Scottie’s Deli: OKCityCard Featured Partner

Scottie's Outside Shot (Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman)
Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Today’s featured partner is Scottie’s Deli, an Oklahoma City delicatessen that was founded on the three principles of passion, craftsmanship and quality. Nurturing a mix of traditional and modern Jewish, German, and Italian culinary influences, Owner Eric Fossett and Chef Jake Red Elk create a variety of menu options crafted from scratch. Fossett took the time to provide insight into the tradition and innovation that helps Scottie’s thrive:

You opened Scottie’s Deli in late 2017 after transitioning from a career in the oil industry. What attracted you to entrepreneurship as a restaurant owner?

There really are several factors that led to opening Scottie’s Deli. 1.) My family had sandwich shops in northern California when I was growing up, so sandwiches are a large part of my history. 2.) I have long had a love of great food and scratch cooking and 3.) When I moved to Oklahoma City in 2014 I noticed there was not a traditional style deli like I was used to in other big cities I had lived in (Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Houston).

So, when I found myself looking for my next venture after the oil downturn, the idea that immediately came to mind was to open a deli.  I spent the next few months exploring all my options but kept coming back to the deli concept, and specifically, the deli concept in Oklahoma City. I felt it was the right time and place for several reasons: first and foremost is the sense of community I had experienced here. Second was the exciting growth I had seen since moving here, and lastly was the idea of sharing my passion for high quality food.

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Why did you decide to base your deli concept on a variety of ethnic food traditions?

Delicatessen is a German loanword which first appeared in English in 1889 and is the plural of Delikatesse.  In German it was originally a French loanword, délicatesse, meaning “delicious things (to eat).”  The first Americanized short version of this word, deli, came into existence c. 1954.

The delicatessen is a large part of American history, and we are trying to embrace that while also providing a modern take on it.  As Jewish, Italian, German, Greek, etc. immigrants moved to America, they brought their cooking traditions with them and opened stores in their neighborhoods, or delicatessens. As cities and technology grew, the need for the neighborhood delicatessen started to wane, to the point that there are few remaining delis – yet every big city still has them. With that in mind, I decided not to do a strictly Jewish, or solely Italian-style deli but instead opted to embrace the concept and importance they all played in American history to just call it an American Deli.  Overall, we don’t feel we are basing the concept on ethnic food traditions as much as incorporating classic deli food traditions.

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You partner with Chef Jake Red Elk to prepare all meals from scratch. How do you incorporate creativity in your offerings?

Chef Jake Red Elk (from Florida and formerly of Mary Eddys, KDs, Mahogany, etc.) and I try to honor the traditional deli foods, such as the Reuben and Pastrami (brined and smoke in-house), but put our spin on the dishes. For instance, we add a little more smoke to the Pastrami than your typical East Coast deli and we use our house-made whole grain mustard instead of the traditional yellow mustard. Beyond the standard deli offerings, we just have a passion and love for tasty foods, so we frequently experiment with our ingredients and flavors. I have a standing challenge to my employees to experiment and create new dishes. We also frequently travel and look for inspiration in foods of other cities. Basically, what it comes down to is a staff that is passionate about food, committed to doing things right, and knowledgeable and interested in creating delicious food.

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Why do you support Allied Arts through participation in the OKCityCard Partnership?

Community is probably the largest reason I decided to open up shop in Oklahoma City, so any opportunity to partner with a group bringing such positive energy to the community is essential to us. Allied Arts is such a monumental force in our community that any support we can offer to help them enrich our community through arts is considered an honor for us.

What do the arts mean to you? Why are the culinary arts important for our community?

To me, the Arts, in a broad sense, represent the human experience, past, present and possibly future if you subscribe to the “life imitating art” concept. Art, as a whole reflect the times, the culture, the history, the beliefs, the mood of a people. I don’t believe it is a coincidence that much of what we know from past civilizations was learned through their art and the culinary arts are no exception. Many of the foods we all cook were passed down through at least a few generations, likely from recipes from their homelands that had to be changed based on local availability of ingredients. The dishes would also vary based on nationality. As we are starting to see in our modern culture, and as I’m sure was true in the past with immigration and integration of cultures, you see fusion and new foods being created. So, to me, where I see the importance of culinary arts is really two-fold: it is a preservation of our roots and our pasts, but it also represents our growth and integration as a society. 

