Taste Of Oklahoma: The Crown OKC

With a cooking background spanning over 30 years and a love for creating unique dining memories, chef Eric Smith is turning The Crown OKC into a must-experience restaurant.

Thursday, May 9th 2024, 10:03 am

By: News 9


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As an Oklahoma City metro chef in the process of re-branding his restaurant, chef Eric Smith is taking The Crown OKC to new heights.

Smith has been cooking professionally for 34 years, started off as an apprentice in Oklahoma City before going to Chicago for culinary school, where he worked for 13 years before returning to Oklahoma City.

As for his love of food, Smith said from his first experience in a fine dining kitchen, he was in love.

"I fell in love with the whole experience, the energy, the synchronicity, the dedication," Smith said.

Smith rebranded his restaurant on North Western Avenue and Northwest 72nd Street, formerly known as Pachinko's, as The Crown OKC.

Smith describes his restaurant as a "fine-ish" dining restaurant, and inside The Crown is a room for a higher-level experience called "The Crown Room."

Smith said this section within his restaurant brings in all five senses for every course.

"Every chef and creative will tell you that's there's a burden that you love, but the burden is always there," Smith said. "That's what makes us all crazy, right?"

It's been around for nine years and it's kind of what people think of when they think of me.

Calling it experiential dining, Smith said it is what he is known for.

"Say it's some guy's 50th birthday," Smith said. "What does he love? What does he hate? We craft a meal around it, we pair cocktails with it, we pair smells with it and then we pair songs with it."

Smith said he wants to give customers not just great food, but a memory.

"I always say we want to show you something in the food and drink you've never seen, and then resonate a memory with the aromas and the songs," Smith said.

When it comes to his restaurant, Smith said he is proud of his work, but also the relationships he's forged.

"What I'm most proud of about this restaurant is I have a tribe of culinarians that do our food and drinks with me," Smith said. "We have about as good a team as there is in this city."

Looking into the future, Smith said he is right where he wants to be.

"I’ve never been a guy that wanted to have like 20 restaurants," Smith said. "I like to cook at this restaurant every night, so I think I'll just keep doing that."

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