January Food Review: Florence’s Cafe

Dylan DelCol, Reporter

Florence’s – it might not sound (or look) like a top-of-the-list restaurant, but look no further for a fantastic breakfast that will please both you and your wallet. Although we ordered solely from the breakfast menu, Florence’s offers up a sumptuous variety of lunch and dinner options as well, which you can view alongside their breakfast menu.

The story of Florence’s stretches back nearly 65 years to when it first opened in 1952. That little family-run diner, owned and operated by Florence Jones, flourished at its first location before moving to its current venue at 1437 NW 23rd Street. Our decor connoisseur-apparent, Mr. Josh Higginbotham, commented that “the decor evoked the culinary backdrop of Boley, OK.” But enough of the venue, I know you are all here for the food, so here goes:

The meal I ordered, and was greatly satisfied by, was an order of two eggs with bacon and fried potatoes with a side of French toast ($10.75). The eggs were quite good, but I prefer them slightly more cooked. The dish came with a side of (mostly) fried potatoes, but they were a little under-cooked in the middle. I liked the runny yolks with the potatoes, and the side of French Toast (three slices) was delectable.

Usually when you have french toast, its all soggy in the middle and the texture usually puts me off, but this french toast was head-and-shoulders above any other french toast I’ve had. The sweetness of the powdered sugar juxtaposed with the semi-savory flavor of the eggs was balanced superbly. The bacon was a little less crispy than I usually prefer, but I can hardly fault the restaurant for not anticipating the preferences of each individual customer. Overall, this has been one of my favorite food reviews thus far and I can’t wait to go back.

Nikita Lewchuk ordered the Southern classic – chicken fried steak, and a short stack with home fried potatoes. “It was right around $9, which was great because I got a lot of good food at a pretty low price,” Lewchuk said.

Their overall impression of their meal was positive as well, saying “the steak was tough to cut but the crust was really crunchy and there wasn’t too much of it.” I must say, I sampled a bite of Nikita’s chicken-fried steak and it was the perfect golden-brown that I expect from a great chicken-fried steak.

“The portions were very reasonable,” Lewchuk said. “I finished all three and I didn’t get a stomach ache, but I’m pretty sure that the food coma was unavoidable.”

They did have some reservations about their potatoes and pancakes however, remarking that “the home fried potatoes weren’t very fried,” and that “my short stacks were room temperature so I couldn’t melt the butter on top.”

“I was really looking forward to some crispy golden-brown goodness which didn’t really happen” Lewchuk said. “They were good potato-wise, but they were disappointingly un-crispy.”

The service was a little slow, given that there were no more than a dozen people in the restaurant. In their defense though, they were short on kitchen staff and reduced to one cook for the morning.

Despite the somewhat lackluster presentation of food, Nikita ended their meal in high spirits: “Overall it was a pretty good meal. I would definitely go there again. It was a good amount of food for a good price. All in all it was a good experience.”

Isis Frazier ordered the pork chop breakfast. The pork chop breakfast comes with two eggs but Frazier opted out because of preference. Instead, she ordered fried potatoes. In total, her breakfast added up to $10.50.

“The pork chop was rather bland. I had a hard time trying to cut it with a basic knife so eventually, I did have to pick it up to bite it. I’m not all for abandoning my table manners and I’m not into seasoning my food either, but in this case, I didn’t have an option,” Frazier said. “The potatoes were great. I ate them with ketchup and I would definitely order more than one order of it. They were amazing.”

Lily Waswo got the biggest bang for their buck, with an order of pancakes, turkey bacon, grits, and a hot chocolate – all for $8.13.

“I thought it was great!” Waswo said.

Waswo had a better time with her short stack than Nikita.

‘The pancakes were really fluffy,” Waswo said. In addition, she greatly enjoyed her bacon, commenting that “the fact that they had good turkey bacon (not the skinny and overly-crispy kind) made my day.”

“I enjoyed all the food,” said Paige Langley, who ordered bacon and a short stack with a side of fried potatoes “in fact, I was able to eat all of it in under 10 minutes.”

She did have misgivings about the menu availability, however, commenting that “[I was] disappointed with the fact that they were out of biscuits.”

Higginbotham, our teacher sponsor for the day, ordered “an amusee-bouche of catfish washed down with a coffee Apertif” (coffee apertif not recommended for the young of age).

Higginbotham ordered a “Big Boley Breakfast” to accompany his starting dishes, which included of two slices of bacon, two patty sausages, country ham, two eggs, rice, potatoes, and a stack of three pancakes. “It was fantastic,” Higginbotham said. “I had the unmistakable grin of the calorically-inebriated for the remainder of the day.”

He was unable to comment on the price any further than by saying “It was so good, I don’t remember. Altogether it was between $12 and $20.”

Hopefully this has whetted your appetites for some soul food. If so, you can again view the full menu online here, or call in to order at (405) 424-8336 for a little taste of central Oklahoma. If you’re the type to take the food ideas home with you, Florence’s offers its pancake and waffle mix, cornbread mix and house barbecue sauce both in store and online. Although we opted not to take home any of the items, the overall consensus about the pancakes and waffles among our group is that they are superbly fluffy. Though we can’t speak for the barbecue sauce, our breakfasts should give a good indication of product quality.

If you want to eat at Florence’s, the hours are: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-4 p.m., and closed on Sunday and Monday.

I’ve been to my fair share of restaurants and diners from the decadent to the dilapidated, and Florence’s has proved to be one of the happiest surprises I’ve had the pleasure to taste while serving as food reviewer. The sign out front proudly proclaims “Good, County Food for the Soul,” and I can hardly protest. The food I received delivered the wonderful taste that has kept Florence’s in business for almost 65 years.