Meatball Sandwich at Meiki's in Oklahoma City

Meiki’s: kick back for “diner-style” Italian

by | June 19, 2008 | 23 Comments

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Meiki's

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6916 NW Expressway
Oklahoma City, OK 73132
405-721-5522
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I’ve been itching to post this review of Meiki’s Italian American for quite some time now, but I have struggled with how to describe the place even though I’m in there about every other week or so. The best categorization I can come up with is “diner-style Italian.” Diner-style describes the atmosphere more than the food, and here’s what I mean by it.

Every other Italian restaurant I’ve been in is decorated like the stereotypical American view of what we think a restaurant in Italy would look like. I hope to find out for myself one day if this is correct, as my next travel goal is to take an eating tour of Italy. Italian restaurants here always seem to have the perfunctory bright and annoying accordion music, bottles of olive oil sitting around, cans of fancy tomatoes, Italian words painted on the wall, some sort of bread served with balsamic vinegar … you get the picture.

Well, not so at Meiki’s. Mr. Meiki has dispensed with all of the aforementioned paraphernalia and has gone bare-bones with his decorating. No fancy anything here to distract you from the food. Tan-colored booths line the walls, and basic “diner-style” tables and chairs fill the center. The plain, undecorated atmosphere used to bother me, but not anymore. In fact, I’ve really grown to like it and I hope they never change things. Just because it’s plain doesn’t mean the food isn’t good. I will happily frequent a reasonable, un-fancy place with good food any time!

Though the environment may be bland, the food is really quite good. The owner, Kamal Meiki, says everything is homemade from scratch. He also flags his prices as “the best in town” (although he said he is having to raise them here shortly because of grocery costs). Between his stints in the kitchen, he can usually be found standing in his apron in front of the TV in the dining area checking the latest scores to whatever sport happens to be airing at the time. So, it’s easy to flag him over to your table and start a delightful conversation. Last week, I noted his accent and asked him where he was from. I loved his response! He said, “I am a Christian from Galilee!” Most of the time when I ask restaurant owners from other countries where they are from, they are almost hesitant to reply. So, I loved Kamal’s enthusiasm about his origins. He emigrated to the U.S. when he was 19 years old.

Anyway, back to the food.

I’ve tried a variety of things on the menu. The pizza is really good and you can get a two-piece special with salad and drink at lunchtime. They usually also run a spaghetti and meatball special at lunch. These lunch specials run between $6-$7 which is not bad for the complete meal. I’ve never seen any dinner specials. Last week I had the Rigatoni off the dinner menu for $9.99. It was a mixture of green peppers, onion, mushrooms, sausage and pepperoni baked in marinara with pasta tubes. The whole dish was topped with mozzarella. I split this with my friend, Beth, from work, which made it very affordable and the portion was more than enough for the two of us.

I’ve also had the spaghetti, which is good. I always ask for my bread with no butter, but sometimes Mr. Meiki has already buttered all of the bread for the day, so all you get is buttered bread. Mom had the veggie calzone last week and said it was good, but keep in mind she can’t taste (she lost her sense of smell years ago). So, I don’t ever really weigh her opinion heavily when I do food reviews. She mainly judges on texture and presentation of the food and the friendliness of the owner (she LOVED Mr. Meiki).

By the way, for the vegetarians out there, Mr. Meiki told me that every dish on the menu can be made “veggie-style.”

If there’s one thing I’m not particularly impressed with at Meiki’s, it’s the salads. When Beth and I went, she had a side Caesar and I had the side dinner salad. Beth said the Caesar dressing was fantastic and I trust her because she’s kind of a Caesar dressing connoisseur. However, the side dinner salad consisted of just lettuce, croutons and a pepper … pretty plain. I would like to see some other veggies added to this. I’ve also had the chicken club salad as a main course. There’s a lot more to it including bacon bits, black olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, croutons, hard boiled egg, and chicken. It was ok, but I don’t know … maybe if the greens were a little better, it would help.

One thing I had never noticed until recently is that they serve hamburgers. Last week, we noticed that everyone was ordering the hamburger and fries, and boy did it look mighty tasty. Mr. Meiki says they hand peel and cut the potatoes for their fries. Next time I go in, I’m having the burger and fries.

Bottom line, Meiki’s is a simple place — more like a diner than a restaurant. The atmosphere isn’t anything special, but it is a nice, quiet, very informal place with some good food. I recommend it. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

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More Photos from Meiki’s Italian American

Fettucini Alfredo at Meiki's in Oklahoma CityPasta at Meiki's in Oklahoma CityMeatball sandwich at Meiki's in Oklahoma CityCalzone at Meiki's in Oklahoma CityExterior of Meiki's in Oklahoma City

This article was posted by Sarah Sutton on Thursday, June 19th, 2008. It is filed under:

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  • Beverly says:
    June 19th, 2008 at 12:14 pm   

    Thanks very much for you the Meiki review. It’s a place I had been curious about before it moved from 39th, but never got around to trying. Sounds like it will be one I like.

