Legend's Cuisine Relies on Its Dedication to Freshness 3

Patrons Enjoy Homelike Comfort, Classy Decor and Excellent Service

Although Legend’s originated with 13 partners in 1967, only Rebecca Sparks and her husband, Joe, remain as the two official owners. Joe invested in the restaurant in 1968. Inadvertently supporting their idea of small business, Sparks began her career at Legends as a server in 1979. She eventually taught herself to work in every aspect of the restaurant. As acting co-owner since their marriage in 1995, she now manages the kitchen, bakes half of the desserts, and arranges the atmosphere all the way down to the floral centerpieces.

According to Sparks, the concept of the Legend’s cuisine relies on its dedication to freshness. They use farmer’s market produce (until recently, all tomatoes were provided by a local farmer whose farm ran out of business when he passed away), cut their own meat and cure their own pancetta and bacon.

Chef Ben Spears furthered the concept by explaining its hint of “classical and international fusion,” with their cuisine ranging from Chicken Crepes to Oklahoma Catfish.

Beyond their kitchen, Spears explained that Legend’s also infuses its own liquor. New additions to their craft cocktail concoctions are house-made cucumber vodka, chili vodka, ginger rum and their own sangria.

Beyond their idea of the restaurant, my initial response to the ambience was that of familial ties and tradition. The walls are lined with acrylic paintings created by Sparks’ mother. Artisanal bowls and stained glass window designs are displayed, all of which have been crafted by local artists throughout the years. They are in complete support of the local community.

A striking and lovable feature of this small business, located at 1313 W. Lindsey St., is that they employ the daughters and sons of past employees, making legacies of them all. They further their own vision of tradition even in their most internal business matters. Their ties to the community have not only inspired regulars to stick around for decades, but to be so faithful that they return time after time.

Every Friday and Saturday night (and don’t forget Sunday brunch until 3:30 p.m.), you can enjoy home-like comfort, classy décor and excellent service to the tune of jazz and classical piano played by Karen Khoury—an aspect that ties well with the chandeliered ceiling and glimmer of hanging wine glasses just waiting to grace your meal.

When asked what pairs well on their menus, I was recommended the Grapefruit Picatta, a sauce atop their Grilled Fresh Salmon Filet, as it goes well with both beer and wine. The Belgian import beer Tripel Karmelier matches its citrus taste, whereas the Kung Fu Girl Riesling contrasts it with its dry, sweet undertone.

One look at the menu, however, and the pairs that stood out to me were classic for my taste. Their lunch menu sandwich BBLTA (basil pesto, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and avocado on toasted Panini bread) and the Italian Vegetable Soup-of-the-Day paired with an unoaked Chardonnay added a boost to the basil pesto.

The soup caught my interest as my server listed the specials, but I did not expect it to be as flavorful as it was. Complementary fresh baked bread began my meal, but the soup gave it a kick-start.

To end my luncheon, the server informed me of the dessert options—a sin to miss. I paired the Lemon Cream Cake with Beringer White Zinfandel. The wine’s floral, peach and honey flavors made for a sticky sweet delight, and I have never been one to eat sugary meals. It is here that Sparks’ talent really come into perspective—sometimes one gets so lost in the atmosphere that the craftsmanship seems to naturally coalesce, but with food like this, tribute is simply unavoidable. My compliments to the chefs!

Legend’s Hours:

Sunday: 10 a.m.–9 p.m. and Sunday Brunch until 3:30 p.m.

Monday–Thursday: 11 a.m.–10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. –11 p.m.