bryan, the Jonas Brothers, Chris Stapleton and Aerosmith. Fast-rising country music artist Zach Bryan of Oologah will play two sold-out shows in August.

In May, General Manager Bryan Crowe said BOK Center is on track for a record-breaking year and should surpass the highest number of ticketed shows in the venue’s history.

For tickets to BOK Center events, go to

Tulsa World Magazine file photo

Church Studio attracted music artists from all over the world when Leon Russell transformed a Tulsa church into a recording studio in the 1970s.

Same song, new verse: Gloriously refurbished Church Studio, 304 S. Trenton Ave., is again attracting music artists and celebrities from all over.

Music artists pop in to (A) record music, (B) perform shows in a Church Studio concert series or (C) check out Leon's old place while in town to play gigs at other venues.

Current owner Teresa Knox restored Church Studio, and it has joined Woody Guthrie Center, Bob Dylan Center and Cain’s Ballroom as must-see Tulsa music attractions.

A sampling of recent visitors: actor Wes Studi, Foghat, Journey’s Jonathan Cain, Elle King (she has a song called “Tulsa”), Lainey Wilson, members of the Oak Ridge Boys and “Reservation Dogs” actor Zahn McClarnon. Follow the Church Studio on social media to keep track of future sightings.

Photo courtesy Jordin Atlhaus/HBO

If you were around in the 1970s, you know that nobody was cooler than Fonzie.

Here’s who Fonzie thinks is cool: Tulsa’s Bill Hader.

Henry Winkler, the actor who played Arthur Fonzarelli, continues to heap praise upon Hader, his co-star in HBO’s “Barry.” Hader co-created “Barry” and also is a writer and director on the series.

Winkler and Hader have earned Emmys for their work in “Barry.” Each of the first three seasons were nominated for outstanding comedy series. The fourth and final season arrived in 2023. Here’s to a job well done.

Daniel Shular, Tulsa World Magazine

Reba’s Place is a new restaurant, live music venue and retail space in downtown Atoka.

The building is a 100-year-old former Masonic Temple and contains memorabilia of Reba's career. The celebrity-branded venue came about through a partnership between McEntire, the city and the Choctaw Nation.

The venture was announced in late 2021 and had a grand opening in January 2023. Find it at 301 E. Court St. in Atoka.

Mike Simons, Tulsa World Magazine

The Pioneer Woman Mercantile — the epicenter of Ree Drummond's multi-media empire in downtown Pawhuska — recently underwent an extensive renovation and is open once again to receive people from all over the country wishing to have a true "Pioneer Woman Experience."

Much of the renovations focused on the restaurant and bakery in the Mercantile at 532 Kihekah Ave. The restaurant was completely made over, from the plates on the table to the light fixtures hanging from the roof.

The menu also has been gussied up with some new creations, such as the Crunchy French Toast, breaded with a mixture of corn flakes and Cap'n Crunch cereal; a pulled pork sandwich topped with a spicy raw apple slaw and crispy fried apple shreds; a chopped Greek salad; and a corn casserole made with brown butter, cream and two kinds of cheese.

The upstairs bakery offers a wide range of sweet — and a few savory — treats that can be accompanied by a cup or two of the Pioneer Woman's proprietary coffee blend, created by the Tulsa-based Topeca Coffee Roasters.

But the Mercantile is just the start of the "Pioneer Woman Experience." Across the street is Charlie's Sweet Shop and P-Town Pizza, and just a few doors down is the Boarding House boutique hotel, for those wanting to make a day and a night of it. And, if it's not in use to film new episodes of her Food Network TV series, the Lodge on the Drummond Ranch is open for tours.

Stephen Pingry, Tulsa World Magazine

It's an unassuming place at 732 W. New Orleans St., tucked away in the corner of a shopping center at one of Broken Arrow's major intersections.

But what comes out of the bright red, Italian-made brick oven of Old World Pizza is some of the region's best pizzas.

Owner Lily Neal and husband, Robert, developed their recipes and techniques through a long process of trial and error to achieve the bright, flavorful sauce and the crust that strikes the perfect balance between crispy and chewy.

