SHANE BEAMER THE NEXT OF T H E G R E AT S P. 1 2 G A L L O G LY FIRST MOVES P. 6
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G A L LO G LY JANE IRUNGU Q&A with Jane Irungu, the interim vice president of university community P. 4
First lessons P. 8 From business man to OU President P. 8 “More than you thought possible” P. 10
BEAMER Family, faith, and football P. 14
NEW IN NORMAN The Winston P. 23 Neighborhood JAM P. 24
Out of the shadows P. 15
Othello’s P. 25
Oklahoma P. 17
Land Run Grill P. 26 The Porch P. 28
Campus Community BY JANA ALLEN PHOTO BY AUSTIN CARRIERE P. 4
Months into OU President James Gallogly’s tenure, the first vice president of the office of university community resigned amid controversy. On Aug. 15, Jane Irungu took that place as the interim associate vice president for university community. Editor’s note: responses were lightly edited for length. Irungu was the first from her childhood village in Kenya to graduate high school. This achievement sparked a more than three decades-long career working in K-12 and higher education. She received her bachelor’s from Kenyatta University in Kenya and her master’s and doctorate from the University of Kansas. Before coming to OU in 2017, she held positions at a high school in Kenya, the University of Kansas and the University of Oregon. Her career has focused on working with diversity programs and underrepresented students. She previously served as the executive director for the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies at OU until being named the interim associate vice president of university community. Irungu said she is excited to take on this new position and has high hopes for what the office can achieve in the future. She sat down with The Daily and answered questions about herself, her goals and the department. Q: What skills does the person coming into this position need to bring to the table? A: You have to be able to inspire people. I’m hoping that in a small way, I will inspire the staff here and our campus partners that we need to work for their ideals of equity and inclusion. I also feel like when you are doing this kind of work … you have to be agile because the work of diversity and inclusion, for whatever reason, everybody seems to have an idea what it should look like. And the other thing is just being a good listener. People just want to be heard. People just want to express themselves. You cannot be somebody who is just acting without really providing yourself the room and the space to think through it. … So that whatever you act upon, you act upon it with some intentional actions that are going to impact change. Q: Are you interested in becoming the permanent associate vice president for university community? A: I wish I had that response for you right now… Maybe if you come back in a few months when the job is posted and I see what the job entails, then I’ll probably have an answer. What I’m focusing on right now is doing my best in this interim position, making sure that we focus on whatever our goals are, our mission and vision for this office, working with partners across campus to create a more diverse and inclusive campus.
Q: What would you say to students who feel underrepresented or don’t know who to turn to when they need help? A: Education changed my life. My dad had to beg my grandfather to allow me to go to high school because it was the males who were given priority. When my father said, ‘She has to go to school,’ and I went to school, that changed my life. So for me education is not just routine. Education is transformative. If there are students out there who feel like they are conflicted or they don’t know what classes they should be taking or what majors, I’m a first generation college student from a low income family. I would love to meet with them. I love to support students and I want those students to know my door is open. I don’t care what they are coming to do. I want to listen to them. If I can support them right away, I will.
“ Education is not just routine. Education is transformative. ” Q: What are your goals for the department? A: I’m still doing some needs assessments, but it’s very clear to me as (OU President James Gallogly) has said that faculty recruitment and retention is very, very critical… So faculty recruitment, retention and development means that we are working with the departments to make sure that our faculty is as diverse as we would want it to be. So that is at the top of my agenda. The other one is just making sure we are doing the same for students. Are we attracting diverse students? Are we diversifying our student population and are our students being supported to succeed? Whether they are students with disabilities, whether they’re LGBTQ students, whether they are minority students, whether they are low income students — what are we doing to make sure that they feel included? What opportunities are we providing them? My role is to create infrastructure for success for everyone. I see this office as kind of that catalyst that creates synergies among people and among departments and among schools so that we can all work towards the common goal of creating a diverse, inclusive, enriched campus.