Scottie's Owner Photo (by The Oklahoman's Jim Beckel)
Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Scottie’s Deli is located at  427 NW 23rd St, OKC 73103. You can reach the deli at (405) 604-8940 and on their website at www.scottiesdeliokc.com. Follow them on social @ScottiesDeliOKC. Scottie’s offers a free cookie with the purchase of an entrée using your OKCityCard. 

Junction Coffee: OKCityCard Featured Partner

Our featured partner this week is Junction Coffee, a creative, charming, and community-oriented coffee shop housed in a double-decker bus and owned by husband-wife team Nick and Lori Bollinger. 

We visited the mobile shop stopped at Kerr Park in downtown OKC to chat with Nick about the bus, the business, and his thoughts on creativity and community. 

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You and Lori started out as youth pastors in Oklahoma City. How did you become inspired to start Junction Coffee?

As youth pastors, we valued the relationships that could be built through worship. Our original idea was to start a brick-and-mortar coffee shop because we felt inspired to create a space that could foster a similar expression through a neutral platform that appealed to all walks of life. We envisioned a coffee business that could make people feel comfortable, valued, important, and loved, and realized that a mobile shop was a more responsible financial undertaking. Around that time, we came across a double-decker bus at a mechanic’s shop on West Reno. The mechanic, who had been trained overseas, connected us to a company based out of the UK that located a bus and helped us ship it over. 

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The double-decker can drive up to 45 mph

What drives your enthusiasm as entrepreneurs?

It is really fun. Also, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves through the experience. While Lori likes a little more structure, I thrive on situations that involve borderline chaos. To have an occupation that is fluid on a daily basis is exciting. For example, I found out this morning that there was a bolt that had broken on the bus engine, so I’ve been running around opening up bus panels to fix the issue. I get a little bit giddy when there is a new challenge or new puzzle to fix.

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Level 2 is perfect for relaxing with coffee and friends

How do you select your coffee offerings?

When we started, we wanted to make sure that we supported Oklahoma businesses as much as we could instead of bringing coffees in from other parts of the country. Because we value good relationships, we tend to favor local roasters that also value this. And, since our bus moves to different locations, our base menu is kept consistent to stay anchored for our customers. We have great relationships with Mariposa, EÔTÉ, and also have a great relationship with our Civic Center location. This helps us support local businesses, serve a great product, and foster relationships with good friends. 

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View of the bus kitchen

Why do you think the arts are important for our community?

For one thing, if nothing were different, everything would be the same. That seems simple, but fostering creativity and artistic expression in multiple ways adds depth to the human experience and helps us understand how we connect with one another. There is a broad spectrum, and if we confine it to one outlet, we miss ways to appreciate beauty and to learn how we can better ourselves.

Recently, Lori and I were excited to buy our first piece of art together at an auction for Jubilee Partners nonprofit. We were thrilled and talked about it for hours. The artist captured an intimate moment of a performer backstage resting after an exhausting number and it is beautiful and effective. 

Junction Coffee is typically parked at the Civic Center Music Hall on Tuesdays, St. Anthony’s Hospital (9th and Walker) on Wednesdays, Kerr Park (R.S. Kerr & Broadway) on Thursdays, and 5th and Broadway on Fridays. You can always check their schedule via social media, and can even sign up for text or email updates HERE.

The mobile coffee shop offers a buy 1 drink, get 1 half off offer with your OKCityCard. 

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You can find info about the double-decker’s origins on level 2
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Owner Nick Bollinger and Allied Arts Staffer Laura Cunningham

 

OKCityCard Featured Partner – The Makeup Bar

Our featured partner this week is the fabulous Alex Mendez-Kelly, owner of OKC’s “intoxicating beauty experience,” The Makeup Bar. With a makeup consultant’s approach full of fun, innovation, and common sense, Mendez-Kelly also specializes in skincare, body, and fragrance products. 

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Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

She gave us fascinating insight into her philosophy and vision. Check it out:

In 10 years, The Makeup Bar has become a popular destination in Oklahoma for makeup and skincare. What inspired you to open the shop?

I have been in the beauty biz for 34 years, and The MakeUp Bar has been in Wilshire Village at Wilshire and North Western for almost 17 years.  The MakeUp Bar came about in the 1990’s actually.  I owned a salon at the time and I had a station I worked out of doing makeup with a private room in the back.  As I would head back to wax or facial, I would leave makeup goodies for clients to see and I would say, “I left you some lipstick on the makeup bar!”  It stuck and we went with it.  As a kid I always loved makeup, and when adults would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told them I wanted to own a store with lots of lipstick. It seemed really random for a seven-year-old to say, but I knew what I was talking about. 