  • Greg says:
    June 19th, 2008 at 1:10 pm   

    I am so psyched to hear good things about this place. I tried to go there a while back and it looked closed, so the wife and I went elsewhere and I haven’t been able to entice her to try again. But she’ll be pretty excited to hear there’s a good, reasonably priced Italian joint in the neighborhood.

  • Debbie says:
    June 19th, 2008 at 3:45 pm   

    Hey, Sarah, good review on one of my favorite places to eat! My friends and I like to go there because the food is good, prices are reasonable, it’s close to home, parking is easy and the owner is very friendly. And one more good reason is you can actually have conversation with the people at your table because there isn’t music blaring and no sound coming from the TV.

  • Bizzle says:
    June 19th, 2008 at 4:37 pm   

    I grew up eating at this place. We started going when it was on 39th closer to Yukon. Then it moved further up 39th, but despite the move my grumpy stepfather would still make the drive into “the city” to eat at Meikis. My favorite is the rigatoni, but I’m always torn because I like their pizza too. That crust is fab! I’m glad to see that they have finally opened the new location. My only complaint is that they use canned mushrooms and I prefer fresh. Although, this seems to be the norm in the more authentic, non-chainy Italian restaurants around here. I’ve actually spent some time in Italy and have yet to run into a canned shroom. Oh well…I can’t wait to try the new location!

  • Sarah says:
    June 19th, 2008 at 7:00 pm   

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. Yep, the place is not Carrabba’s, but you also don’t have the wait, high prices and loud, noisy atmosphere. I’ll take Meiki’s anytime over that.

  • Andrew says:
    June 20th, 2008 at 8:36 pm   

    I like Meiki’s as well. It’s simple, nothing fancy, and cheap. Interesting to hear he is from Galilee. It doesn’t “feel” real Italian, so I always wondered.

  • Katie says:
    July 24th, 2008 at 1:46 pm   

    I’ve eaten at Meiki’s twice now and only because we had a work birthday lunch there both times. I haven’t cared too much for it. This week I had the greek salad which looked great but was soooo sour. I always think the pizza looks soggy and thin? I did see someone eating the calazone which looked decent…maybe I need to try another item?

  • Sarah says:
    July 24th, 2008 at 5:06 pm   

    Yep, like my initial review said, the salads are lacking. But the pizza is good, and so are the burgers. The calzone is also worth a try as is the rigatoni. Overall, it’s not “knock your socks off” Italian, but for a non-crowded, cheap place, it’ll do. Thanks for your comments, Katie.

  • Otto says:
    July 25th, 2008 at 5:25 pm   

    I used to work at this place to pay for school. Sometimes I watch “Ramsay’s kitchen nightmares” on the Food Network, and reminisce about the good old times at Meiki’s. I’m particularly reminded of how we used to get slammed on Friday and Saturday nights, which is where I really learned the meaning of “working under pressure.”

    We used to make everything from scratch! Manicottis, chicken cacciatore, alfredo (I can still make it at home til this day!), Lazagna , Meatballs…etc. I’ve worked at other restaurants and I can tell you that I’ve never seen cleaner pizza dough before or since.

    And yes, I remember pealing potatoes to make fries from scratch and I haven’t worked or eaten at any restaurant that does that. Fries taste much better when they haven’t been frozen since the Nixon administration.

    Their burgers are also the best I’ve ever had, especially the mushroom burger with melted mozzarella on top, which we called the O.R. burger (named after the first customer to order it). If you go there and ask for the “O.R. Burger”, they’ll think you’re a regular.

    I’ve never really had a chance to sit down at a table during our busy hours (used to work there 6 days a week, when I’m not taking courses at OKCCC) so I really don’t know what the ambiance is like for a customer. Plus I’ve worked there at the first two locations so I’ve no idea what the new location is like. Somehow I’m sure Kamal would have kept the same setting because that’s part of the reason why people keep coming back.

    Meiki’s restaurant also has probably one of the highest ratios of regulars I’ve ever seen (very low customer turnover). 90% of the customers were regulars.

    All in all, I will always remember Meiki’s as an amazing restaurant and a successful business.

  • Sarah says:
    July 29th, 2008 at 7:27 pm   

    Wow, thanks for the comments from an insider. All good to know! Makes me like it even better! Don’t think I’ve even ever wondered if my pizza dough is clean or not…but I will now!