JOURNEY TO THE PRESIDENCY BY NICK HAZELRIGG P H OTO B Y C A I T LY N E P E S
nce the fanfare was over and the confetti swept up, James Gallogly sat with his wife, Janet, after he was announced as OU’s 14th president. She asked him a question he didn’t expect.
Did her husband remember who was president when he attended the University of Oklahoma? Gallogly said he didn’t. Janet told him to remember that. His presence has been praised and denounced by members of the OU community, but the former petroleum executive has eased into his new role. Gallogly’s experiences in early life shaped his goals for himself and the university he now leads. Though he originally planned to keep his wife’s advice in mind through his presidential transition and stay in the background, since July he has been featured in multiple videos sent out through OU mass mail, held meetings with key student-leaders, taken part in Q&A sessions with students and rushed the field with the RUF/NEKS at a home football game. Since officially taking charge for the last few months, Gallogly has begun making the university his own, pushing initiatives that have changed the face of OU that was known for more than two decades.
FIRST LESSONS Gallogly’s father, Tom Gallogly, spent years as a teacher, fostering a deep support of education in his son. “My father was one of those unique people who clearly understood the value of an education,” Gallogly said in an interview July 10. “He had a homemade library, and it was always full of classic books.” Gallogly was the second-born of 10 children, and his childhood was marked by a modest lifestyle on the move since his father served in the military before becoming a teacher. At one point, the family lived in a trailer behind his grandparents’ house while his father was stationed in Korea. Gallogly said his father had a knack for determining the skills inherent to his children and could tell Gallogly was meant for business early on in life. His father urged him to read publications like the Wall Street Journal as
early as third grade, which Gallogly said guided him as he moved through his career. “I was charting stocks and reading magazines like Fortune and Forbes when I was in grade school,” Gallogly said. “My father was always talking about his portfolio and what we should invest in. He would develop his children in different ways. And with me, he said, ‘I think you’re going to be a business person someday.’” While working at the Safeway supermarket to pay his way through college at the University of Colorado, Gallogly decided he wanted to go to law school. His father had apprehensions for his son spending more time as a student — he had a good job already, and his life was stable. But Gallogly was adamant he was to accomplish more than management at a supermarket, so his father gave him his blessing and a piece of advice: “If you’re going to go, be the very best.” With that in mind, Gallogly headed off to law school at the University of Oklahoma in the mid-1970s. After graduating, Gallogly sought work in the corporate sector. He still received advice from his father — tidbits like, “Never judge someone’s success by the size of their paycheck,” or always ask what else could be done after a success or a failure. These pressures pushed Gallogly to grow, succeed and eventually become the CEO of multiple high-profile companies, including ConocoPhillips, LyondellBasell and Chevron Phillips. “Well, I was very dedicated,” Gallogly said. “I was always striving to be the best — that was a powerful motivator.”
FROM BUSINESSMAN TO OU PRESIDENT The spirit of relentlessly pursuing goals was on Gallogly’s mind when a member of the OU community called in early 2018 and asked Gallogly to apply for the position of university president. Gallogly said he had the option to vie for the position of OU’s presidency or take a position at another, unnamed company that Gallogly said he was a few steps away from joining.
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“I WAS ALWAYS STRIVING TO BE THE BEST, THAT WAS A POWERFUL MOTIVATOR.” — James Gallogly
“When OU called, I said, ‘I’m really not available, but I would love to talk to the committee and explain what I think the university should be doing,’” Gallogly said. But after a conversation with his mentor, another former petroleum executive, Gallogly said his decision was clear. “He asked me, ‘Which one do you stay up at night thinking about?’” Gallogly said. “And then when I thought about that, I had my answer.” A few months later, he found himself among the seven finalists interviewed by OU’s Board of Regents. But the search process was not well-received by the general OU community, which had concerns about a search behind closed doors and had received few answers on who would be taking the helm at the institution. By the time Gallogly was announced as OU’s new president in March, these concerns had come to a head, with some students protesting Gallogly’s appointment and some OU faculty members questioning the choice. Gallogly responded by saying he would challenge the OU community to rise to heights it never believed possible. These challenges turned out to mostly concern money. At the regents’ June 19 meeting, Gallogly came prepared to inform the regents about the state of the university, which he called “unacceptable.” Gallogly said OU was nearly $1 billion in debt and that university costs were rising much faster than revenues. This announcement spurred anxiety for OU community members and intense press coverage. Gallogly admitted after taking office that the job is different than the one he expected he would be taking, but he said the challenges are something he’s prepared to face.
