The summer doesn’t just mean planning trips to visit the great outdoors or family members; there are plenty of meals in small-town Oklahoma worth their own trip or to make a detour when headed out of state.
- Kumback Lunch in Perry has operated since 1926.
North of Oklahoma City
Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman fame has helped transform the small town of Pawhuska into one of Oklahoma’s biggest tourist attractions. The Pioneer Woman Mercantile, 532 Kihekah Ave., in Pawhuska, a 25,000 square-foot, two-story building featuring a full-service bakery and restaurant, standalone coffee shop and retail store, attracts an average of 6,000 customers per day to a town of just under 3,500 residents, according to Country Living.
The Drummonds’ imprint in Pawhuska also includes an eight-room designer hotel, The Boarding House, which features a steakhouse and saloon, and a standalone wood-fired P-Town Pizza concept.
Kumback Lunch, 625 Delaware Ave., in Perry is an icon of the town of Perry (population 5,126) since 1926 and still carries an interesting art deco “Eat” sign and message board. The lounge specializes in down-home comfort food like chicken-fried steak, club sandwiches and huge yeast rolls, and its walls lined with 90 years of memorabilia make the restaurant a de facto museum and time portal.
- A rib-eye at Ole Plantation Restaurant in Medicine Park
West of Oklahoma City
If you’re on your way to Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, consider a detour to the town of Medicine Park, near the park’s entrance. With an ideal river running through town, it is one of the most scenic spots in the western part of the state.
The Old Plantation Restaurant, 140 E. Lake Drive, is located in a structure that dates to the early 1900s, and the restaurant has seen a renaissance over the last decade since a renovation in 2008. Its food will hit all of the comfort notes and offer a great view of Medicine Creek.
- Pete’s Place in Krebs also houses Choc Beer Brewery
East of Oklahoma City
There is no more important food-only destination in small-town Oklahoma than Krebs, which is the state’s own Little Italy. Pittsburg County is home to a high confluence of Italian restaurants between Krebs and McAlester. Pete’s Place, 120 SW Eighth St., is a destination that also houses Choc Beer, the oldest brewery in the state. Isle of Capri, 150 SW Seventh St., offers Italian classics in a 1950s setting. Lovera’s, 95 NW Sixth St., provides the chance to see how the cheese that supplies much of the state is made and to get a great deli sandwich.
- A meat and cheese plate from Lovera’s Grocers in Krebs
South of Oklahoma City
The Artesian Hotel, Casino and Spa in Sulphur is a destination for its all-in-one luxury hotel, restaurant and casino. Its restaurant, Springs at The Artesian, 1001 W. First St., offers home-style classics as well as nods to Chickasaw cuisine, like the shrimp and pashofa, sautéed shrimp, fried pickled okra, onion jam and stewed hominy.
On a much more accessible note, Baker’s Pizza, 501 Ash St., in Maysville has earned its reputation as one of the state’s best pizza joints. Its buttery crust straddles the line between deep-dish and thin-crust pizza.
McGehee’s Catfish Restaurant, 13401 McGehee Road, in Marietta provides the opportunity to scope out the rolling hills of southern Oklahoma while dining on catfish and all the fixings in a unique setting: an abandoned airport.