Red Pin Restaurant and Bowling Lounge: concept over cuisine

by | January 15, 2008 | 15 Comments

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The Red Pin Restaurant and Bowling Lounge is located in Bricktown, on the river level just Northwest of Harkins Theatres. For full details, please visit their website.

The Red Pin Restaurant and Bowling Lounge opened recently in Bricktown, bringing an upscale spin on the traditional bowling alley. While I’m not too much into bowling, I was intrigued by the Red Pin’s claims to offer gourmet food alongside the bowling experience. In fact, they even bill themselves as a restaurant in their title, so of course, I had to check it out. When I did, I found a unique and interesting experience, but one that is more about concept than it is about cuisine.

Red Pin Restaurant and Bowling Lounge in Oklahoma CityWhat I mean by “concept over cuisine” is that you can’t really appreciate the food they offer separate from the concept of the entire experience. In other words, this isn’t the type of place you’d want to go for a typical restaurant dinner. On the other hand, if you are looking for a fun evening with the activity of a bowling alley but with food that is way better, the Red Pin definitely has something to offer.

The atmosphere at the Red Pin is lively and fun. The bowling lanes are on one end of the facility, there’s a bar in the middle, and then an area on the other end for sit-down dining. The bowling facilities are top of the line, with huge televisions spanning across the lanes providing sports entertainment while you roll your own fun.

The food at Red Pin can be ordered from anywhere in the facility, and it consists of clever variations on the types of foods you might find at a bowling alley. Familiar items like pizzas, hot dogs, hamburgers and the like are fancied up and served on nice plates. Most every item is served family-style and intended to be shared. This is why it’s not a real “sit-down dinner” type of place, because instead of ordering a meal and getting a main dish and a couple of sides, you’ll be ordering several different types of “finger foods” and sharing them around the table.

You can see why Red Pin would set it up this way. For one thing, it makes it more like a bowling alley. Also, the food is intended to be eaten while doing other things like bowling or hanging out at the bar. So, finger foods are a good choice.

On the other hand, it confuses me a bit that they set up part of the facility like a full-service restaurant. It just feels a little awkward to sit down at a table for dinner and conversation and pass around plate after plate of snacks. I feel that if they truly want to bill themselves as a restaurant, they should put together some menu offerings that can be ordered and served individually as a complete meal. They could still offer the family-style options, but adding some additional dining options couldn’t hurt. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the food is bad. In fact, it’s quite good (more on that below). I’m just trying to give you the proper expectation. There is a bit of disconnect if you go in expecting a restaurant dining experience.

When I ate there, I tried both the house and Caesar salads. Even the salads come in two sizes ($3.50 and $6) and are intended to be shared. It’s a bit tricky to share a salad, but that’s how they set it up. Both salads were very fresh. The house salad had nice, thick vegetables on a bed of spring lettuce.

I also sampled the powerhouse pizza ($13) which is a big old pizza with a ton of toppings. It was good for fancy pizza, but I think you can find better at any number of brick-oven pizza places.

What I really liked were the Red Pin Sliders. These are small hamburgers or chicken sandwiches made up with some interesting and gourmet toppings. I tried the beef version which comes with either two or three on a plate ($7.50 or $10 respectively). I tasted three. One was made up with roasted garlic and blue cheese, another with grilled onions, shiitake and portobello mushrooms, and the last was with center-cut bacon and cheddar. I have to say the garlic and blue cheese was my favorite, but all three were really good. The sliders are definitely a specialty that is worth trying at Red Pin.

For dessert, the Red Pin features some selections from local confectioners. I sampled the Chocolate Lava, which is a warm chocolate cake served with a light cream. I also had a bite or two of the cheesecake. Both desserts ($5 each) were very good and pretty affordable for what you get.

Speaking of affordability, I expected the Red Pin to be a bit more expensive than it was. It is somewhat pricey compared to normal bowling alley food, but I really think you get a pretty good value for the price. The trick is just in figuring out how to put together a meal out of the various finger food options. For what it’s worth, I recommend that you at least get a salad to start because it’s just about the only vegetable dish on the menu.