‘MORE THAN YOU THOUGHT POSSIBLE’ In the months since, Gallogly’s administration has slowly taken form. It began with Gallogly removing three vice presidents and numerous other executives, many of whom had been in their positions for years, in a major administrative restructuring.
Gallogly also started intensely examining the budgets of nearly every university department as part of his effort to reign in spending at the university. In addition, all public relations began running through Evans Hall. The early days of Gallogly’s tenure were highlighted by rocky events. These included a former professor emeritus’ removal from campus after allegations of sexual harassment came to light and the forced resignation of the former vice president of university community for misusing a company car. With the return of OU’s faculty, staff and student body in August to begin the fall semester, Gallogly has spoken to different groups at OU with a stump speech, listing his goals in the same order at each event. He said he will focus on doubling research output, convincing graduate students to stay at OU and increasing pay for faculty members, among a few other items. But, seemingly most important to Gallogly, he plans to do this without raising tuition. “We can’t keep increasing tuition,” Gallogly said. “We haven’t talked about that much. We were increasing tuition over 5 percent per year, year after year after year. That’s a heavy burden on our students.” Tuition has repeatedly increased for OU students over the last few years — most recently, a 5 percent increase in 2017. These decisions have always been approved by OU’s Board of Regents, the same board who brought Gallogly on as president. Gallogly’s methods, such as clearing out longtime executives in the name of efficiency and conducting audits of various departments, have at times been met with anxieties among OU faculty and staff members. But Gallogly said he will hold his employees to the same standard to which his father held him, always asking the same question: “What could be better?” He aims to do this while continuing to play a role in the background instead of at the forefront, keeping his wife’s advice in mind. “It’s not about the president,” Gallogly said. “What a silly way of doing things — because it’s students and faculty that move through time as a group, and the president is just somebody who’s helping them with administration, setting strategy and all. But if we have shared governance and we really believe in shared governance, then who’s president is not as important.”
or at oudaily.com
FOR STUDENTS. BY STUDENTS.
THE NEXT OF T H E G R E AT S P. 1 2
BY GEORGE STOIA P H OTO S B Y C A I T LY N E P E S A N D C O U RT E S Y O F E M I LY B E A M E R
hane Beamer towers above the field, looking down at his players prepared to call a play. His team huddles, waiting for Beamer to radio down his instructions. He dials up a play for his best player. He watches as they run the play to perfection, his best player — and friend — crossing the goal line as time expires. At this moment, Beamer is 12 years old, standing on his deck outside his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. His radio is a Fisher-Price walkietalkie, his best player is his sister Casey, and her teammates are the neighborhood kids. “It’s just always been in his blood,” said Beamer’s mom, Cheryl. “He’s been around (football) forever. It was bound to happen.”
1995-1999 Virginia Tech Long snapper, wide receiver
Twenty-nine years later, now at Oklahoma, Beamer could be the difference maker for a team bound to make another run at the College Football Playoff. He’s of royal college football blood, growing up figuratively and literally in the shadow of the coach that transformed special teams. He’s learned from some of the best, jumping from one legendary coach to another, taking with him bits and pieces from each to prepare him for his next landing spot. And in his short time at Oklahoma, he’s added a new edge to an already potent Sooners team.
