Be sure to vote for us in the OK Gazette’s ‘BEST OF’
The Iguana Mexican Grill, in short, is your local spot where you can come and enjoy yourself every day of the week. Our menu is designed around our extensive knowledge of tequila pairing, yet stands alone unto itself. When you combine the atmosphere with a traditional style cuisine and a special variety, we can assure you that you and your family will be coming back.
The downtown Iguana Mexican Grill is the long awaited rebirth of the Iguana name. What started out as a casual Nichols Hills restaurant, turned into a city full of fans and followers. Steve Mason, owner of Iguana, had made a very difficult decision to close the Nichols Hills location. Citing building and parking problems, the restaurant was in need of resurgence.
Setting his sights on the urban crawl, Steve waited until he felt the timing was right, and enlisted Robert Painter as a partner to get the project rolling. Their hopes were to gain new customers and while welcoming back the old with the classics from the Western Avenue location. This June of 2013, our downtown Grill location will celebrate its fifth birthday, and yet still be affectionately known as “the little taco stand by the railroad tracks”.
In these five years, we continually pride ourselves on our local ties. From large corporate catering events for local businesses to remembering familiar, friendly faces coming through the front doors each night, we appreciate our place in Oklahoma City. Our downtown location has been voted “Best Downtown Restaurant” in the Oklahoma Gazette’s “Best of” four years consecutively. Last year The Iguana was finally voted “Best Mexican Restaurant”. Here at the Iguana Mexican Grill, we take our accolades seriously, and have both the locals and visitors of Oklahoma City to thank.
One of the most frequently asked questions here is, “Why do you have a bus?” Our response will always be, “Why wouldn’t we have a bus?” Well, it‘s called the Black Pearl, and it’s for you. You can consider the Black Pearl as your transport to and from many different events around town ranging from Oklahoma City Thunder games to concerts. Park in Iguana’s lot, dine, enjoy some of our handmade margaritas and let the Black Pearl be your transportation. The Iguana even lets you rent it for whatever occasion you can find; the Black Pearl could be your next taxi. Do you want The Iguana to bring your party to the restaurant or do you want a mobile party where you can let loose? The Iguana Mexican Grill has you covered. Just ask us for details.
New to The Iguana Mexican Grill’s Calendar! Iguana Margarita June —
Hopefully you were able to be here on National Margarita Day on February 22nd, but if not, we’re doing it again for you. Back by popular demand, it’s Iguana Margarita Day. Around here, we don’t need a national holiday to break out the tequila, we just need a day.
The deal is, EVERY MONDAY IN JUNE, each margarita you order, we’re going to throw in one mini-taco for free; however, if you order an entire pitcher, we’re going to throw in a plate of cheese, black bean and jalapeno nachos for you. All day.
Robert Painter’s dream was to create a place where the masses would come to sit, relax, eat, and drink a bevy of tequila. As a result, The Iguana Mexican Grill has become one of the hottest downtown OKC restaurants earning him the nickname, “The Mayor of 9th Street.” The “Mayor” and the new Iguana opened its new doors on July 1, 2008. This new Iguana boasts 130 varieties of tequila, rustic and colorful decor, and enough fun from the music, wait staff, and patrons to always constitute an enjoyable visit. The new Iguana was born from his love of the original Iguana Lounge and Mexican Grill on Western where he waited tables beginning in 1996. However, the “Little Taco Stand” down by the railroad tracks is making its own name in the community with its various sponsorships including the deadCENTER Film Festival and the always fun Tornado Alley Roller Girls roller derby team, its party-style “Black Pearl Iguana Bus” and Painter’s personal philanthropic work.
General Manager and Tequila Goddess
After having spent the last nine years of my life building my career in the restaurant business, I have earned the title, lovingly, as “bar fly”. This is a well deserved title. For most of those nine years I cocktail waitressed, tended or managed a bar and since have fallen in love with what I do. My greatest passion is wine and I have worked at two of the finest wine bars in Oklahoma City where my knowledge of wine and other fine spirits grew. At those restaurants, my service skills also grew almost to a meticulous point. Some think that I am far to meticulous, but I do not think that is possible. It is just a fine attention to detail. After joining the Iguana team, my passion for wine carried over into a passion for tequila. My goal is to have one of the largest selections of fine tequila in the state, if not the country. But since Oklahoma cannot get all the tequilas available I will have to settle for the State. I enjoy educating people on the differences between the tequilas in an attempt to rid them of that tequila experience most had on their 21st birthdays that lead them to never want another drop so long as they live. We are a part of something amazing here at Iguana and I am blessed to work with and learn from some of the greatest in the trade. I hope that soon we can share our passions with you.
Born and raised in the deep south, it’s no secret that my love of cooking stems from both my southern roots and my family. The women in my life were integral in instilling this love. My grandmother, my mother and my aunt had a large influence on me in the kitchen, and ever since I was able to see over the stove top, they were teaching me how to cook. After graduating high school in Alabama in 1995, I joined the army to pursue my dream as a food service specialist. It was my first experience in the business, but not my last. Following this eye-opening experience, I continued my education by attending Platt College in Oklahoma City, graduating with an associates of culinary arts. This is what really opened the door to a new world of possibilities and endeavors. When The Iguana Mexican Grill came into my life in 2009, I started out as a fry cook. Through the years, I somehow evolved and found myself leading the charge behind the lines. Through hard work and dedication to my craft, I found myself right where I am today. I can say with complete honesty that I love what I do, because I touch people doing what I’ve always wanted to do; I touch people through my food. I’m looking forward to many more years to come.