Welcome to #CollectiveCountdown. We’ve partnered with the developers of The Collective Kitchens + Cocktails to bring you interviews and info about the 11 chefs and concepts chosen for the soon-to-open Midtown food hall. Major thanks to Okie Pokie and Chick-n-Beer for sponsoring these posts.
When Patton Simpson opens Shaka inside The Collective, it won’t just be for the diners.
“This is something for myself,” he said. “This is where I need to be.”
In addition to cooking for restaurants across Oklahoma City, including Musashi’s, Ding Asian Fusion and KD’s, Patton’s long been an avid home chef. Cooking for his friends and family, he aims at more comfortable fare — which is exactly what he’s bringing to Shaka.
“Shaka means hang loose and that’s what I want to give customers,” he said. “It’s food that anybody can eat, but with flavors that will blow them away.”
He’s drawing from his years growing up in Hawaii and eating at luaus hosted by his family to bring Pacific Island flavors to Oklahoma.
“It’s more savory than spicy, with bits of Japanese, Italian and other cuisines mixed in,” he said. “Hawaii really is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, so that’s what Shaka is going to be.”
Hang loose might embody the ethos of the menu, but Simpson is bringing to bear years of culinary experience in Oklahoma on his concept. He’s worked his way up from washing dishes and waiting tables to working the griddle at hibachi restaurants and heading up kitchen crews. At The Collective, he’s taking all that experience and knowledge and making dishes he thinks will drive customers wild.
“We’re going to have Hawaiian chicken, but with a few of my signature twists to make it a little more modern,” he said. “Don’t worry: I had my mom taste it and she thinks it’s pretty spot on.”
This is the kind of food that is hard to find in Oklahoma, so he thinks Shaka’s blend of unique flavors will drive plenty of people to return to The Collective.
“The Island Boy locomoco might not look like much when you first see it — burger patty, sauce, rice and an egg — but once you taste it, you can’t stop eating it,” Simpson said. “My aim is to make food so exquisite that when you’re done with one plate, you find yourself thinking about coming back for another.”
Though a breakfast menu might appear in the future, Shaka will be focused on lunch, dinner and late-night crowds to start.
Prices will mostly stay in the $10-15 range, though Simpson might have a larger $20 item for those who want to wild out.
“The Collective has so many different cuisines available, nobody is going to have trouble finding something they want,” he said. And with the addition of hard-to-find island flavors, Shaka is just one more reason everyone is waiting for The Collective to open its doors.
Be sure to come back next week for another #CollectiveCountdown, brought to you by Okie Pokie and Chick-n-Beer. And keep an eye on thecollectiveokc.com for more info as the food hall prepares to open.