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Kitchen at Commonplace doesn't operate by the book

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White Bean Herb salad with feta cheese from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman]

White Bean Herb salad with feta cheese from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman]

Something special is cooking at The Kitchen at Commonplace, 1325 N Walker Ave., but it isn't just food.

What they do have to offer might be just what you're looking for during the shopping crush: humanity.

Those with cookbook collectors on their gift list will find plenty of great options at Commonplace Books to wrap and place under the tree. Maybe even a gourmet magazine or two for the stockings. But you'll also find something delicious to eat, or perhaps make a new friend, thanks to The Kitchen at Commonplace.

Chris Castro joined owner Ben Nockels at Commonplace over the summer, offering a unique dining option. This isn't a restaurant so much as it is a friendly kitchen with as many warm smiles and helpful hints as menu options.

Castro isn't a classically trained chef, but his passion for food and cooking is profound. And his talent is undeniable. Drop by for breakfast tacos during any Sunday brunch and find out for yourself. What he's able to produce with a commercial toaster-oven, a couple of Instant Pots and induction burners is as eye-popping as it is palate-pleasing.

What makes The Kitchen at Commonplace unique is its patronage and the relationship the two hold.

Breakfast service starts about 8:30 a.m. every morning, coffee is available a little earlier if you're in the neighborhood. Toast comes with five different toppings, but you don't want to miss the avocado and egg — add smoked salmon for a heartier meal. Castro also serves polenta made from heirloom corn that's topped with chile and garlic, pancetta and greens or berries and cream.

Castro is as accomplished behind the bar as he is the stove. Gin and tonic fans won't want to miss the Rose Gin and Tonic.

All those items are available throughout the day along with three salad options and daily specials, but dinner is another matter. Served at 7 p.m., Castro executes a family dinner for guests served family style.

Commonplace, of course, isn't the only place in town to buy books. Full Circle Books is also locally owned and been in the book business for decades. Nockles even worked there a while to learn the ropes. Full Circle also has a cafe, beer and wine available. (They even carry a hardback version of my book "Classic Restaurants of Oklahoma City.") Best of Books in Edmond is another fantastic choice.

But what's special about Commonplace is only partially a well-curated book selection and terrific food.

Once 2019 engages, we'll circle back with Commonplace and share the story of how hospitality became the common ground for food and literature to build a community.

"We had a couple dining with us recently who did the coolest thing," Nockels said. "They were seated and waiting for their food. One of them asked if it would be OK to change seats once their food arrived. We said that would be perfectly fine and that we would deliver their food where ever they were sitting. So they got up and moved to sit closer to a gentleman who was dining alone."

Ben explained the couple didn't know the man but immediately struck up a conversation with him that continued through the rest of their visit.

If you think that means talk is cheap at The Kitchen at Commonplace, you're not wrong. Conversation certainly is the specialty of the house, and they don't charge extra for it.

Related Photos
<p>Gift items from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman]</p>

Gift items from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9b05d4467c6956928a122e495136a9f9.jpg" alt="Photo - Gift items from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] " title=" Gift items from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Gift items from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b9610f4465f69b7efd7bdae6eec1eec5.jpg" alt="Photo - Espanta Steppe, right, and Michelle Lavasque pet Boz in the bookstore at The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Midtown. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] " title=" Espanta Steppe, right, and Michelle Lavasque pet Boz in the bookstore at The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Midtown. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Espanta Steppe, right, and Michelle Lavasque pet Boz in the bookstore at The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Midtown. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2750fbc3856296fa591286de0ed081f6.jpg" alt="Photo - Commonplace Books opened in 2017 with the The Kitchen added in July. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] " title=" Commonplace Books opened in 2017 with the The Kitchen added in July. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Commonplace Books opened in 2017 with the The Kitchen added in July. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9898d4404110bc7afadad2c917146461.jpg" alt="Photo - Avocado & Egg Toast with smoked salmon from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] " title=" Avocado & Egg Toast with smoked salmon from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Avocado & Egg Toast with smoked salmon from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6e7d537d9f3bdb62f51fcfe178a38842.jpg" alt="Photo - Gifts for sale at The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] " title=" Gifts for sale at The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Gifts for sale at The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e91424c7d217899c509d0bcad8448296.jpg" alt="Photo - Pancetta & Greens from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] " title=" Pancetta & Greens from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Pancetta & Greens from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ac8402230c04c081d7db065f47fbe093.jpg" alt="Photo - Coctails crafted by Chris Castro are available at The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] " title=" Coctails crafted by Chris Castro are available at The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Coctails crafted by Chris Castro are available at The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-eadb604f8f78bd0a0309703c270c0c15.jpg" alt="Photo - Boz is among the most beloved staff at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] " title=" Boz is among the most beloved staff at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Boz is among the most beloved staff at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2d27f4d4061c0db907dfb8f123abee65.jpg" alt="Photo - White Bean Herb salad with feta cheese and Avocado and Egg Toast with smoked salmon from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] " title=" White Bean Herb salad with feta cheese and Avocado and Egg Toast with smoked salmon from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> White Bean Herb salad with feta cheese and Avocado and Egg Toast with smoked salmon from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-459f9b170d200234f4b3566b3e49ef2c.jpg" alt="Photo - Magazines from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] " title=" Magazines from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Magazines from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-058800d2414af304df4ed37d5ba53b9b.jpg" alt="Photo - White Bean Herb salad with feta cheese from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] " title=" White Bean Herb salad with feta cheese from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> White Bean Herb salad with feta cheese from The Kitchen at Commonplace Books in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Dave Cathey

The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene. Read more ›

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