The Garage: better than your average sports bar
UPDATE: Since publication, the Garage has opened a second location in Edmond.
News of another sports bar and burger joint in Norman isn’t exactly groundbreaking. So, I certainly didn’t expect The Garage to be worth a drive from Oklahoma City unless it was game day. But I was wrong! The Garage is a tasty and unique addition to the dining scene in this heavily sports-bar-laden town.
The atmosphere at a place called The Garage could easily become over the top or cliche, but I didn’t feel that here. Rather, I enjoyed the decor which lends itself to a hip retro setting — the kind of place you would love to create in your own garage to watch games and hang out.
The building is somewhat divided into two sections. The front entrance off Main Street puts you directly into the bar end with pub tables, lots of televisions and funky retro décor. This end is filled with lots of dark wood and low lighting which is in contrast to the well-lit, almost diner-like atmosphere toward the back of the restaurant.
The menu does bring in the heavily garage-themed terms, categorizing it’s offerings into “First Gear” (appetizers), “Second Gear” (burgers), “Third Gear” (tacos), “Fourth Gear” (sides) and then “Other Stuff,” which includes salads and other sandwiches. The menu is small but contains many tasty and unusual choices that set The Garage apart from the standard fare one expects at a sports bar.
One quick look over the menu and I knew exactly what I had to try first — the BLT with a fried egg and cheese on Texas toast ($5). Wow, why hadn’t I thought of this before? I loved it. The bacon and toast were crispy and the extra flavor from a perfectly fried egg and melty American cheese was mouthwatering; it was a sinful treat.
The burgers at The Garage are a focus of their menu. I appreciate the burger options they provide. Every burger concoction can be ordered as an angus burger, turkey burger, garden burger, or buffalo burger ($2 extra). These are all fresh, hand-made patties cooked to order. They also provide the option of wrapping your burger in lettuce instead of using a bun.
The Spicy Sriracha Bleu Burger ($5.50) wasn’t as hot as one might expect, in part because of the cooling effects of the flavorful blue cheese. We substituted buffalo on this burger and found it to be nicely cooked and juicy. The original fried onion burger ($4.99) was good as well with onions that were well-caramelized. These are good burgers. The only downside in our opinion was they were a bit smaller than we expected for the price.
We also tried the Crispy Fish Tacos ($6.50 including chips and salsa). These had large pieces of breaded fish and lots of fresh coleslaw inside three warm flour tortillas. They were a little messy but satisfying and we thought they made a very generous serving. Two people could share an order of these tacos as a light meal or snack.
In my opinion, some of the biggest highlights of the menu were the side items. They are priced well and sized to share. The garlic/parm fries ($2.75) smelled wonderful and tasted great too. This is definitely a side that everyone in the group needs to share so nobody notices your garlic breath! The Tiajuana fries ($2.75) were also just-right crispy and served with sautéed jalapeno and onion on top providing just the right amount of extra heat and sweet. The chips and salsa ($2.50) offered under the appetizer or “First Gear” section of the menu were also good with a roasted tomato salsa that had just the right amount of heat for me.
The Garage’s location in downtown Norman can make it a little challenging to find parking out front, but thankfully there is an entire parking area off Gray Street behind the building with an easily accessible rear entrance. From this back door you walk immediately into the dining / restaurant area. Once inside, look for the line where your order and then take your number to a table and they bring you your food.
With an intriguing menu, solid food, reasonable prices and a nice vibe, The Garage delivers much more than your average sports bar. Have you been? If so, let us know what you think about The Garage in the comments below.