A Synergy of Freshness and Style
Occasionally in life, events merge, developing an overlap that some call coincidence or fate. Whatever it is called, The Manhattan is no stranger to the phenomenon. Ironically located on Park Avenue, it seems The Manhattan was meant to occupy their small but functional setting. Sitting on the ground floor of the Oklahoma Tower, a high-rise that stretches 434 feet in downtown Oklahoma City, The Manhattan nests in the corner spot, serving lunch, happy hour drinks and snacks, dinner and weekend brunch.
Hard to miss, their logo proudly stands at the corner of Harvey and Park. The Raven and monolith inspired Bruce Rinehart’s logo for The Manhattan. As Bruce recalls the moment of genius, he giggles. Roy T. Oliver, who commissioned the sculpture, became excited as they discussed how their visions could overlap. Because of the synergy, social media often tags #undertheraven in reference to The Manhattan.
Named for the cocktail, The Manhattan features all 14 styles of the drink. According to a Skip Hill original, which hangs near the bar, a Manhattan cocktail consists of ice, whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters and a cherry. Dolin Vermouth delivers the sweetest pairing.
Having opened almost 30 restaurants throughout his career, Bruce is a seasoned owner/entrepreneur. Previously a part of Legal Seafood in Boston, whose motto is “If it isn’t fresh, it isn’t Legal,” Bruce embodies the same philosophy. Three times a week seafood is flown into Oklahoma to maintain the genuine flavor of the catch.
Because of the specialized equipment in his kitchen, Bruce accomplishes more in less time.
“We’ve got great food. It’s affordable and it comes out fast,” he says.
On opening day, six guys sat down on their 35-minute lunch break.
Bruch guaranteed, “I’ll have your lunch out, no matter what you order, in eight minutes.”
It took him nine, and he remembers that “they were wicked impressed,” still having time to talk before returning to work.
Lunch is a big part of what The Manhattan does. Already known for his crabcake from Rococo restaurant, Bruce didn’t plan to serve it at this restaurant, “but as soon as my crazy chef pants hit the streets, everyone kept coming up asking, ‘You’re gonna have the crabcakes, right?'”
Sitting atop a mild Thai chili cream sauce, the crabcakes are beyond delicious. A steady trail of patrons and friends expressed enthusiasm over the quality and vibe of the place. Originally the restaurant planned to be open Monday to Friday, but now “we’ll have a Saturday and Sunday brunch with omelets and waffles in the dining room,” he says.
Owning a restaurant has stressful elements, but his wife Amber supports him, along with his boys Will and Brak.
“My bride is my partner in everything,” Bruce says. They attend events together and Bruce values his family above the rest.
At home and at work, he cares about pure ingredients. He knows the difference between the industry’s “turn and burn” philosophy and a true dining experience. What Bruce offers at The Manhattan is truly unique. When downtown employees swing by for a quick lunch break, they are immediately asked, ” Are you time sensitive for lunch? Do you gotta get back or are you relaxin’?”
The verdict is in: Downtown needed this. It’s not pretentious, not in a hotel and serves the best cured pastrami on rye. It’s “spot on,” as Bruce would say. And he’s right. Each dish, including Manhattan-style clam chowder, the lobster roll and the pastrami sandwich on rye with whole grain mustard, tasted exactly as they should.
Bruce Rinehart is committed to excellence. The Manhattan has quickly gained enthusiastic attention from the downtown crowd. This support is, in part, due to Bruce’s authentic nature. He truly cares for his staff and customers like family. Donning wildly-patterned chef pants, his iconic look can be seen at the downtown location several times a week. Truly in his element, engages customers and takes care of his own.
He’s nailed the flavors, delivered on the atmosphere and killed it on the freshness. No other restaurant has accomplished what The Manhattan has: It legitimized seafood in Oklahoma.
The Manhattan is located at 210 Park Ave., Suite 150. For more information, visit TheManhattanOKC.com or call 405.605.5300.