(Julie’s view) If there’s one thing I’ve learned about being a part of the Red Dirt Chronicles for this short time, it’s that there is no topic or interviewee off limits. So when Kelly mentioned wanting to investigate some of the local music talent, I knew I had the perfect person to interview: Jim Fields. Jim is part owner of the Dan McGuinness Pub franchise in the Moore and Edmond areas and my ex-husband. Don’t freak out.
Jim is originally from Bethany but connected with Lee Adams, owner of Adams Restaurants, while he was living in Memphis, TN. Jim worked for T.J. Mulligan’s at an entry-level position and gradually worked his way into management. All the while he was missing his home state of Oklahoma. It took some convincing, but Jim talked Lee into bypassing Arkansas all together, and they opened the Moore location in November 2006 and the Edmond location in September 2010.
We met up with Jim at the at the Edmond store. He was in a meeting so we took a seat at one of the tall pub tables near the bar. The sweetest waitress took good care of us while I tried to give Kelly a little bit of background information on the restaurants. Jim joined us and he and Kelly talked for a while about some of the local music talent.
But here’s the best part: Jim told me he had something that used to belong to me and he wanted to know if I recognized it. We walked to another section of the restaurant and I spotted what he was talking about immediately.
At the bottom of a big shelving unit there it sat: a tarnished brass planter from the ‘80’s. Instead of a plant, it now holds silverware rolled in the classic dark brown napkins that touch the lives of hundreds of patrons each week. No, I didn’t demand that he give it back. I would like to know what happened to those Peaches Records crates though. I think I will look for those on my next visit back.
(Kelly’s take on things) After we wrapped our interview time at the Gray Owl with Kathy Moore, I think our heads were swimming. She had provided so many new words, acronyms, educational information about composting, advocacy, farming and other things that I needed time to process. I think Julie did too. She actually said that: “I need to process for a bit.” Then I think she said, “I’m going to do this with a metaphor…” You know when you begin processing with metaphors, you’re grasping for ways to condense information. Maybe this Red Dirt Rambler stuff wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought!
We got in the car, Julie gave me her metaphorical take on our conversation at the coffee shop and it was at that moment that I started feeling like I knew her better. She was sharp and had a good grasp on life. “Yup,” I thought, somewhere between the third and fourth metaphor (I was soon throwing them about as well), “This Rambler thing is gonna be just fine.”
I can’t even remember where we were headed, but I think it was closed. We had already cruised past one of my local Norman favs (Bison Witches, on Main Street), so I said, “Hey, La Baguette is just down the road. Wanna try that?” Julie was fine with the idea so we stopped in, had a great lunch, and then headed to a couple of the local shops: Birdie, on campus corner, then Stash on Main Street – east end.
Birdie is a great little shop that sells flowers, sustainable gifts and clothing, and just smells so good! I’m trying to figure out a way I could use one of their amazing hand-cut-from-a-single-sheet-of-plastic chandeliers. You have to see them to believe them! The Stash concept is basically this: the owners run around to all the estate sales, garage sales, etc. – gleans the good stuff…then brings it back for you to buy. My daughter really likes that place, as does my brother. However, I think I just wasn’t in the mood to shop because it was right after Christmas. I have to give them credit for a darn good sign. It reads: “Stash – Good Things For All.”
THEN we head to Dan McGuinness – in Edmond, not Moore. Jim Fields evidently spends more time there because it’s a newer location. I was fine with that. Frankly, I didn’t even know Julie HAD an ex-husband until that very moment. I guess I just never came up with the question: “So, do you have any ex-husbands? Where do they live? What do they do?”
If I meet you someday and I start asking that question, you’ll now know why. Also – one random thing…I’m glad Julie filled you in on the restaurant background of DanMcGuinness. I used to work for an institutional food distributor for seven years, and tend to NOT want to dig into the gory details of the “who, what, when, where” any more on the restaurant scene. She saved me, and she didn’t even know it.
We headed up I-35, stopped in, and I was surprised at how the place had changed since it had been “Coaches.” Edmond is my turf, but I don’t get to the south side much because we’re sort of out in the boondocks of suburbia – – we live in that dangerous little line right between the city and country, where our land is actually zoned for animals, but if one of our neighbor’s started keeping an animal…I’m not sure how the others would take it.
So, we get there and Julie has a hankering for sweet tea. I order a Bud Light which is really not like me, but we were in a pub! I MISS OXFORD, for crying out loud! Jim comes over, and for the next 45 minutes tells us a little about the evolution of Dan McGuinness and why it’s now here in Oklahoma. Mainly, it’s because he has been working to get back home since he left a long time ago. We know how that feels, right? The pub is evidently a place where you can enjoy music quite a bit…all kinds, rock, C&W – mostly covers. He said most of their bands are local talent who were full-time musicians in their earlier years, but had different lives now – – yet still love to play. I like these kinds of bands because they play without reservation, and they play because they choose to play. That makes for a good night out with friends. Dan McGuinness is also, however, a place where musicians stop in to hang out as well. Jim said Stoney LaRue was just there a few weeks back.
The music industry is just like any other – you get to know the sub-culture, then you get connected to each other, then you more than likely can always find a friend who knows a friend who makes it big. The Dan McGuinness atmosphere is comfortable. It reminds me a bit of Earl’s on N. Western, or Juniors…kind of a “guy” place in a way. But I felt comfortable and our waitress was great.
I heard about the brass planter, the Peaches Crates, and a little about mutual friendships Jim and Julie shared. Mostly, though, I just looked around and tried to decide if I could recommend the place. The beer was cold, the place was comfortable, the waitress was great, Jim was cool.
I can recommend it…I’d go back soon. I hope you do too. Tell ’em we said “hi,” and ask Jim how it is he picked such a stellar receptacle to hold the flatware and linen napkin roll ups.
Read all the Red Dirt Rambler posts here.