Julie Kennedy was wearing an orange and white Chevron print apron her grandmother had made her when she took our order for breakfast. She welcomed us warmly, accommodated all our special requests, chatted about the restaurant and quickly went about her business. It was Saturday morning, and Ya-Ya’s Place in Carney, Oklahoma was filling up fast.
It wasn’t long before our order came, and I must say, the food rivaled any breakfast cafe around the area. The décor was managed with a sense of humor The kitchen was clean, as was the bathroom. And, we were checked on during our meal not too many times, and not too few.
Julie’s husband and child were in one of the booths enjoying their own breakfast. Her mother-in-law owns the business, and her sister-in-law was cooking that morning. I think it’s safe to say the entire family is invested in making Ya-Ya’s succeed. The locals appeared comfortable and were all cleaning their plates as the morning progressed. Continue reading Every Point OK Food: Ya-Ya’s in Carney, Oklahoma→
Now that lambing is wrapping up, Sue and I are able to get away from the farm for more than just critical errands or to go to work. A couple of Sundays ago, we stole away to the Rock Cafe in Stroud for a leisurely Sunday breakfast. Our friends Lisa and Linda from Living Kitchen Farm in Depew met us there, and we proceeded to pig out. Reviewing the Rock seems a little unfair since it is one of my favorite places, dive or otherwise, in this part of the state. However, I want y’all to know what a great place it is so you can visit yourself.
The Rock Cafe has been a Route 66 landmark since it opened in 1939. The current owner, Dawn Welch, got it listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 after four years of hard paperwork. In 2008, it was badly burned in a fire, but reopened almost a year to the day later, completely restored. It’s been featured in television shows and in the movie Cars. Before the Turner Turnpike opened, it was a Greyhound bus stop. Today, it’s open seven days a week, serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Without a doubt, breakfast is my favorite. The fare is not just standard Okie-diner-ham-and-eggs.
No trip to the Rock Cafe for breakfast would be complete without trying the beignets. They aren’t exactly standard New Orleans style–more like biscuits meet Bourbon Street–but they are scrumptious. We had an order with our coffee while we waited on the rest of our breakfast to arrive. As luck would have it, each of us ordered something different from the menu. Sue was in a mood for crepes, Linda got the pancakes, Lisa had french toast and an omelet (she has a hollow leg, I swear), and I had the burrito.
Our food arrived so quickly, there were still beignets left in the basket. All of it was hot and fresh. After looking at Lisa’s french toast, I wish I had tried it, but I really liked the burrito. It was grilled, making the tortilla wrap crispy and creating a contrast between the crispy outside and the warm, mushy ham-and-cheese center. Sue raved about her crepes, Linda’s pancake stack covered her plate, and by the time we were done, her plate was clean along with the rest of the ones at the table! All of us agreed it was one of the best meals we’d had for a Sunday breakfast in quite a while. Continue reading “Red Dirt Dives” Reviews: Rock Cafe, Stroud→
Editor’s Note: We are happy to welcome Nancy Osborn, a lifetime okie and owner of Cordero Farms, to the RDC. She’ll be contributing a series she’s entitled the “Red Dirt Dives” approximately once a month. Glad to have you on board, Nancy!~ RDK
Sometimes you try a restaurant because a friend has recommended it. Other times it’s because it’s close to where you live or where you are the moment you get hungry. Still other times something pulls you there, like the billboards every five miles on I-90 in the middle of South Dakota praising the virtues of Wall Drug. In the case of a little barbecue joint on Douglas north of Waterloo, it was the sign: a big yellow sign on Waterloo proclaiming “Railhead BBQ.” I loved the name and am a sucker for barbecue, so it was a no-brainer—Railhead BBQ immediately became our lunch destination.
What we found when we went 2 miles east and a half-mile north of the Waterloo exit was a low slung, rust colored concrete building that contrasted with the McMansions across the road. The parking lot in the back was empty, so Max had plenty of room to pull a 180 and park the truck and stock trailer. Inside, there was a room with two TVs blasting sports, each on different channels, and fifteen clean simple tables laid out in a grid. We grabbed a seat and started to dig into the menu. In addition to the standard barbecue fare, they featured a whole rotisserie chicken, a whole fried chicken (eight pieces, “a la Eischen’s”), and a selection of burgers and sandwiches. I really wanted the fried chicken but the menu indicated it would be a minimum of 20 minutes to prepare. I chose barbeque instead, thinking it would be faster and knowing Max needed to get home by 2. I ordered sliced beef, Sue ordered a two-meat combo with ribs and pulled pork, and Max also got the ribs. We all ordered sweet tea, a primary barometer of how I’m going to judge any restaurant.
As we waited for our baskets, I looked around. The décor tended towards the railroad theme with a 35 year-old railroad map of Oklahoma on the wall below a chalkboard train bulletin from the old Marlow station. But there were also pictures of sports and rodeo figures, some autographed, some not. Combined, it created some interest in what was otherwise a pretty basic room. I had lots and lots of time to look around, because it took almost 20 minutes for our dinners to arrive at our table, and by then, I was wishing I’d gone ahead and ordered the fried chicken! Even though it took awhile, it was sure worth the wait…