I’ve always had an affinity for the old diner at 1220 N Hudson across from the Sieber. Maybe because of it’s odd size, or it’s age, or simply because Oklahoma City doesn’t have a lot of these quirky little diners left. But just the idea of such a restaurant being around in 2011 appeals to me. Sadly, this building hasn’t had a lot of success with good restaurants. Last year most of what remained of the original diner lay out with the old fashioned coffee bar counter was removed by a Greek restaurant that came and went in just a matter of months.
To be truthful, I tried the restaurant once and never returned. The food wasn’t that good, and if I want to good gyro, the Peacock is just a few minutes down the road at Reno and Walker.
The latest restaurant to open, however, is a different story. The food is good, the owners, Bang Bui and Quyen Le, are very nice, and the place feels … comfortable and happy.
As with many first time restaurant operators, the concept needs work. Their Asian food is fantastic (joined by a handful of friends, we’ve tried out several of the dishes and they were all great). But what is a bit odd is to date the owners have shied away from the Asian food that otherwise would make them fairly unique in an area that has plenty of pizza and burger joints, but not a lot of Asian food. The name itself, “Foodies Express,” doesn’t give a great idea as to what the restaurant is, and the sign out front oddly promotes “Asian Gyros & Grill.”
I asked Bui and Le about this this odd choice, and they indicated they had been told the previous restaurant “sold a lot” of gyros (I’m not so sure of that). But they are adjusting their menu and hours, and seem to be refocusing on their Asian food. Now, I’m not a restaurant reviewer. But for MidTown to re-emerge as a truly mixed downtown neighborhood, it will need places like this – little restaurants where one can order pot stickers and teriyaki chicken to go at 8 p.m. without going out to NW 23 and Classen and beyond. It’s a little spot where a hot bowl of egg drop soup is perfect on a cold autumn day.
Foodies Express is a work in progress – but it’s good to see a young couple like this taking their best shot at helping make MidTown the next great downtown neighborhood.