Good Food, Good for You
Delicious, convenient and healthy, most restaurants make you pick one. But Whitney McClendon is going for the trifecta.
When Provision Kitchen opened in early October, McClendon had her hands full. Not only was she trying to renovate a space in Nichols Hills Plaza for the bricks-and-mortar location of her dream restaurant, but she also wanted to overhaul the way the people of Oklahoma City think of good food that’s also good for you.
“This is my baby,” McClendon says while standing on the white-tiled floor of the main dining area. “Anything that enters those doors, there’s a reason we choose it, a reason we picked it. We want to give people a new experience in great-tasting food that’s good for them. I can’t wait to show people—we are so excited.”
Provision Kitchen features chef-prepared entrées, sides and freshly-tossed salads that are ready-made to eat on site, or to take away and enjoy for a later meal.
They will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts.
All the ingredients for the entrées are grown locally, either at Provision Kitchen Farms just down the road or from other local producers.
McClendon said her passion for food began in school, where at Baylor she studied epidemiology and biostatistics. After years of studying the effects of food on people’s bodies, McClendon said she began cooking healthier herself, using fresh ingredients and switching to organic when it made sense.
After awhile, she could look at a plate of food and give a calorie count that was usually less than 20 calories off.
While working at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, she learned how important a proper diet can be when it comes to fighting off the disease.
After she and her husband moved to Oklahoma City, a little seed was planted in her head for an idea for a restaurant that would not only make healthy food that tastes good, but also be able to make it convenient for everyone.
“I got a chance to really know the city,” she said. “My passion is cooking and my profession is public health and prevention and I saw the market here and I think it’s the perfect time for a place like Provision Kitchen. We have an educated population, passionate about their food and crazy about local community… I just knew it could be huge.”
But the transition for McClendon would be huge too. She had never run a restaurant before and would need help, so she put out a call for a head chef who might be looking to make some noise in the Oklahoma City food game.
That’s when Beth Lyon stepped in.
Lyon, who has cut her teeth in well-known kitchens across the metro including Republic Gastropub, Kitchen No. 324 and The Mule, had just helped open Anchor Down near Deep Deuce.
She said when the opportunity came up to make a menu and cook dishes that was locally grown and designed to get people thinking differently about their food, it sounded almost too good to pass up.
“I like to tell people that I had my dream job already,” she said. “But Provision was like if your dream job had a dream job. Hearing the concept and Whitney’s vision—we just clicked. This felt like validation for why I chose my profession in the first place.”
Together, the two helped craft a menu that uses fresh, local ingredients, that creates flavorful dishes to take to work for lunch, or to feed the family for dinner. Entrées are made fresh daily, fully cooked, chilled for maximum freshness, and served in oven- and microwavesafe containers for easy reheating. Each entrée comes marked with a ‘use by’ date, so you can grab a meal for right now or stock your fridge with several of your favorites for a few days. Provision makes glutenfree, organic and paleo meals.
McClendon and Lyon get their ingredients grown just seven minutes away from the restaurant at the Provision Organic Farm west of Interstate-35 near Wilshire. The 160-acre farm, run by Kat Gant, features acres of vegetables, onsite composting and livestock operations. The farm follows sustainable farming practices to provide an optimal environment for the animals and for the growth of some of the most nutritious vegetables possible.
McClendon says Provision Organic Farm is committed to organic farming methods including the exclusive use of non-GMO and soyfree animal feeds.
“I feel like Whitney has really busted through the doors and says she will accept nothing less,” Lyon said. “This is what I want and this is how it will be. There is nothing that’s hidden, it’s honest and real. I’m sold I believe in it, I live it.”
Provision Kitchen: Nichols Hills Plaza; Oklahoma City, OK