by Rob Morris
Feb 04, 2012
When the news was announced that the Hal Smith Restaurant Group would be opening a steakhouse near the Warren Theatre, there was great excitement.
Let’s be honest here…who wouldn’t be excited by the prospect? The list of restaurants belonging to the group reads like a “Who’s Who of Dining Excellence.”
Charleston’s, Louie’s Grill, Redrock Canyon Grill, Mahogany Prime Steakhouse and, of course, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill have all left their impact on diners across the state.
But the folks behind Hollie’s Flatiron Steakhouse wanted to raise the bar even higher with their latest venture and bring something truly unique to Moore. So instead of playing things safe with a traditional menu, they’ve mixed in some dazzling surprises to complement the familiar favorites Oklahomans so dearly love.
Managing partner Ross Crain said, “This is going to be, in a lot of ways, something very new to the area. We’ll have great steaks with a true Southwest flair added that you don’t see a lot of. Our menu is going to have a real New Mexico twist to it.”
The result of that twist is that Moore is getting much more than another steakhouse.
It would be a lot like showing up for a blind date expecting to see an average looking person waiting for you…only to be surprised to find Jessica Alba or George Clooney sitting across the table.
But while Hollie’s may be the most highly anticipated opening of the last few years, it is by no means the only member of Moore’s “Restaurant Renaissance.” Construction is in the final stages on a retail center in front of the Home Depot store on 19th Street that will include a Qdoba and Jersey Mike’s. Work has also begun in front of Target that will become the site of a Raising Cane’s restaurant.
And that’s not all. Sam Barnett, co-owner and chief operating officer of Twin Peaks, says his company is in the final stages of lease negotiations to open one of its very unique establishments near the Fort Thunder Harley-Davidson store.
“We expect to finalize the lease agreement in the next week and start construction sometime in the early spring,” Barnett said. “Our store will be about 7500 square feet in size with 800 square feet of patio space, and employ around 100 people.”
The Twin Peaks concept comes across as kind of mountain/ski lodge décor loaded with all the flat screen television viewing options sports fans love. The menu is filled with classic sports-bar fare, from nachos to burgers with everything in between.
Oh yes, the waitresses are dressed in…well, let’s just call them “very striking outfits.”
Then there’s Tealicious, owned by Moore resident Terri Lohman. Located next to the Showplace Market on 19th Street, Tealicious will be the city’s very first true tea room.
“Terri is the heart, soul and brains behind this. It’s something she’s always wanted to do,” says Karla Baird, the Tealicious operations manager. “This is going to be all fluff. It will have everything that someone would need to come in and feel like they can have a little vacation in the middle of the day.”
The Tealicious menu will feature appetizers, sandwiches, soups, salads, enchiladas and gourmet chicken pot-pie. The restaurant will also offer a meeting room, catering and freshly prepared meals that can be picked up and cooked at home.
And even though it’s not at all new, Van’s Pig Stand will be making restaurant news this year by moving from its familiar location on 4th Street to a new site on 19th Street. The rich barbeque tradition of Van’s isn’t something that can be handled in such a small space, so you can look for a more in-depth report about their future in an upcoming issue of the Moore Monthly.
But let’s get back to the taste-bud-teaser that is Hollie’s Flatiron Steakhouse and the menu diners will encounter. You’ll spot the familiar friends; the Grilled Chicken Sandwich, the Ribeye, the Smoked Prime Rib and the Black and Bleu Burger, to name a few.
But the chefs at Hollie’s would like to introduce you to these new names: Spicy Deviled Eggs, Roasted Garlic Steak Fries, Pork Tamales, Smoked Chipotle Wings and the Green Chile Cheeseburger. The staff at Hollie’s is confident these items will quickly become favorites of their patrons.
“These are not your grandma’s deviled eggs. They have a little habanero in them and are served on a bed of our roasted corn salsa,” general manager Nicole Dalrymple said. “They’re fabulous. And the red chili steak sauce is a secret, in-house recipe with a little chipotle in it. Our steaks are fabulous on their own, but we wanted to offer this sauce on the side to give that unique Southwest warmth.”
Dalrymple says she’s confident the blend of the familiar with a touch of the Southwest will be a winning combination.
“We’re thrilled to be here and are very happy about being a part of the Moore community,” she said. “We’re going to set the bar high with our service and with our food. Everything is made fresh from scratch every day. Our plan is to be excellent in every area.”
Deidre Ebrey, director of Economic Development for the City of Moore, has as clear a picture on the potential for new business as anyone else. She says there is a lot of interest in the city right now.
“We had that high interest for a while until the economy went bad, and things just slowed down,” Ebrey said. “Now that interest is back and very high. Whether any of those things pan out or not, we don’t know yet.”
Ebrey says Moore is typically in a battle with Oklahoma City and Norman to lure new concepts and businesses to town. But as long as city leaders can get a company to consider the state of Oklahoma in the first place, Ebrey believes Moore is positioned well to win those fights.
“We have a great shot at signing up to six new restaurant concepts in the coming months,” she said. “They’re all looking and they’re all close to signing deals.”
Some of those concepts are fast, casual-style restaurants, while others are sit-down dining. And for every restaurant that makes it to construction, there are five or so that fall through.
But with metro Oklahoma City area buzzing with a new vibrancy and healthy economic numbers, things are looking rosy for Moore.
That means Moore could become a destination spot for Oklahomans looking for unique dining experiences in the same way that the Warren Theatre had become a top choice for entertainment-seekers across this part of the state.