In summary, the Red Pin Restaurant and Bowling Lounge has a lot to offer Oklahoma City as a fun destination and an upscale twist on a favorite pastime. From a culinary standpoint, the food they offer is high quality and even provides some unique and interesting flavors, but it is presented in a family style, finger-food manner. This is consistent with their concept, but it doesn’t provide a great option if you are just looking for a nice restaurant dining experience. So, make sure you go first for the concept and while you’re there, enjoy the cuisine.

RedPin Restaurant & Bowling Lounge on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Tim Wall on Tuesday, January 15th, 2008. It is filed under:

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  • Briana Antwine says:
    January 17th, 2008 at 10:07 am   

    I fell upon this site and enjoyed reading these opinions about the Red Pin experience, because I myself was considering the Red Pin for a first date w / my significant other (17 years of age) and was not quite sure, being that i’d never been to the Red Pin before, but this site has definitely given me some good insight, and I thank you for helping me out.

  • Andrew says:
    January 17th, 2008 at 10:50 pm   

    I really enjoyed the sliders. And the jumbo screens over the lanes make me think it would be a blast to bowl on a Monday Night Football night.

  • Wes says:
    February 26th, 2008 at 12:13 pm   

    My girlfriend had a birthday celebration at the Red Pin and what initially was a relatively enjoyable experience turned out to be a nightmare. The food, service, and bowling were all pretty good. But, once the night ended and everyone tried to tab out we were all shocked to find that our bar tabs were obscenely high. They had overcharged us for all of our drinks and added more than what we had actually consumed to boot. I ended up having to pick up a few peoples tabs because her friends simply could not afford the insane prices. The next day I found out that The Red Pin had charged even more tabs to my card. The only way that could have happened is if they created more tabs for imaginary people who had never been there. Upon realizing their additional charges we tried to clear up the matter with the management but the battle is still ongoing.
    NEVER GO TO THE RED PIN!!!

  • michael says:
    March 13th, 2008 at 1:29 pm   

    I liked the RedPin and agree with just about everything in your article. I was surprised when I went to the “restaurant” that they didn’t offer “restaurant” kind of food. In other words, you didn’t get your standard 4-course meal. Instead, you could order a plate of chicken wings, or you can order nachos, or you can order eggrolls, etc… I understand the need to offer shareable, finger foods, but it’d be nice if they also offered regular meals.

  • Jeanene says:
    July 2nd, 2008 at 12:36 pm   

    I went with some friends and family. We did enjoy the facility….but we were in the far left lane and it was cramped and we were walking over the waiters that we going by, b/c it was in this cramped corner. The seating needed to be better for the end areas. The food was good. I agree I would like to see more of 4 course menu selections.

  • Kathy says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 12:08 pm   

    We celebrated a Big Birthday for our Grandson, who turned 24. We had 11 adults and 3 children (9urs-2wks). We enjoyed the experience, the food was very good considering it was snack food and could be shared, which we did. We spent around $200.00, but thought the experience was worth the price for a special birthday celebration. It was rather load, but the baby slept through most of the bowling. The servers were very helpful. We would go there again. Teens would love this place.

  • Kristin says:
    December 17th, 2008 at 5:36 pm   

    my husband and i went here for our 5th anniversary. it was certainly nice for a bowling alley, and the food was good, but we didn’t feel like it really lived up to the price they were charging. we also didn’t appreciate being charged per person per game.

  • Don says:
    January 11th, 2009 at 10:13 am   

    Serious bowlers BEWARE! The lanes are in very poor condition. Pinsetters continuosly dropping pins, balls getting hung up frequently. My personal ball ended up stuck for twenty minutes and ended up with two big flat spots ground into the surface. A two hundred dollar ball effectively ruined. We had 7 people in our party and dropped over $120 yet the management was unresponsive.

  • Kevin says:
    May 15th, 2009 at 6:14 am   

    We’ll have family coming in for a chunk of the summer. This concept could be a fun evening, but the reviews thus far are not overly inspiring. Hopefully the kinks are ironed out … anyone been lately?

  • Josie says:
    June 7th, 2009 at 7:11 pm   

    The food quality here is terrible.
    Don’t come here for dinner and a nice conversation unless you enjoy yelling.