2000 Georgia Tech Graduate assistant
But while Beamer’s home may be Norman right now, it’s only a matter of time until the 41-yearold coach gets his own shot to be the man in charge. “I always thought he had a very gifted mind for football,” said his dad Frank, the former longtime Virginia Tech coach and college football hall of famer. “Two things we always talked about, and two things I think every good coach has to have, is respect and care. And he has a great respect for the game — a respect for other people. He cares about his players and the people around him.
“To me, that’s what you’re looking for in a head coach.”
“ I always thought he had a very gifted mind for football. ”
FAMILY, FAITH AND FOOTBALL At 11:26 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, Oklahoma redshirt junior Lee Morris blocked a Florida Atlantic punt, resulting in a Sooners touchdown in Shane’s first game at OU. Simultaneously, Frank and Cheryl sat in Casey’s house in Greenville, South Carolina, babysitting her two kids and watching the television as Oklahoma faced FAU. Four hours later and approximately 1,000 miles away from Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, the Beamer family grew by one as Casey gave birth to a baby girl at 3:39 p.m. “It was pretty much the perfect day,” said Casey, who was watching the game while in labor at the hospital. “It was an exciting Saturday to say the least. One of the best we’ve experienced.” That day just about sums up the Beamer family. The Beamers have always been tight-knit. Frank and Cheryl instilled in their two kids at a young age core values such as family, faith and football on Saturdays. While at Virginia Tech, Frank would take his son on the road with him. Shane would patrol the sidelines right behind his father, holding the cord to his dad’s headset. During the week, he would mimic his dad, inviting all the neighborhood kids over to play football in his backyard. “Football was really all we knew,” Casey said. “Shane always wanted to be a coach. We’d have those games in our backyard and he was always the coach. Even at a
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Tennessee Graduate assistant
Mississippi State Cornerbacks
2009-2010 2008 South Carolina Cornerbacks
South Carolina: Spurs, strong safeties, special teams coordinator, recruiting coordinator
young age, he knew that’s what he wanted to do. He loved it and has never questioned it.”
2007 South Carolina Outside linebackers, co-special teams coordinator
In high school, Shane was a standout on the football team, playing wide receiver and long snapper. When he wasn’t on the field, he spent his free time helping with the special education program at Blacksburg High School. He also attended church, bringing his own Bible to each gathering. Shane enjoyed helping those around him, something he still does today through his passion to coach. He’s taken those core values — family, faith and football — and applied them to his everyday life. He treats his players like his family and finds strength through his faith. “He’s made us very proud, not only as a coach, but as a person,” Cheryl said. “The kind of person he is, the way he treats people — that was a big thing with Frank. He’d always tell his coaches, ‘Treat your players the way you’d treat your own child.’ And I think Shane does that well.”
2006 Mississippi State Running backs, recruiting coordinator
OUT OF THE SHADOWS Frank never made any calls. Shane never once asked him to — he didn’t want to feed off his father’s success. After walking on at Virginia Tech and playing for his dad, he knew he wanted to step out of his father’s shadow in Blacksburg — the town he grew up in and his father became the face of. “He did it all on his own,” Frank said. “And he wanted to do it that way. He didn’t want his name to get him a job.” Shane’s first opportunity as a coach came in 2000 at Georgia Tech under George O’Leary. He was an expert in “Beamer Ball” — a term often used to describe his dad’s passion and knowledge for special teams, or the third side of football, and the way it can change a game. But Shane has never wanted to be known as just one type of coach.