Start with the classic margarita pie, topped only with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil leaves, or dive into a pepperoni pizza sporting a generous spread of cup-and-curl pepperoni slices (pictured above). And leave some room for the house-made tiramisu.

Daniel Shular, Tulsa World Magazine

Momo’s Chophouse brings a little of Las Vegas and some of New Orleans to Tulsa.

“Whenever we would visit Las Vegas, we would go to these high-end steakhouses and know that we wanted to create something like that in Tulsa,” said Ben Oxford, one of the partners behind the new restaurant at 7890 E. 106th Place South, in the Vineyard on Memorial center.

The illuminated menus present a succinct selection of appetizers, salads, steaks and other entrees, which range from a $26 wagyu steak burger to a 36-oz. porterhouse and a 36-oz. cold-smoked tomahawk rib-eye, each of which are $150.

The 36-ounce tomahawk steak pictured above is cold-smoked before being finished in the 900-degree broiler.

Photo courtesy city of Tulsa

Whiteside Park and Community Center, 4009 S. Pittsburg Ave., is undergoing renovations that will make it one of the most inclusive playgrounds in the state, according to city officials. The park was still under construction at press time but was expected to open in July.

Among the new features are a thoughtfully planned playground that anyone can enjoy, regardless of visual ability, sensory processing or mobility limitations. There also will be a fully accessible family restroom with include automatic doors, grab bars and ADA-compliant fixtures.

Celebration Park, 946 W. 21st St., is a five-acre park that opened in April. It features two garden-themed playgrounds, a splash pad and a multi-use sports court.

In February, the newly renovated McCullough Park at 11534 E. 25th St. reopened. It features a pump track, which is a loop that when ridden correctly requires no pedaling or pushing.

Photo courtesy of Noche

Acclaimed chef Sheamus Feeley is readying two new concepts as his first foray into the Tulsa scene: a Mexican restaurant and a unique twist on the concept of the "sports lounge."

Noche, which will be opening soon in the Vast.Bank building downtown at 110 N. Elgin Ave., is described as a "center-of-the-plate, taco-focused restaurant, with wood-fired meats, fish and vegetables," inspired by the diverse cuisines of Mexico City.

Appetizers include ahi and avocado tostada tartare, loaded elotes and wood-roasted Brussels sprouts and mushrooms, and a selection of soups, salads and fajitas.

Entrees include beef tenderloin tampiqueña with cheese enchilada and golden rice; grilled trout with avocado-tomatillo salsa; smoked chile-rubbed ribeye; and Veracruz-styled shrimp with slow-cooked hominy grits with lime and cilantro.

"I want to give our guests something that they are going to want; this isn't too 'chef-y' or so esoteric that no one can understand it," Feeley said. "I want to cook food that everyone can come in and enjoy."

Feeley's second concept, the Super Fly Golf Lounge, will be more of a bar concept but one that will feature the Trackman Golf Simulators, so patrons can work on their games while enjoying craft cocktails.

Photo by Art Haddaway, Owasso Reporter

Owasso is now home to a new $4.4 million indoor amusement center.

Sitting at 40,000 square feet, Airtopia features multiple trampoline zones, a high-ropes course, several climbing walls, a two-way glider rail, a multilevel warrior course with warped walls, a massive play structure for kids and adults, and a three-level toddler play area.

Guests can also try their hands at a variety of arcade games, including virtual reality experiences, as well as host large parties for special events in the building’s café that includes open-table seating and multiple private party rooms.

The giant play park, which opened in November at 12932 E. 86th St. North, serves as the first Airtopia location in Oklahoma and the second in the nation outside its original site in San Antonio, Texas.

The facility is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday.

More information can be found at

Riley Hayden, Tulsa World

It may be the newest addition to the McNellie’s Group string of Tulsa restaurants, but Jimmy’s Chophouse was created with one foot in this city’s culinary past.

“We took a lot of cues from my memories of dining out in Tulsa over the years,” said Elliot Nelson, founder and CEO of The McNellie’s Group. “I had a great aunt who loved Eddy’s Steakhouse — when she wanted to go some place to eat, that’s where we went. I remember going to Jamil’s with my dad, that whole culture of the Lebanese steak house that Tulsa has had for years.