    I ordered a pizza that had mushrooms, olives, onions, and peppers on it. The pizza tasted extremely generic, and the toppings are shredded into pieces so small that you can’t tell the olives from the mushrooms.

    My friends ordered the nachos, and the cheese came out cold. Save yourself a lot of cash and abstain from this place.

  • Kristen says:
    January 30th, 2010 at 1:31 am   

    I have been to Red Pin a few times and up until the last time I went I was satisfied with my experience. The last time I went I was with a group of friends and we were all on different tabs, which should have been fine except the waiter apparently got confused and mixed up everyone’s check while he was finalizing them. So, I initially got charged $90 but I only spent $15 I was told this would be taken care of and it was. Although they removed the $90 they charged me $130! Keep in mind I only spent $15. Because they charged me so much my bank account was overdrawn and i had $60 in overdraw fees from the bank. I went down there at this point and the manager told me it would be taken care of and I believed them. Believing them was my first mistake; I called everyday and the managers kept promising it would get done that day but after a week of having no money in my account it still was not taken care of! I finally went down there a second time and the manager was extremely rude and acted as if I had no reason to be angry about the situation. All in all it was an awful situation and I will never be going back there.

  • lizzet says:
    June 3rd, 2010 at 3:49 pm   

    BEWARE
    I PURCHASED A DEAL TO GO TO THIS PLACE THEY CHARGED ME TWICE AND I AM STILL EXPECTING A REFUND FROM THEM I WENT THERE MAY 8,I SPOKE TO THREE DIFFERENT PEOPLE IN THE PROCESS OF TRYING TO GET MY MONEY BACK AND THE LAST ONE WAS EXTREMLY RUDE ASKED HIM FOR HIS MANAGERS NAME AND NUMBER AND HE SAID HE IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS HIS NAME IS ALEX PERUSSE,AND I TOLD HIM I WOULD FIND OUT WHO WAS ABOVE HIM AND WITH A RUDE AND SARCASTIC TONE HE SAID GOOD LUCK,I DON’T THINK HE REALIZES THAT CUSTOMERS MAKE OR BREAK A BUSINESS AS FOR MYSELF I WILL NEVER RETURN THERE, I HAVE ALREADY STARTED TO LET MY FRIENDSKNOW THAT THEY SHOULD BE CAREFUL WHEN VISITING THIS PLACE THEY MAY GET OVER CHARGE AND NEVER GET THEIR MONEY BACK,THREE OF MY FRIENDS HAD PLANNED TO GO THERE BUT NOT ANYMORE

  • Al says:
    June 4th, 2010 at 8:04 am   

    DO NOT, GO IN THERE! Unless: you are rich, have money to spare, don’t mind paying TOO much, don’t look at your card statements, usually pay two or three times for stuff,or like dealing with useless rude management. Enough Said.

  • Mandy says:
    April 1st, 2012 at 1:31 pm   

    I organized a Saturday girls night out for 8 – most of us coming from Edmond. Prior to our arrival, I had made two separate reservations on two different days. First, our 2 lane reservations and then the next day for dinner (we didn’t want to get caught up elsewhere and run late on a Saturday). We arrived, dinner wasn’t bad, and the server was fantastic. We mentioned we had two lanes from 8-9pm and they said another server would be over to fetch us. They couldn’t find my name so she grabbed the manager who apologized for the mix up. She said there was nothing she could do, they were fully booked. I explained that b/c this was our first time, I quizzed the guy who took my reservation endlessly and even on my second call the next day – there was still no problem. She offered to discount our food. During this time, one lane happened to become avail due to a no show. I asked if all of us would be able to bowl – she said something about the screen showing 6 but yes it was doable. While the server is grabbing our shoes, she said someone had to sit out!! I just asked the manager that question or else why would we stay!!! We didn’t even bother finishing our “free” game – thankfully I had real reservations elsewhere listening to live music. My second drink I ordered was disgusting and barely had melted ice @ the top, which I stood at the near empty bar forever trying to get their attention so it could be remade and we were charged for a coke refill from dinner (again, after the manager said the refill would be no problem)… I will never ever go back!!!

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