Edmond’s Bonafide Taco Jedi
Edmond native Chris McKenna contributed to several iconic OKC restaurants. He’s returned home to lend his creativity and experience to Edmond’s burgeoning local food scene. Chris says, “Over the next five years, I predict a boom of quality restaurants in Edmond. Edmond people want good food, they’re willing to drive for it. I’m excited to bring the people what they want.”
Chris McKenna grew up in an immersive farm-to-table experience – before it became a trend. On his grandparent’s farm, Chris worked in the garden, gathered eggs and tended to the fowl. He recalls, “On a hot summer day, you really can’t beat a fresh tomato sandwich sliced and dressed with a dash of salt and pepper.” One of Chris’ first contributions to the family table was gravy to accompany homemade biscuits.
Chris attended Edmond schools and fondly recalls learning to chop and saute in home economics, but hadn’t yet considered food as a career. After he graduated from Edmond Memorial in 1992, his love for cooking continued to blossom. His friends devoured all his creations and assured him he could make a living out of cooking.
A Passion Turns Professional
Chris has worked for, managed, and led the openings of several restaurants like County Line BBQ, Carraba’s, Fish City Grill, Stella, Tamazul, Packard’s New American Kitchen, Hunny Bunny Biscuit Co., Oso and Frida. With a wide range of experience, Chris has brought a gem to Edmond with the opening of Taqueria El Camino. Chris’ convivial demeanor and creative incorporation of local and traditional ingredients has built him a reputation that’s worth following. Tacos are Chef McKenna’s sweet spot. In fact, Dave Cathey, The Food Dude, describes him as “a bonafide taco jedi.” Chris lives and cooks by the mantra “Inhale tacos. Exhale negativity.”
A Change of Pace
Chris connected with Happy Plate Concepts and entertained the option of returning to Edmond. He said it was an easy choice, “I feel grounded here. I love being back.” Shortly after the agreement was finalized, he, his wife Hailey, and corgi Gus moved to Edmond.
Happy Plate Concepts owns and operates the original S&B Burger Joint off 50th in Oklahoma City, Sunnyside Diners, has recently opened Taqueria El Camino in the Edmond Railyard, and has other Edmond concepts baking. Chris has a hand in each concept, but he focuses primarily on the Taqueria.
Notable Chefs are Migrating to Edmond
“Many of us grew up in the OKC culinary scene and had a craving for something different,” Chris says. The experience of opening a restaurant in Edmond has made him appreciate his hometown. “Edmond has a lot to offer. It has it’s stereotypes, but the notion that there’s nothing here, just isn’t true anymore.” He notes that the loyalty and kindness of customers in Edmond is refreshing. Chris says he wants to be part of something that betters the town that raised him and looks forward to contributing to the expansion of Edmond’s culinary scene.
For more information, visit www.taqueriaelcamino.com