The Rapid Growing Bricktown Brewery Quickly Finds Success in Tulsa

By on August 3, 2017

Here we are… seated at one of the newest locations of Oklahoma’s own Bricktown Brewery. The original restaurant located in OKC’s iconic “Bricktown” neighborhood was the first brew pub in Oklahoma back in 1992. Today the widely successful local chain has expanded to 13 locations across Oklahoma and neighboring states.

So what’s the deal? Is Bricktown more of a local-dive or a big chain establishment? They are certainly aiming at being the best of both worlds. So, we went in to take a closer look.

Bricktown currently resides at two locations in Tulsa and one in Owasso. Today we’re on Brookside in the rustic brick building that once housed Leon’s. Much of the old character remains along with a few new touches like the centerpiece metal bar top and dramatic overhead fan.

Along with a healthy selection of domestic and craft brews, Bricktown is best-known for its self-titled beers brewed right here in Oklahoma. Each “session beer” is carefully crafted to meet current state regulations requiring 3.2% alcohol by weight. This actually comes out to over 4% alcohol by volume (ABV) which is common for many domestics, and there’s little to no compromise in feel or flavor. Bricktown, like many local breweries, is looking forward to new liquor laws taking effect in October, but they actually plan on keeping most of the brews as session beers below 5% ABV… refreshing, drinkable, and excellently paired with a variety of entrees.

We’ve tried everything from the lighter Old King Kolsch to the rich and technical Single String Stout. My personal favorites also include the Millie McFadden Red Ryle Ale (pictured above) and the 46 Starson Saison. Grab a pint or order a flight at the bar for the full brewhouse experience.

The sign outside might say “brewery,” but the concept is actually quite food-centric. I’ve shared a few meals at Bricktown before, and we were again quite impressed by the wide array of delectable entrees and sheer volume of comfort food. They’ve got traditional bar food like wings, cheese curds, and a giant Loaded Nachosaurus platter, as well as full lunch, brunch, and dinner selections as well.

Their menu is large and carefully crafted, including generous helpings of mouth-watering comfort food as well as a few more sophisticated plates like this perfectly-poached Blueberry Glazed Salmon, complete with quinoa and green beans.

The entire menu actually evolves every eight weeks, bringing fresh variety of new “twisted comfort foods” to the table at every location. Other entrees like this Cobb Salad are often inspired by local products and national trends.  Staff members like President Buck Warfield are constantly on the lookout for new ideas. In his words, the Bricktown operation is all based on a simple concept: “to build a company that brews good beer and has surprising food.”

Throughout the evening, Buck’s promise held true. Perhaps our most “surprising” samplings came from their pizza oven. We didn’t come expecting such artisanal hand-tossed quality, but both the Florentine Pizza (above) and the Bricktown Combination (below) are truly a cut above!

Each pizza is served hot on a subtly charred crust and accompanied by a sweet and tangy honey pepper dipping sauce that is a flavor experience all on its own. In all honesty, Bricktown is now and unexpected addition on my list of go-to pizza joints, right up there with Hideaway, STG, and Andolini’s (almost).

Of course, you can’t visit a brewpub without ordering at least one burger at your table, and Bricktown is locked and loaded with more juicy goodness than you can handle. They’ve got everything from a basic cheese burger, to a beef/bacon patty Truckburger and this Bleu Ribbon Burger with bacon and frizzled onion (yes please).

In addition to the rotating “twisted comfort foods,” Bricktown offers more than a few home-style entrees including the popular Big Mike’s Meatloaf and Brewery Chicken Fried Steak. Today we’re digging in to a giant Turkey Pot Pie served in a skillet and topped with a large puff pastry.

No matter what’s featured on the diverse menu, you’ll always find some variant of Mac ‘n Cheese, Bricktown style. This is another specialty item that you’ve got to try at least once. Their signature recipe is rich and gooey, with gown-up toppings like bacon and tomatoes (this month is Mexican beef picadillo). From first sight to last bite, this dish is true love — and anything else is Easy Mac by comparison.

After quite a few samplings, we’re full and satisfied — with leftovers besides. According to Buck, they’re always after “portion, quality, and flavor,” and the combination of all three factors certainly makes Bricktown a great value option.

“Casual dining has been under a lot of pressure,” he shares, and the good food, creative menu, and friendly atmosphere are all part of their recipe for success. “We like to think of ourselves as an ‘unchained’ chain … some of our restaurants look alike, but not all.” He says that they don’t overly train mechanics with their staff and are simply focused on being nice and getting the order right… “We like doing it, and we like everyone who works for us.”

When it’s all said and done, we’re quite impressed with the whole Bricktown operation. The comfort food menu and friendly atmosphere is refined and confidence-inspiring. Much of the food is just what you’d hope for from a quality Tulsa bar and grill. In others ways, it is indeed “surprising” with unique flavors and seasonal “twists” that invite return visits for something new. I, for one, am looking forward to coming back for weekend brunch and grabbing another zesty Brewer’s Bloody Mary, complete with candied bacon and salted rim.

Bricktown has ambitious plans to continue expanding to new locations, often converting abandoned spaces once belonging to restaurants like Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesday. In my mind that’s a very good thing. They’re raising the bar across the state, and neighboring cities in Kansas, Arkansas, and Texas are getting a taste of Oklahoma’s best as well.

Whether it’s on the patio with a date, at the bar with friends, or in a booth with family, Bricktown Brewery gets a very confident thumbs up!

About Lucas Forsythe

Lucas and his wife Hannah love food! They combine backgrounds in photography and journalism to share stories of great restaurants all over Tulsa. When they're not dining, they run their own creative "micro agency," providing branding, marketing, and photography to small businesses across the U.S.