When it comes to planning family fun, seeking new swag at locally-owned shops and trying the best in OKC eats, metro moms are always our best resource. The events of 2020 have made it even more important to support local businesses and restaurants, and these families were eager to share how they’ve done just that. Check out these local moms’ favorites.
Northeast OKC: Whitaker family
While being quarantined at home, I found myself needing a break from preparing meals and ordering the usual takeout. Through casual conversation, I found a new favorite locally-owned restaurant: Papa Dino’s Pizza & Grill. It is simply amazing!
Through this pandemic, I’ve also had to re-learn how much fun it is to simply be outside. Looking at smart devices and watching television gets old … fast! Riding my bike was something I took for granted. So much so, I couldn’t even tell you the location of my own bike, so I have borrowed my mom’s bike in order to enjoy the cool breeze on a warm day. I love getting outside with my son and enjoying Mother Nature while nibbling on Papa Dino’s!
Jillian Whitaker is mom of Janori (2) and a news reporter and founder of Better Black News.
Midtown & Uptown: Lawrence family
As a small-business family living in the heart of Oklahoma City, we LOVE to champion other local businesses in the community. Our very favorite thing about OKC is the small neighborhood vibe right in the middle of a big thriving city, and the options for families are extensive.
One of our favorite neighbors and local businesses that we love to support is Commonplace Bookstore in Midtown, which hosts our favorite Storytime for Littles every Saturday morning. Sweet Yield Studio on Film Row is where both of our babies (and their momma) take ballet, hiphop and creativity classes. We love Theatre Camp at Oklahoma Children’s Theatre at Oklahoma City University, and our kids have created some incredibly cool things during art camp at Oklahoma Contemporary (we can’t wait to see the new location!)
We love biking at beautiful Scissortail Park and cheering for our home team at OKC Dodgers games (we can’t wait for baseball to be back). Our favorite local eats are Plant in Midtown (healthy and delicious!), PlayCafe on 23rd (super cool concept!) and Tuckers Onion Burgers or Pizzeria Gusto in Uptown. Oklahoma City does community well and we’re so thankful to be a part of it.
Erin and Justin Lawrence are parents of Jackson (6) and Charlie (4) and live in Mesta Park. They own Oklahoma Shirt Company.
Asian & Plaza Districts: Arrendondo family
One of our favorite places to visit as a family is right in the heart of OKC … Cafe Kacao! We absolutely love their Guatemalan and Latin cuisine dishes. They offer unique and delicious flavors in their menu, full of heritage and culture. Located off 33rd and Classen in the Asian District, we’ve been happy to support them through COVID-19 as they have been open for curbside and pick-up orders and their customer service is still one of the best!
Another local area we love to support as a family is the Plaza District. We love to visit The Mule to dine outside on their patio. Then, we like to hop over to grab some ice cream from Roxy’s Ice Cream Social.
Gardenia and Diego Arredondo are parents of Alayna (11), Diego Jr. (5) and Gianluca (1). Gardenia is a lead teacher at Special Care.
Central OKC: Shahan family
Our family adores being outdoors, which has been extra convenient throughout this time of social distancing. Our favorite is Scissortail Park, where we stop by the food trucks to get a snack or drink, then let the kids run around the fenced in and truly unique playground area.
Very nearby is Myriad Botanical Gardens, which is not only beautiful (perfect low-key family photo opps!), but they always have fun family activities. Our favorite is Pumpkinville in the fall. Plus, there’s a carousel, so that’s always a win!
When we aren’t roaming around outside, we love museums. Our favorites are Sam Noble Museum of Natural History, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and Science Museum Oklahoma.
We love finding restaurants where our kids can be kids and we get to enjoy delicious food. Ingrid’s Kitchen provides fantastic German cuisine, delicious pastries and if you’re lucky you’ll catch the live polka music (so fun!) The Jones Assembly offers great options for cocktails, appetizers and desserts and a patio with live music, making it a unique environment for fine dining with a laid-back atmosphere to enjoy dinner as a family.
Aly and Adam Shahan are parents of Micah (9) and Peyton (6). Aly is associate director of the Wesley Foundation campus ministry at Oklahoma State University.
Piedmont: Hopkins family
Piedmont is located in such a quaint district but it’s also an up-and-coming city growing at a rapid rate with impressive Blue Ribbon Schools.
Our Piedmont family loves the savory tastes of Sharp’s, a hometown BBQ classic located in the heart of the business district. Just nearby, A Latte Love has grown into a brick and mortar coffee shop after originating inside a food truck. Most recently, Big Buns Bakery and Blast Nutrition (a shake/tea shop) have opened in our community.
For a little shopping, travel down the road to find the historic Old Store, which is open to vendors and antique lovers state wide. Plus, there is a wide variety of local boutiques to assist you with all of your shopping needs, including Mirror Mirror, Wild Rose and the Trendy Sister to name a few.
Robyn and Courtney Hopkins are parents of Linden (5), Lennox (4), Zayne (19 months) and Luxe (6 months). Robyn is owner and managing attorney of Hopkins Law and Associates, P.C. and Courtney, MSN, is a registered nurse.
Norman: Latimer family
As a commuter (pre-COVID), I get to enjoy the best of both worlds — all the Oklahoma City entertainment, food and shops and the perks of living in a college town. Norman is home to my favorite locally-owned restaurant, Victoria’s Pasta Shop. My husband and I have been patrons since our undergrad college days, and I swear the food and drinks have only gotten better with time.
Victoria’s has been around for more than 30 years, and their commitment to quality and community will keep us coming back for family gatherings and date nights for 30 more.
Skye and Millard Latimer are parents of Kal (age 1). Skye is director of marketing and business development at Folded Owl.
Norman: Porter family
It’s a given to think about Norman and the University of Oklahoma. But rest assured, there is a lot more to the town we’ve called home for more than 20 years. When our daughter was younger, we were regulars at the Sam Noble Museum, Gymboree, the library and Duck Pond.
Now that our daughter is a teenager, we enjoy Campus Corner across the street from OU’s campus. Lucca, Blush and Savvy have trendy, youthful clothes, and we always stop into Pepe Delgado’s for authentic southern Mexican fare where everything is made fresh daily. Apple Tree Chocolate has caramel apples and loads of chocolate treats if we have room for a goodie. And, rounding out the day with a stop at Joe’s Nails is the perfect way to enjoy our hometown — together.
Renee and Chris Porter are parents to Ellie (15). Renee is co-founder of Scissortail Community Development Corporation.