By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – When you walk into McClintock you have the feeling you have just entered the Long Branch Saloon. That is if you are old enough to remember the Gunsmoke television series.
A classic 50 foot long hand-crafted oak and brass bar, complete with a large painting of a nude woman hanging over it, adds that brothel touch, just like in the old west. The bar was the creation of Oklahoma City’s ‘independent carpenter’ Larry Hall.
Renovations have resulted in a chic new west decor with multiple elegant chandeliers blending the old and the new together with a French connection.
One of the most well known and renowned French restauranteurs in the state is Michel Buthion, half of the brother team that owns La Baguette Bistro on north May Avenue. The McClintock Saloon & Chop House, which opened on October 10 in Oklahoma City’s Stockyards City district, is Michel’s latest endeavor.
Buthion’s co-owner, Lindsey Ocker, opened McClintock Boots in the same location, 2227 Exchange Avenue, in 2002.
There is something a little amusing about a cowboy that speaks French, but it was Buthion’s dream to open a saloon in the Stockyards district.
Inspired after returning from Nashville, he headed south to see his friend Lindsey and said, “I’m here to kick you out…I want to open a saloon.” Ocker replied, “Me too, let’s talk.”
On opening night, both gents wore black cowboy hats as they greeted customers. Ocker donned a sheriff’s badge. Michel didn’t. Smiling, he noted that he was the bad guy.
“When you’re here he goes by Mitch,” Ocker stated.
The grand opening was well attended as the bartender was handing out shots, mixing concoctions and pouring whiskies, a house specialty.
Located next to the Rodeo Opry and across from Langston’s Western Wear, McClintock Saloon occupies a large and enviable space in Stockyards City.
Greg Horton of 405 Magazine wrote, “McClintock comprises 6,300 square feet, and when the patio is finished, it will add an additional thousand. The capacity is 264 people, so it’s a huge space.”
We sat at the bar and ordered a martini and a scotch and water as we perused the menu, which is short and to the point.
Lots of meat as you would expect – steaks, chops, lamb and veal shank – but also oysters, mussels and shrimp for seafood lovers. The fried chicken is “the best in Oklahoma,” Buthion says.
Steaks range from $20 – $125.
For starters, we ordered the crispy chicken livers served with both a sriracha ketchup and a cream gravy – a hefty order – and tasty too.
Next, we chose the mussels marinières, which were plump and delicious with plenty of homemade bread to sop up a delectable white cream sauce. Not the red meat item most would expect to find at a saloon, but reminiscent of the French connection.
The friendly folks next to me said they enjoyed the stew offered on the day’s blackboard menu. I noticed that they had several empty shot glasses lined up in front of them. They informed me that anyone who climbs the steps and rings the bell is offering to buy a round of shots for everyone at the bar.
It wasn’t long before whiskey sour shots appeared in front of us – and you get to keep the shot glass.
In addition to the bar, the restaurant offers three dining areas, one in front, a smaller middle room with booths and a longer room with a mix of booths and tables.
In the bar, there’s an area for bands and maybe dancing. And of course, there’s a big screen television for all of those Country and Western athletic programs that Okies love.
The McClintock chef is Roy Green from Monroe, Louisiana; Mikey Harper, formerly of WSKY is bar manager; and Benjamin Miller, who you might recognize from La Baguette Bistro, is general manager.
McClintock Saloon serves lunch and dinner Monday – Friday, and offers a late menu from 10 p.m. – 12 a.m. Opening Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m., they now serve Sunday brunch.
With a great atmosphere, wonderful food and an incomparable bar, I predict that the McClintock Saloon & Chop House will be one of Oklahoma City’s top spots.
For more information, visit mcclintocksaloon.com.