In  the ’90’s, all the big cosmetics were NOT interested in coming to Oklahoma and certainly not to a salon. I mean, really! SO I started to scheme on how I could A) Try to convince these companies that Oklahoma was a viable market and B) Try to work around the salon establishment.  That is where the retail-only location – before other stores were here dedicated to beauty – was born.  I knew I wanted to be in a niche area, like Western Ave.  The Sameras, owners of Wilshire Village, saw our vision, and here we are 17 years later! In the second year of The MakeUp Bar, we introduced our spa element.  We have four rooms now where we perform cutting-edge facial treatments as well as spray tans, face and body waxing, makeup lessons, and makeup applications for bridal parties.  We also enjoy having after-hours events that focus on different facial treatments and makeup trends. 

How do you guide a new client that comes into your shop and seeks makeup advice?

When a new guest walks into The MakeUp Bar, we encourage them to look around a little first. It can be overwhelming! Once we figure out if they need skincare, cosmetics, body care, hair care, or perfume, we try to focus in by asking questions about how much time they like to spend on self care.  That can determine how many products, as well as their needs and budgets. We want our clients to feel relaxed and not like they are being oversold!  The beauty of coming to the MakeUP Bar, no pun, is that we don’t adhere to quotas.  We don’t have to sell you the latest colors just because its popular.  We sell you what you need from whatever company we have.  If you want everything to “match” we can certainly do that, but we don’t have to. 

Everything in the boutique has personally been tested by me.  I do loads of research, we especially like indie-owned brands, and ones with great stories behind them!  I love getting to know them, the creators, the ma and pa’s behind these brands, trying to get better products out into the market.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it fails, but man, when they make it, it is so exciting to see them grow!!  We want to champion these small brands, just the way we hope our community champions us!

Can you tell us about some of the new product lines that you have available?

We are especially proud of the last 12 brands we have brought on board.  They are all clean brands. Some are organic and some are green.  All these terms can be confusing, but the important thing to remember is that they are formulated without harmful, carcinogenic ingredients.  In 26 seconds, 67% of what we have put onto our skin is absorbed.  This is something to think about next time you put a cream on your face you bought on Amazon. Some of these new brands available are Odacite,` Mun, Rituel de Fille, Vapour, Josh Rosebrook, Lilylolo, Fitglow, Leland Francis (creator is from Oklahoma).

Why do you support Allied Arts through participation in the OKCityCard Partnership?

We love supporting Allied Arts and the OKCityCard.  It makes me feel like we are, in some small part, contributing to the awareness of the great art scene that has been growing in OKC for several years now. Allied Arts supports so many communities and such a wide range of  creative mediums through such organizations as OKCMOA, OKC Ballet, OKC Philharmonic, deadCenter Film, and so many smaller museums like the Mabee-Gerrer Museum in Shawnee and the Pollard Theater in Guthrie. It also provides opportunities to kids and other burgeoning artists that would have trouble finding the right direction, either with mentoring programs and scholarships.  We feel strongly that these programs enrich all of us and our neighborhoods.  Wow, if we can help with that, we are all about it.  We feel honored to have been asked to be a part of it.

What do the arts mean to you? Why are they important for our community?

Without art, we have no culture and without that, I don’t know who we are. Art can set the tone for the mood of a city; it’s how we express who we are. My husband, Joe and I, feel very strongly that the arts are just as important as the engineering, law, and education professions. Arts are an outlet for kids in crisis or for therapy.  Being able to find an art form that you can express yourself in is liberating. Studies show that it helps the other areas of your life as well. I think the question should be not ‘why do we support Allied Arts,’ but ‘how can we not?!’ How can’t everybody?

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The thing I love about working with Allied Arts is the fact that they take the time to reach out to local businesses. We are huge supporters of shopping, eating and doing local.  The actions can be small, but the impact it creates can be exponential!  Buy visiting and spending money at one local place a week, YOU, the individual, can make huge strides on the viability of that local business.  Not to mention that those taxes stay in our community at a rate of almost 2 and half to one. That can be the difference in helping our schools thrive. 

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Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

The MakeUp Bar has been named one of Lucky Magazines’ “best boutiques in North America” and has been profiled in Women’s Wear Daily, along with numerous regional newspapers and magazines. 

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The Makeup Bar is located in the Wilshire Village shopping center at 7632 N Western Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73116. You can reach them at 405.810.1226 and on their website at www.themakeupbar.com. The shop offers 10% off products with your OKCityCard.

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