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Best of Norman 2022: Getting to know Norman's top offerings

The Depot

The Depot on Sept. 26.

To all OU Daily readers,

When I arrived in Norman my freshman year, my first stop with my family was at the Classic 50’s Drive-in. I wanted to get a taste of what being a college student would be like and try food from what I had heard was a “classic Norman spot.”

In my time at camp crimson, someone had told me that if I don’t get the “Sprittle” from Classic 50’s, which I later learned was a drink made from sprite with skittles inside, during my freshman year, then I won’t graduate on time. Thankfully I was able to get it right as I pulled in.

From then on, every day was a new experience. I was living in a different state at a new time in my life, and I wanted to try everything.

Over the years I’ve been here, I’ve discovered all of my favorite places: the restaurants I go to after a long day of classes and the cafes I visit when I need a little pick me up. 

I’ve seen places open after I arrive, places close that had been open forever and longtime favorites stand the test of time. Norman has many great spots that have come together to build up the city we know today, from classics like the Mont and the Deli to newer additions like Velvet Taco and Rusty’s.

During my time at the Daily, from being a news intern my first semester of freshman year or now as the culture editor, I have told the stories of places and people throughout Norman. Covering restaurant openings, deep dives into unknown university celebrities or coverage of Norman’s biggest events are all a part of the work I get to do here.

One of my favorite events I could cover while at the Daily was last year’s Norman Music Festival. In a magazine similar to the one you’re holding now, we took a deep dive into all the big acts headline each day of the festival, some of the local talent who performed at the event, and the administrative team behind it. 

I was able to interview artists from Oklahoma who share a passion for creating music and sharing it with their communities, and being able to hear and tell their stories made me even more excited about the work I was putting out.

Having been three years since the last Norman Music Festival, and my first since arriving at the university, it was a unique moment for me. I look back on that coverage as one of the most special pieces that I was able to put together, and for the Daily as well, as that publication was a test run for the publication style we have put together this year.

This is my first year as culture editor, and I’m happy to be in this position writing and producing content about a community that has given me so much over these past two years. I am at my happiest when I’m working on something I’m passionate about, so I hope you’ll keep up with all of our content on our website,, and with our themed editions in our newspaper racks across campus.

I’m always asking people what their favorite place in this city is, and I almost never get a duplicate answer, which always makes me happy. There are so many places in this town that have significance to one person or another, and I hope that one day I can visit them all.

I can confidently say that, no matter where my life takes me, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the places I have found in Norman. These past two years have been the best of my life, and as I move on to year three, I can’t wait to continue my journey in this town.

As you read through the pages of this edition, you’ll find the places within Norman you’ve come to know and love. We’ve split them into 12 different categories: breakfast, cafes, American food, pizza, patio dining, international food, high-end restaurants, dessert, entertainment, hobby stores, exhibit halls and parks.

Our staff has highlighted three of these places under each category, and we’ve also included the top three places in each category as voted by the readers at the bottom of each page.

The final page features the OU Daily Menu, which is a collection of all the best menu items, according to us, from each category. I hope next time you visit one of these Norman staples, you’ll browse our menu and try some of our favorite Norman dishes.

This is the first edition of this guide, so I am thankful to all of you who have picked it up. I am proud to work with an amazing team, and I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as I did creating it. 

Silas Bales

Best of Norman Cover Photo


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