“I’ve embraced the aspect of (Beamer Ball), that it can win games quickly, and it can change momentum in a game quickly,” Shane said. “If anything, maybe I’ve gone a little bit the other way, just not wanting to get pigeonholed as just a special teams guy because of my last name.” Shane left Georgia Tech to become a graduate assistant at Tennessee after one season. ThenTennessee coach Phillip Fulmer saw potential in the young coach and knew he wanted him on his staff. “He was exactly what I was looking for,” said Fulmer, now the athletics director at Tennessee. “He was a very bright guy that had a feel for special teams, which obviously Frank was very well-known for, but also knew offense and defense. He was ahead of his time for that young of a person. “He was one of those guys that had the coffee made in the morning and turned the light off in the evening. He worked hard, he was smart, he was intelligent … He was everything you wanted.” Shane has spent his coaching career all over the country, with all sorts of titles. One year at Georgia Tech (GA), three at Tennessee (GA), three at Mississippi State (corners and running backs), four at South Carolina (corners, linebackers and special teams), five at Virginia Tech (running backs and associate head coach), two at Georgia (tight ends and special teams) and is now in his first season at Oklahoma (assistant head coach for offense, tight ends and h-backs). But everywhere Shane goes, one thing remains constant — special teams. “Anywhere I went as a coach, whether it was a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech or a graduate assistant at Tennessee or Mississippi State and then South Carolina, the particular coach on those staffs, whether it be Phillip Fulmer, George O’Leary, Sylvester Croom or whoever, they wanted to talk special teams,” Shane said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love being involved in special teams, but it’s not something that I’m only passionate about.”
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2011-2015 Virginia Tech Associate head coach, running backs
2016-2017 Georgia Special teams coordinator, tight ends
Shane’s had a hand in just about every part of coaching. He goes from place to place, college town to college town, learning from the best and taking with him valuable lessons. It’s as if he’s building a house, collecting bricks at every stop with each one playing an integral part in the house he’s trying to build. And that might just be trying to become a head coach. Following practice one day this September, Shane stood before the Oklahoma media. He spoke for 15 minutes — much longer than any other assistant — sticking around to answer a few more individual questions from a couple reporters. Assistant coaches don’t typically do that. But Shane isn’t your typical assistant coach. “I think he could definitely be a head coach. I think he will be if that’s what he chooses to do,” said Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley. “He’s got all the characteristics. I can’t think of a reason in the world why he wouldn’t.” Shane fits the description of a head coach. He’s well-spoken, creative-minded and can relate to players. And by building the resume that he has, one day his time may come. “I do think he’d like to be a head coach,” Frank said. “You can’t map out being a head coach. You have to be at the right place at the right time … The stars have to line up for you, and I think he’s put himself in a place for the stars to line up.”
OKLAHOMA A couple days after Georgia fell in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship to Alabama and just over a week after beating Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, Shane and his wife, Emily, took their three kids to the neighborhood playground. As they walked through the neighborhood, Shane’s phone unexpectedly rang. It was Riley. “I was impressed with the way he recruited, impressed with the way his players always played,”
Riley said. “He’s a guy that you can absolutely trust that’s going to be doing the right thing and representing this place the right way.” Beamer was on the phone no more than 10 minutes. Riley’s pitch was simple, yet intriguing — an opportunity to join one of the best offensive staffs in the country. Beamer couldn’t pass it up. “There was definitely a spark in his eye,” Emily recalled of her husband’s look when he hung up the phone. “It was very hard for Shane to say goodbye (to Georgia) ... But it was just something about — you just get this feeling about it. It was a move we knew we needed to make.” Riley has done his best to make Norman feel like home, after hiring Shane on a two-year deal that pays $435,000. He personally reached out to Emily during the hiring process, helping her find a house and school for their family. Emily and Caitlin, Riley’s wife, have become good friends while Lincoln and Shane have formed a bond on and off Owen Field. “Of course, I feel like his ultimate goal is be a head coach one day,” Emily said. “But right now, he’s just enjoying being here and being a part of a program like Oklahoma.” A year ago, Shane and Riley’s close relationship may have sounded unlikely. Shane, in some ways, ended Riley’s first season as head coach. A blocked Oklahoma field goal in the second overtime of a thrilling Rose Bowl eventually led to Georgia’s 5448 victory. Shane, of course, had his hand in that special teams play. And that’s why Riley went and got him. While Oklahoma may end up being just another brick in the house Shane is trying to build, maybe this time the Sooners will be on the right side of Shane’s speciality. “The more and more I found out about Oklahoma, the more and more I found out and learned about coach Riley and the rest of the staff,” Shane said just days after he was officially hired. “It just only solidified the decision — as tough as it was leaving Georgia — it made the decision clearer to me that it was a no-brainer coming here.”
