By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
The Youngblood Hotel dining room was one of the best places to eat in downtown Enid during the days the hotel was in business.
Now, owned by Hiland Partners, the building is full of busy people, coupled by the Triangle Tower across the street, which provides a small, busy community of workers. Hiland’s owners want a place people can go to have a good, quick meal, and Mickey and Mandy De La Cruz are the answer to their request.
The De La Cruzes, owners of Panevino Restaurant, have agreed to open the new restaurant, the Youngblood Grille, which will cater to employees of Hiland Tower and Triangle Tower, while also being open to the public. It will be located in the first floor of Hiland Tower.
Initially, the restaurant will be lunch-only and tentative hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“It gives the employees the opportunity to eat quickly without having to go somewhere on their lunch break,” said Mickey De La Cruz.
They plan to open the restaurant around mid-November. It will feature a full menu, plus specialty items for lunch. It will be decorated with old photos of the Youngblood Hotel and dining area.
The food in the new restaurant will be what De La Cruz called “gastro pub style.” Essentially, he said, it is comfort food, and will feature fresh-made meat loaf and Cincinnati spaghetti, which is spaghetti with chili and cheddar cheese. The eatery also will feature homemade pot roast and salmon burgers, plus other items.
The restaurant also will include a large salad bar with the usual fixings, plus fresh vegetables, and fruit, chicken salad and ham salad, which will be sold by weight. De La Cruz said employees of the towers who may not have much time at lunch can put their order in a to-go box and return to work. The salad bar will include baked potatoes, soups and other hot items. De La Cruz said the food will be reasonably priced.
The restaurant will feature fountain drinks, so anyone can stop in and get a quick drink. There are few places in downtown to get a fountain drink, De La Cruz said.
The restaurant will feature full seating. A cashier will be at the front so customers don’t have to wait on the wait staff to process their check.
“We’ve learned a lot at Panevino’s,” he said. “We’re focusing on getting people in and out quickly.”
The restaurant will not be open in the evening, but will be available for private parties.
Mandy De La Cruz said she and her husband attended a function at the ballroom one evening and Ken Arnold, building manager, was present. Arnold approached them with the idea of their taking over the restaurant.
“I love that building and they asked us,” Mandy said. “They have been very generous and helpful. They want to have a place for the employees.”
The De La Cruzes also will have control of the Oak Room and ballroom in the building.
Panevino has been open for nine years. Both Mickey and Mandy moved to Enid from Las Vegas, Nev. Mandy originally is from Enid, and Mickey is from Las Vegas. He is a self-taught chef and Mandy worked in wedding and event planning at the Venetian. They also have brought some of their family members to Enid, and some of them are involved in the business.