“So there is a lot of nostalgia behind what we’re serving here,” Nelson said. “What we did was bring all these memories and ideas and let Ben (Alexander, the vice president of culinary operations for the McNellie’s Group) and his teams have some fun putting them into action.”

Above, a strip of Nueske’s bacon is wrapped around a 10-oz. filet mignon, which is then slow-cooked for four hours before being seared and salted for presentation. All steaks and chops at Jimmy’s Chophouse come with a choice of potato. Restaurant critic James D. Watts Jr. gave the eatery 4.5 out of 5 stars for food and service and 5 stars for atmosphere in his review.

Tulsa World Magazine file

You might have a preconceived notion that CrossFit is for the young, elite athletes or people with major muscles.

Although there was a time when that stereotype might have been justified, it’s not now, at least not in Tulsa, where there are a number of CrossFit gyms. At these local gyms, you’ll find all ages and skill levels. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to enjoy and benefit from CrossFit.

CrossFit combines strength and conditioning workouts at a high-intensity level. It features everything from Olympic weightlifting to jumping on boxes, just to name a few.

Go check out a local CrossFit gym. The environment will likely be more welcoming than you think.

Nicole Marshall Middleton, Tulsa World Magazine

Put The Top Drawer, 3303 E. 32nd Place, on your list of places to pop in and shop.

It is an upscale designer ladies consignment shop with a regular rotation of affordable clothing.

If you have items to sell, you can consult with their friendly staff about the process. Pieces frequently found include Kate Spade, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and more.

Check out their fun Instagram page @thetopdrawertulsa to get a taste of what we are talking about.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Photo courtesy Tulsa Zoo

In January, the Tulsa Zoo welcomed a new addition to its troop: Zuri, a 10-year-old female chimpanzee from Los Angeles Zoo.

She came to the Tulsa Zoo, 6421 E. 36th St. North, through participation in the AZA Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan.

“We have successfully introduced Zuri to the full troop and have seen many positive behaviors toward her from the other chimps,” said Tulsa zookeeper Mo O’Leary. “These behaviors include grooming, excited vocalizations, embraces and kissing, as well as other reassurances. It has been amazing to watch her transformation from hesitant to open and engaging as a member of the troop.”

Go visit Zuri and her friends this summer at the Tulsa Zoo.

Tulsa World Magazine file photo

This is for all you morning people.

We are loving the breakfast at Neighborhood JA.M., 4830 E. 61st St. in the Shops at Warren Place.

The potatoes are next level, and you've gotta experience the monkey bread. Be sure to get there early on weekends, or you’re in for a big wait.

Neighborhood JA.M. was on our top 10 list of new restaurants in 2019, and we still think this is a sure bet.

So get out of bed and try it already.

Tulsa World Magazine file photo

Not that we're picky (OK, maybe we are picky), but it takes a lot for a restaurant to earn five stars from the Tulsa World. And last year, the only restaurant to do that was Freya Nordic Kitchen, the Scandinavian concept from Justin Thompson Restaurants on Brookside at 3410 S. Peoria Ave.

With chef du cuisine Kelsey Ihm now overseeing the kitchen, Freya is still worthy of all its stars, for its clean yet cozy atmosphere, its excellent service, and most especially its food, which draws inspiration from Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish culinary traditions.

Yes, you can enjoy perhaps the best Swedish meatballs you've ever had, or an excellent filet of beef tenderloin. But Freya is a place where one can explore and discover more unusual dishes and ingredients.

Sample a diverse array of flavors and textures with a smorgasbord to start, then move on to the smoked duck or short rib goulash as an entree and finish off with a honey-baked pear or Swedish cheesecake. Try one of Freya's signature cocktails or mocktails.

Whatever you choose, you're sure to enjoy that special feeling of comfort and satisfaction that the Danish people call "hygge."

The hardest part of making the Tulsa 50 is narrowing our list down to only 50 things we are loving and looking forward to this year.But here you go. Keep this list close when you are looking for something awesome to see, eat and experience in the Tulsa