2018 Oklahoma Assistant head coach for offense, tight ends, H-backs
“... it was a nobrainer coming here.” — Shane Beamer
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Charge BY DREW HUTCHINSON PHOTO BY AUSTIN CARRIERE P. 2 0
“I want to hopefully be involved in keeping the OU Foundation and OU as an institution on track with where I think they should be...”
— Fred Gipson
Fred Gipson said he was doing a favor for his alma mater when he sued the OU Foundation. Gipson, an 82-year-old who has lived in Norman for 30 years, crafted an open records lawsuit against the foundation when it refused to give up records related to the University North Park project, which was a foundation initiative. “I want to make a difference,” Gipson said. “I want to hopefully be involved in keeping the OU Foundation and OU as an institution on track with where I think they should be, as well as the city of Norman. So, I’m open to taking on a cause any time that I think public officials are not performing their duties. That’s my future right there, for as long as I can do it.” Gipson was appointed as OU’s chief legal counsel in 1988. He served in this position until 1998 and then taught introduction-level political science classes and higher education law classes. He retired from the university in 2000. His open records lawsuit made him a leading voice in the Normanite resistance to the University North Park project, which was an OU Foundation effort to build an arena and entertainment district on foundation-owned land in northern Norman. Controversy came when the foundation said city money was needed to build the district. The Norman City Council would have needed to approve using this public money, but a lack of transparency surrounded the issue, and residents and city council members were divided. Gipson wanted documents on the initial project proposal, as well as records showing the university’s and Board of Regents’ involvement in the project. But when he and a group of residents filed the open records request to the OU Foundation, the city of Norman, the Norman Board of Education and the county commissioner’s office, it was denied. The foundation stated it was a private entity and therefore not required to release its records like the rest of OU, which is classified as a public entity because it receives public tax dollars. That’s when Gipson filed a lawsuit.
The foundation’s purpose is to hold university money for use in projects such as the University North Park development, among other items, Gipson said. Since OU is a public entity, Gipson said he doesn’t believe the two institutions are separate. “There’s no reason why (the foundation) should be able to sit over there and keep private records that actually are records that relate to money held for the use of the general public,” Gipson said. The University North Park project dominated city council agendas for months. In July, the foundation withdrew the project proposal after much public pressure and city council frustration, but Gipson continued his lawsuit. “The lawsuit has merit,” Gipson responded when asked why he continues to press on. Born in Seminole in 1936, Gipson was a high school debater who eventually attended OU in 1954, earning degrees in business administration and law. Gipson has done legal work from Norman to Seminole to Washington, D.C., where he worked on former U.S. Sen. Fred Harris’ legal staff. He served in the U.S. Army and also spent two years in the 1980s as the mayor of his hometown. This year, he ran for a representative spot in Congress for District 4 but didn’t win his runoff election. To this day, Gipson is not formally retired. Though he no longer maintains an office or secretary, he is on staff for three lawsuits. “I feel like I’m just as sharp mentally as I was in 1960 when I was admitted to the bar in the state of Oklahoma,” Gipson said. “Now, how long that’ll last, I don’t know.” Gipson said his future will involve visits to coffee shops with friends — his favorite hobby — and more legal work. He said the foundation lawsuit is his most prominent project right now. Gipson is optimistic he will win.
