Naples Flatbread Delivers Flavor, Ambiance
Local Dining By BLAKE AUSTYN
BOK NEIGHBOR: Naples Flatbread opened its downtown Tulsa location in the One Place development, 201 S. Denver Ave., in 2013. Though its specialty is flatbreads, its menu features a varied list of salads, soups, paninis, wraps and dinner entrees.
BLAKE AUSTIN for GTR Newspapers
Naples Flatbread began in 2009 in Naples, Fla. Since then, it has grown to five locations, with Tulsa being home to its only two locations outside of Florida.
Naples first came to Tulsa in 2012, opened by Florida restaurateur Ralph Desiano and Tulsa businessman Jim Wilburn at 4929 E. 71st St. In 2013, they ventured on a second location, this one in downtown Tulsa across from the Center.
Having been in the South Tulsa location, I was intrigued by the interior aesthetic differences in the downtown location in the One Place development, 201 S. Denver Ave. The restaurant’s two exterior walls are lined with windows, allowing a panoramic view of Denver Avenue and the Center, with a wide bar, plenty of TVs, fireplaces and an interesting water feature, all of these elements creating an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere that lends itself well to the architectural eyeful of its western arena neighbor.
My party ventured in during the lunch hour to partake of its lunch offerings.
The menu is made up, of course, of flatbreads, as well as salads, soups, paninis, wraps and dinner entrees including ribs and the popular miso glazed salmon.
I was in the mood for a grilled panini and was impressed by the array of options, such as the boursin chicken, with chicken, boursin sauce, roasted peppers and sun dried tomato pesto, which the server said has been very popular since its recent arrival on the menu. The Portobello Panini also drew my attention as a non-meat option, with roasted Portobello, roasted peppers, caramelized onion, arugula and provolone.
However, our server also told us that the Banh Mi Panini has been a crowd favorite, and I understood why after I ordered it. It comes with slow-roasted pork, carrots, pickled cucumbers and cilantro. Though I am not a regular pork eater, this sandwich would make me one. The pork was extremely tender with the vegetables and complementary Bang Bang sauce providing a spicy and refreshing flavor.
The panini also comes with a sizeable side salad. I was a little surprised at the large size of the meal, but I failed to order off the lunch menu, which is available 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Although, my lunchmate did choose to order a lunch flatbread: the Tikka Flatbread.
While not overly large, the flatbread’s semi-spicy flavor made up for it with chicken tikka, tomato, coconut, cilantro and masala sauce. I admit I was not expecting such delicious Indian flavors at a non-Indian eatery.
Another popular item has been the Hey Jerk Flatbread, topped with pulled pork, applewood smoked bacon, pineapple, coconut and Caribbean jerk sauce.
Naples also offers catering services and a second-floor private dining room, which seats 50 and is available for private events and meetings.
Since opening as the first restaurant in One Place, the building has seen the opening of tea and coffee shop All About Cha, with two more recently-leased tenants: Pinkitzel, a cupcake and candy shop, and a gastro pub.
Pinkitzel will be located to the north of Naples and is expected to open in February. It offers gourmet cupcakes, imported candies and chocolates, specialty drinks, and coffee.
The shop is currently located in Edmond, downtown Oklahoma City and Sulphur, Okla.