Pelican’s Restaurant owner Jim Dolezel and his crew are busier than they’ve been in several years.
Pelican’s has been a popular, locally owned restaurant in Midwest City the last three decades, but its success hasn’t come without a few sacrifices and some lean times thanks to the 2005 Heritage Park mall closure. In fact, Pelican’s is the longest thriving full-service restaurant in Midwest City.
An expanded catering service, the implementation of some new menu items and the promotion of the old-time favorites have Pelican’s on top of its game despite heavy competition from the chain restaurants along the busy SE 29th Street corridor.
The catering services, quite naturally, caters to churches and community groups.
“People tell us it is some of the best food they’ve had catered because we are very selective on what we cater,” Dolezel said.
When dining at the restaurant, some of the favorites include coconut shrimp, Hawaiian chicken, BBQ ribs, Mahi, tuna and a wide selection of steaks. Lest we should forget, Pelican’s offers a salad bar that routinely receives rave reviews for its selection of items and freshness.
Given the restaurant’s name, it was obvious that the Fisherman’s Platter should be reviewed. It included fried oysters, fried clam strips and fried Calamari. Without a doubt, it was fabulous.
In addition, the catfish proved to be an A+ choice. It arrived hot at the table with Pelican’s version of cocktail sauce, which is unique. Just between us, they use chili sauce as the base instead of Ketchup. The accompanying baked potato, served fully loaded, is a meal of its own. Drowned in butter, cheese, sour cream and chives, it could be an independent entrée.
For diners who want to avoid the dinner rush, Pelican’s offers the popular early bird menu 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays.
On occasions, Dolezel said he adds menu items depending on the wants and wishes of his customers. He’s also an astute businessman who watches patterns and trends in his industry.
“Know your market,” he said. “The trend now is going back to the mom and pop places. We’re getting the same type of trends as California, where people know the customers’ names, who you are, they know your kids and you get the one-on-one service that you can’t get elsewhere. It’s all about attention to detail.”
As a restaurant owner, Dolezel keeps moving all day and he enjoys it. In fact, he’s an avid, medal-winning runner who competes in track meets across the country for his age group. Some of his favorite events include the sprints, hurdles, long jump and pole vault.
So, if you see someone sprinting through the restaurant, don’t be too concerned. It’ll probably be Dolezel keeping things on track.
Pelican’s is located at 291 N. Air Depot Road and its telephone number is 732-4394.
Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday and Tuesday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
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