THE WINSTON P. 2 3 NEIGHBORHOOD JAM P. 2 4 OTHELLO’S P. 2 5 LAND RUN GRILL P. 2 6 THE PORCH P. 2 8
NORMAN’S NEWEST EATS B Y T I M H AT T O N P H OTO S B Y E M I LY A D D I N G TO N
his year on Norman’s Main Street, an unlikely pair of restaurants with the same owner sprang up at the corner of James Garner Avenue. One is a bar with dark wood, framed portraits on the walls and a historical theme sooner to be expected in London than Oklahoma. The other is less subtle — a Willy Wonka-esque warehouse space with bright, eye-catching colors and spiraling light fixtures. Each in their own way, The Winston and Neighborhood JAM have gained a foothold in Norman’s growing food scene. Walking into The Winston for the first time, it takes a moment to realize and understand the theme. The main feature of the narrow, low-slung space is a broad bar with shelves of whiskey bottles stretching to the ceiling. Directly opposite it is a mural of a bowler hat beneath an unusual quote written in neon: “We are all worms, but I do believe I am a glow worm.” A second neon quote on the restaurant’s back wall reads, “Dread naught, all will be well,” and just to its left is a print of WWII-era Winston Churchill with the slogan, “Deserve victory!” The poster gives context to The Winston’s other décor and name — the entire bar is themed around Churchill, the former British prime minister. The Winston opened in April, serving upscale American food and drink in a casual setting. Many of its menu items use high-end ingredients served unpretentiously, like spicy duck wings with dipping sauce or a chicken-fried filet mignon sandwich called “The Prime Minister.”
23 “Winston” is owner Hal Smith’s middle name. A blownup portrait of Smith hangs between the bar and a portrait of Churchill on The Winston’s south wall. Smith has been a restaurant owner in Norman since 1970, and he founded the Hal Smith Restaurant Group in 1986. The company is based in Norman, though it has expanded to cities as distant as Mesa, Arizona, and Omaha, Nebraska. Specializing in bars and upperscale casual restaurants, it also owns Charleston’s, Pub W, Redrock Canyon Grill, Louie’s and The Garage in Norman. Neighborhood JAM is the company’s first attempt at a breakfast restaurant, and so far it has been a successful one. Hal Smith Restaurant Group first established Neighborhood JAM in Edmond last year, but it proved to be so popular that the company opened the Norman location next to The Winston on Main Street this July, with barely a year between the two openings. It serves a variety of breakfast food and drinks, from basics like pancakes and coffee to more exotic flavors like a breakfast Cuban sandwich (ham, pulled pork, candied bacon, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickled red onions on a ciabatta roll) and a Bloody Mary-style cocktail called the “Hotline Bling,” which features vodka infused with bacon and habanero pepper. In the few months since it’s opened, kitchen manager Andrew Crawford said high demand has become one of Neighborhood JAM’s defining traits. “We’ll have every table filled up by 7:30 (a.m.), and it’s not going to be done until close (at 2:30 p.m.), and we love it,” Crawford said. “It’s a fast-paced environment, and everybody’s just having a great time.”
Despite what some might expect, The Winston’s name does not originally come from Churchill. Instead,
HOURS THE WINSTON, LOCATED AT 106 W. MAIN ST., IS OPEN FROM 11 A.M. TO MIDNIGHT MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY, 10 A.M. TO MIDNIGHT SATURDAY, AND 10 A.M. TO 9 P.M. SUNDAY.
HOURS NEIGHBORHOOD JAM, AT 102 W. MAIN ST., IS OPEN DAILY FROM 6:30 A.M. TO 2:30 P.M.
Neighborhood JAM’s popularity can lead to waits of up to 2 1/2 hours. However, Crawford said most traffic is handled through an app called NoWait, so customers can move at their own pace instead of waiting for hours in the restaurant itself. Though it’s busiest on weekends, Crawford said he wants Neighborhood JAM to be a place where OU students can just drop in during the week. “We want that culture. If you’re just finishing up an early morning class, come on in, have a cup of coffee, break out your laptop and chill, do your work,” Crawford said. “We want that neighborhood feel — we want people to feel like this is a spot for them.” While still catering to college students, Neighborhood JAM is also proactive in reaching out to the larger Norman community. For example, one menu item is called the “Denco Darlin’,” which combines elbow pasta, chili, cheese and two fried eggs. The dish was a menu staple at the Denco Diner, a longtime Norman institution that closed in 2006 on the same site where Neighborhood JAM now stands. Crawford said older Norman residents have been thrilled to see the Darlin’ on the menu again.
