No one is more surprised that a Phish-themed bar in Oklahoma City is a success than the owners of Guyutes.
Jarrod Friedel and Wayne Perotka started the “elevated street food” concept three years ago. Friedel, who had been working construction, thought the new venture would prove easier than his previous vocation.
“Man, what was I thinking?” he said.
Running a bar is not all sitting on a stool, nursing drinks and watching the game, they learned. Instead, there’s plenty of work to be done behind the scenes — the kind of mind-numbing work most customers likely don’t notice, but needs to be handled all the same.
With a few years behind them, Guyutes has established itself as a laid-back spot for late-night food and drink in Uptown 23rd. The drinks are affordable. The food is sometimes decadent to the point of ridiculousness and the crowd is, by and large, pretty chill.
A bar run by Phish phanatics that’s mellow and a little stony? Hard to believe.
The menu certainly doesn’t shy away from all-hours munchie-induced flights of fancy.
While I still mourn the loss of The Ramen Wrap every day by wearing a black armband made entirely of noodles, Guyutes has no shortage of off-the-wall flavor combinations to sate your food lust.
By far the most popular is Tequila Sunfryz ($11) — an appetizer so large that even sharing it with friends won’t keep you from filling up on its delicious largess. Truly, it’s the loaves-and-phishes of starters.
Starting with a base of gorgeous, golden waffle fries, the dish is liberally peppered with tender pulled pork, tequila queso sauce, a flavorful fine dice of tomatoes, jalapenos and red onion, an over-easy fried egg and cilantro crema.
Is it a mountain? Yes. But you will conquer because it is there. And because it tastes really, really good. Kind of too good to believe.
Do you like cheap beer? Let me tell you about a $2 brew called Red Peak. There is shockingly little information about this beer online. It’s not amazing beer. It’s not the most flavorful you’ll find. But it’s good cold and it drinks easy. If you’re looking for a way to wile away an afternoon, drinking Red Peaks and eating Tequila Sunfryz while listening to the always eclectic Guyutes soundtrack is as good a way as any.
Another killer dish is the self-titled track The Guyute ($13), which includes chipotle-honey glazed braised pork belly on fried wontons with garlic-basil whipped cream, sauteed spinach and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. Does it sound like there’s a lot going on there? Well, there is. But it’s a lot of delicious stuff going on. Braised pork belly is crispy and fatty and utterly luscious. The garlic-basil whipped cream is light and flavorful. The wontons are really there for texture, adding a nice crunch, and the sides help round it all out.
No less complex, if a bit more straightforward, is The Return Of The Mac ($11).
Do you like hamburgers? Yes, I thought you might. How about macaroni and cheese? Mmm-hmmm. Now pile all of that on a bun with ground tomatoes, spicy mayo, arugula and a couple of onion rings on top because why not? It’s already one of the weirdest burgers you’ve ever had, so you might as well pin some onion rings to the top and call it a day.
I have to be in a special mood for The Mac, which truly is a preposterous version of a Big Mac. Two all-beef patties, special sauce(s), lettuce and mac and cheese? Yeah. And it’s good. But be forewarned, possibly even fivewarned: This is a gut bomb. You don’t eat this burger and then run errands. You catch a Lyft home and hope you get inside the house before you fall asleep.
One reason I like going over an old review is that restaurants, like children, get smarter over time. The first time I reviewed Guyutes, I tried a Widespread Panic pizza ($13) and I was…underwhelmed. It was greasy. The crust was limp. I wanted better.
Well, I got it. Friedel said they replaced the crusts, which makes a huge difference. We may pay the most attention to the cheese and toppings, but crust is usually the make-or-break element in great pizza.
By using ground bison, the pizza delivers flavor with less grease. There’s still salami and bacon, which are plenty greasy, but much of it ends up soaked up by the crust. Take your Prilosec, yes, but it’s become a much better pizza since I first tried it.
Hey. Psst. Over here.
Look, don’t tell the guys above us what we’re talking about. I don’t want The Return Of The Mac or Tequila Sunfryz to get the wrong idea. I love them deeply, but there’s a new champion in my heart: The Disco Biscuit ($12)
It’s simple and it’s amazing. A buttery biscuit is pried open and sits as a base for a brined chicken breast that has been pounded out and fried, the way all chickens secretly hope their breasts will be prepared. Then the kitchen staff drench the whole mess in spicy honey, which is the way I secretly hope I will be prepared.
The blend of sweet and spicy, buttery and savory, syrupy and crunchy is a delight. It’d be a swell brunch item, but I can’t think of a time I wouldn’t want to eat The Disco Biscuit, unless it’s right after I just ate The Disco Biscuit, and even then I could be persuaded.
I don’t swing that way, but there are even a few vegan options on the menu, if you’re so inclined.
Whatever the cause of your munchies, Guyutes is a good place to stop. There are great tunes, an excellent upstairs patio, mellow vibes and beloved local DJ Katie Wicks pouring drinks. Add in a menu that has only improved (EXCEPT FOR TAKING AWAY MY RAMEN WRAP) and you’ve got a good idea why a Phish bar is thriving in Oklahoma City.