Oklahoma’s official state meal may be a nod to its homesteading past, but one local restaurant is bringing the flavors of the Sooner State into the 21st century, all while preserving its history. Scratch Kitchen + Cocktails Paseo and chef Zach Hutton, a James Beard Foundation Award Semi-Finalist, provide a modern twist on traditional Oklahoma flavors. From the mouthwatering smoked bison pastrami and short rib burger to the fry bread served with pimento cheese, every dish is designed with local ingredients in mind.
The restaurant’s summer menu offers a fresh take on dishes as diverse and captivating as the culture-rich area itself.
Hutton “grew up eating salted watermelon,” so his signature salted watermelon and tomato gazpacho with cold pressed ginger is floated with local herbs and flowers, acting as a nod to his childhood.
“Recently, chef Loretta [Barrett Oden] at [OKC’s] First Americans Museum said eating my gazpacho reminded her of her childhood, too,” he says.
Pimento cheese has become so popular at Scratch that it was recently added back to the menu and is served with the fry bread. The restaurant is also doing Indian tacos that “are a little classier than like at a state fair,” says Hutton. In-house ground short rib, black eyed peas, heirloom tomatoes, seasonal greens and Watonga cheese (a small-batch, artisanal cheese made in Oklahoma) are piled onto a house-made fry bread for a true taste of Oklahoma.
“Everything I do, I do it based off either something that is influenced directly from Oklahoma history or buying specifically,” says Hutton. He mentions that his team creates everything on the menu from scratch (see what they did there?), using locally sourced ingredients to show off the best Oklahoma has to offer. The sweet tea, house-brined fried chicken, chicken fried steak and buttermilk biscuits are glowing examples, featuring local, free-range chickens, freshly baked biscuits, and in-house butter and cream from Red Ridge Creamery in Lahoma.
“Every single component is within 80 miles of here [Oklahoma City],” he says.
One of the hallmarks of Scratch is its commitment to sourcing local ingredients.
For over two and a half years, the restaurant has “sourced 95% from local, small farms, and we know every farmer by name,” says Hutton, referencing No Name Ranch for its beef and Benjamin Lee Ranch for its bison.
“Chickens come from a gentleman named Mark Hamilton, and produce comes from a good dozen different places with five mushroom farms,” Hutton continues. “But the majority is Prairie Earth Gardens and J.B. Pratt with Wellness Connection.”
This summer, the Paseo Farmer’s Market returns, bringing al fresco dining to Scratch’s outdoor patio. Every other Wednesday, you can shop from local farms and vendors that Hutton uses, as well as Flora Bodega, which recently opened its storefront in the same district.
Whether for lunch, dinner or weekend brunch, Scratch Kitchen + Cocktails Paseo is the place to try authentic Oklahoma-inspired dishes and craft cocktails, all while supporting local farmers in the process. It’s easy to see why locals and visitors alike are making this their go-to spot for a taste of Oklahoma.