The balance between serving OU and the rest of the town is important to The Winston as well, according to general manager Rick Patino. “Being close to campus is great because we can reach that market — we have $2 beers, some of our small plates start at $5, so we serve people who may have a tight budget,” Patino said. “But at the same time, we wanted to bring something to Main Street Norman that we felt wasn’t being offered, a restaurant concept that wasn’t aimed at the kids of OU.” Because they are both so new, both restaurants’ popularity clearly demonstrates how well they’ve served campus and the community alike. The Winston and Neighborhood JAM are two more strong choices for Norman residents to eat and drink at, whether students or not. “It’s been a really warm welcome from Norman,” Patino said. “I’m not surprised by that, but it’s a great feeling. It’s really fun to see that Norman is moving along with the food world.”
Othello’s, an Italian institution on Campus Corner, reopened in August, almost 16 months after being destroyed by a fire in April 2017. The updated building largely follows the same scheme as the original, divided between an area with tables and booths on one end and a bar on the other. The bar area includes a stage for live events, such as open-mic comedy nights on Tuesdays, trivia nights on Wednesdays and jazz nights on Sundays. The restaurant has also scheduled singer and pianist Joel Forlenza to perform Tuesday through Sunday every week. Jennifer Dennis, owner of Othello’s, said she’s excited about the restaurant’s return. “The corner is a great place to be,” Dennis said. “Sure, there are five places to get pizza, but all of them are slightly different from each other and tailored to a different crowd. I know all the merchants work really well together, and everyone wants to see everyone else succeed.”
HOURS OTHELLO’S IS LOCATED AT 434 BUCHANAN AVE. IN NORMAN AND IS OPEN 4 P.M. TO 10 P.M. SUNDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY, AND 4 P.M. TO 11 P.M. FRIDAY AND SATURDAY.
LAND RUN GRILL After four years on the eastern side of town south of Lindsey Street, the Land Run Grill opened a second location this July on the far north side of Norman at 2596 W. Tecumseh Road. The restaurant is themed after the Oklahoman frontier and serves traditional American food, including a large selection of burgers, all made with Japanese-style Kobe beef. Land Run features an outdoor patio, as well as a full bar with 36 beers and eight wines on tap. Bar manager Aimee Francis said the Land Run’s more remote location makes it popular with customers who don’t live near most restaurants in Norman. “It really hasn’t affected us all that much, being so far from campus,” Francis said. “We get a lot of college grads and grad students here instead, or students studying at the Health Sciences Center in OKC.”
HOURS THE LAND RUN GRILL IS OPEN 11 A.M. TO 11 P.M. SUNDAY THROUGH THURSDAY, AND 11 A.M. TO 2 A.M. FRIDAY AND SATURDAY.
The Porch is one of Campus Corner’s newest and most popular spaces. Its titular porch overlooks OU’s University Lawn across Boyd Street and features a wraparound bar serving customers indoors and outdoors. During the day, the restaurant serves a sandwich-based menu for lunch and dinner. It also serves brunch on the weekends, though it only serves its regular offerings on home-game Saturdays. After about 9:30 each night, the space opens for Campus Corner nightlife, full of music and dancing. Bartender Nicole Keenan said balancing food and drink was something The Porch was especially conscious of. “We want it to be both a restaurant and a bar,” Keenan said. “Sometimes it’s not easy to do because, after a bar night, it takes some work to clean everything up. Logie’s, you know, they started out as a restaurant, but then they became just a full-time bar, but with things like our brunch menu, we’ve avoided doing that.”
HOURS THE PORCH IS LOCATED AT 311 W. BOYD ST. IN NORMAN AND IS OPEN DAILY FROM 11 A.M. TO 2 A.M.
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