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Stark Fine Dining

By Susen Foster

Having watched the various dreams of this man become reality several times during the years of our acquaintance, I am no longer surprised when he tackles a new and usually ambitious endeavor.

Kevin Stark of Pauls Valley, Okla., is well known around the country, as well as the state, for various projects that range from his undeniably fine oils, acrylics and watercolors, to his ongoing passion for action figures. In fact, it is his collection that was the catalyst for Oklahoma's Toy & Action Figure Museum.

He is best known for his ability to take something common and make it uncommonly wonderful--a list too long to include.

It is apparent he has done it again with his latest project, Stark Fine Dining, an upscale steakhouse located in what was Valley Vineyard & Winery, a gorgeous 10-acre setting visible from Interstate 35 at Exit 72--the gateway to Pauls Valley.

The vineyard remains alive and well, but the true drawing card is the unique approach Kevin and his longtime friend Karen Chatham have taken to provide area residents and Interstate travelers with a captivating site for an exquisite meal without feeling like you have to wear a suit and tie.

"It is a lovely setting to dress up for a special night," agree Stark and Chatham. "But it isn't stuffy or arrogant. We want our guests to feel comfortable while they enjoy a great meal."

The two artists and visionaries brought the best of their brainstorming to the table along with experience in the industry. Though Kevin's was years ago as he worked his way from waiter to staff manager in a restaurant during college days; Karen's is a little more recent as she has trained in Restaurant Management with Marriott Corporation.

Added to their own abilities and expertise are those of the two chefs whose combined skills and visions have a synergistic magic in the kitchen.

Of course, "the truth," as they say, "is in the pudding." And the only way to find out if all I have told you about Stark Fine Dining is verifiable is to try it for yourself.

Having always been a "foodie," Stark, a frequent traveler, has made a point of visiting restaurants everywhere he goes, keeping an eye toward perfection and a mental list of what he would do if given the opportunity to fulfill yet another dream--that of owning his own eatery.

So, if you only have time to drop in and see the amazing art created specifically by Stark to don the restaurant's walls as you enjoy a glass of wine and plate of delicious hors d'oeuvres; be prepared to schedule a future night out to savor the allure of the menu, with entrees to satisfy most anyone's palate plus seasonal changes that will keep you coming back.

Stark Fine Dining is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to10 p.m., though you are welcome to drop in earlier and stay a little later to enjoy the ambiance.

Sunday Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the restaurant is closed on Mondays.

To reach the restaurant, Exit 72 at Pauls Valley and take the west side Service Road north 1/2 mile to entrance. You cannot miss it. Please call for updates and entertainment 405-207-9829.

Editor's note: Susen Foster is the owner of Pecan Cottage Bed & Breakfast in Pauls Valley, Okla. She is the author of numerous travel books. Susen can be reached at www.greatersuccess.com or call 580-622-5408.



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