  • Paula Aker says:
    July 31st, 2008 at 5:42 pm   

    This place is great. We ate at their restaurant on 39th, now they moved on expressway (closer to me)! Their pizza is a lot better than hideaway, however I don’t think they have enough exposure.
    Great !

  • Tim says:
    August 6th, 2008 at 6:52 pm   

    Ok, I haven’t eaten here since they were on 39th, but I went for lunch today. I was disappointed with what I got. I had the lunch special of spaghetti and meatballs for $6.99. It came with a salad which seemed like a good deal.

    But you weren’t kidding about the bland salads. Nothing but iceberg lettuce and croutons. Avoid the salads.

    But I was surprised that I didn’t like the pasta or the meatballs. Just not a fan of the flavor of the sauce. Seemed a little harsh to me, with an overpowering bite to it.

    Ah, well. The friend I was with had a calzone, which did look good. I’m open to giving this place another try for the pizza, calzone or maybe the hamburger, but I can’t recommend it for red-sauce pasta.

  • Sarah says:
    August 6th, 2008 at 7:29 pm   

    Now Tim, the pasta sauce is one of the reasons I like this place – if the red sauce doesn’t curl your lips and knock your socks off, it’s no good! :)

  • Bree says:
    January 6th, 2009 at 12:05 pm   

    My family and I really enjoy this place. We started going back when my little brother played t-ball. The canadian bacon pizza is our favorite but my husband really likes the Alfredo. We even had out rehearsal dinner there. Their wait staff has always been plesant. The salads are yes a little bit more bland than other places but i seem to enjoy that because i dont always like the extras. their ranch is good and seems to have a peppercorn taste and their italian dressing is great.

  • Kamal Meiki says:
    January 18th, 2009 at 8:34 pm   

    Thank you Sarah for your delightful review. I also want to thank all the people who responded to this, and I will try to improve the garnishment on the salad. All your comments are appreciated. I look forward to meeting all of you, so when you come in ask for me and if I’m not stuck in the kitchen I’d love to visit with you. It’s the reason I’m in this business.

    Again, many thanks!

  • Shelley Erdman says:
    May 6th, 2009 at 8:44 pm   

    We just Meiki’s after dining there for the first time. The food was wonderful! We had fries because we saw the reviews and they were the best I’ve had in OKC. I had the chicken cacciatore which was excellent and my husband had the rigatoni also very good. The salads were fine and appropriate for a spicy main course – letuce, black olives, tomatoes, papperocini peppers & croutons with a flavorful ranch dressing. The chocolate mousse cake was melt in your mouth smooth. I have never had such great service – fast and friendly. We met the owner and felt like we had been customers for years. We’ll be back – hmmm maybe lunch tomorrow.

  • SSSSSNAKES says:
    February 3rd, 2010 at 10:55 pm   

    Gotta say that it’s nice to see Kamal take the constructive critism to heart and respond in a positive and enthusiastic manner. That, sir, compels me to visit your establishment soon.

  • Kacy says:
    September 8th, 2010 at 7:53 am   

    I was pleasantly surprised by Meiki’s. I agree with above commenter that it’s not “knock your socks off” amazing, but it was solid, affordable and the service was good. I got the vegetable calzone and cleaned my plate so clearly the food was pretty tasty. If I’m ever back in that area I’ll return.

  • Kristin says:
    December 1st, 2010 at 11:48 pm   

    The only reason to go to Meiki’s is for the friendly and fast service. I think they forgot the seasoning because my food was really bland. I had the rigatoni and my dad had the bow tie pasta with chicken. Both dishes came with generous portions of garlic bread. The rigatoni tasted like something that came out of a frozen meal and the bread was oozing over with butter. My dad made similar comments about his dish. I won’t be returning for a second taste.

  • Bob says:
    December 31st, 2010 at 9:52 pm   

    After reading some of the negative reviews on Meiki’s, I have to say that I am really surprised. My wife and I have been eating at Meiki’s since they were located on 39th St. just West of Meredian. We have eaten several different items from their menu and we love evreything. My favorite is the calzone. I always get the whole calzone and eat half and take half home to enjoy a couple of days later. So all of you people who want to criticize, just go elsewhere and leave Meiki’s to me. It’s the best!

  • Mia says:
    September 17th, 2012 at 7:50 pm   

    I have been eating at Meiki’s for years, and I agree with your review of the restaurant – it is more like a simple dining experience, and the salad is not anything to brag about. However, we go there for the Food – my family loves the flavor of all the dishes. My daughter and I love the spaghetti – the meatballs are wonderful and the sauce has a wonderful tangy and zesty flavor – we prefer that kind of sauce very much over any kind of sweet sauce that some restaurants serve. Pizza is great too. We’ve never had a bad meal!

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