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British Honeymoon Couple, 5-6 May 2013 Springfield and Oklahoma

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We are travelling from St Louis to Springfield and then Oklahoma in May. We are spending one night in both places and would like recommendations of somewhere good to eat (and drink) on those nights.

Are there any local events on those nights that we should consider visiting? We are adventurous diners looking for some "must-eat-here" recommendations.

Any help would be much appreciated! Many Thanks Tanya and Tom

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  1. I live in Tulsa - can you give me a hint as to what style of food you'd like? Are you looking for country fare like chicken fried steak or Barbecue or are you looking for our version of fine cooking? We have quite a few choices and some indication from you would help me narrow it down. If I had to pick a representative country fare place it would be Brothers Houligan (they have 2 locations both in Tulsa) for hearty delicious chicken livers and also wonderfully cooked chicken fried steak. But, as I said, we have many good and interesting choices.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kagemusha49

      Thank you. We'd like to aim for the traditional fayre for the area. We're adventurous eaters and would like to eat for around $40-60 per person...

      However if there is an exception fine dining experience on offer we would love to know.. We're doing Route 66, San Diego, LA and Vegas and can probably afford to do 2/3 fining dining nights.. Will have to weigh up the options once we know them!

      1. re: Thebirniewedding

        It's nobody's idea of "fine dining" (but hey, "fine dining" is pretty much the same everywhere around the world, isn't it? And don't you want something unique to each locale that you visit?) but definitely typical American midwestern fayre is Lambert's Cafe. The location in Springfield is on Hwy 65 (the road to Branson), about 15 miles south of I-44, in a small suburb called Ozark.

        The food is really very good "home-cookin'" and the price is right.

        Lambert's Cafe: http://www.throwedrolls.com/default.asp

        1. re: Jaymes

          +1 for the throwed rolls. Lamberts is definitely an experience. They serve all kinds of odd stuff - like hog jowls. Much of it is fried. And they keep coming around with extra stuff for you to taste.

    2. If you are doing Route 66, try the Eat-rite diner in St. Louis, which is a designated Route 66 landmark. It is the exact opposite of fine dining.

      Corner of Chouteau Ave and S. 7th Street.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Doug

        love the Eat-Rite, tiny dump with decent burgers and the staff gossips with the regulars and gripes to each other about who cleaned the grease traps last. lunch and a show.

      2. There is the original Lambert's just off of Interstate 55 in Sikeston, Missouri. And please try the items you would normally not see at home.

        Chicken fried steak, country ham, and meatloaf come to mind.

        3 Replies
        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

          Yes, but Sikeston is a good two-hour drive south from I-44 (or "Farty-Far," as they say in St. Louis), and well out of their way. The one in Springfield takes about fifteen minutes to reach from 44.

          If I were going to do any side trips that long, I'd probably suggest they go on down to Branson for one night, only about 40 minutes or so south of 44. There's lots to do there, and they could even catch a country show, something I'm sure the folks back in the ol' UK would consider to be quite a hoot. It's a kitschy slice of "middle America" to be sure.

          And if they are looking for fine dining, there really isn't much that fits that category in Springfield (in fact, I'd even say none, that I've seen anyway), but the Sunday Buffet at the Chateau in Branson might fill the bill.

          http://www.chateauonthelake.com/

          http://www.branson.com/

          1. re: Jaymes

            The trouble with their going to the Lamberts in Branson is that the location is not very far beyond Lebanon and I believe they are going to try the catfish at Dowds in Lebanon

            1. re: Jaymes

              My bad. I didn't look at a map. Thought Springfield Illinois instead of Missouri.

          2. Okay for Springfield there's a restaurant that has won awards from British newspapers. www.farmersgastropub.com

            TULSA! There's lots of fine dining here. I'm too lazy to write about them all so what I'll do is give you a link to a list I wrote of "ten best dishes in Tulsa" Basically, this lists what I consider the best restaurants, has a short description of each restaurant and a photo of the best thing they serve.
            http://tulsafood.com/extras/best-of-t...

            A guy and his wife just opened a diner called "Oklahoma Roadhouse" near Tulsa. It has all the typical Okie favorites like chicken-fried steak served in a homestyle setting. Oh and you can get a free cowboy hat might of bright blue or orange plastic. http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/58/171984...

            5 Replies
            1. re: Brian S

              I have to endorse pretty much anything Brian says about food. On his best 10 list is Mi Tierra a cheap but great Peruvian hole in the wall that is one of our favorites. I'm reasonably sure Brian would also approve of my recommendation of Brothers Houligan for country fare.

              1. re: Brian S

                I thought about that British-style Gastro-Pub. But not sure if I were a Brit heading out to see America on the Mother Road, I'd want to spend time and money going to a copy of a British pub. Unless it's just for the curiosity factor.

                But, Tanya and Tom, assuming you're going to be on the Will Rogers Turnpike, and you certainly should be, you will be going right by, actually right under, another real slice of Americana and that's the so-called "Largest McDonald's in the World."

                It seems that recently-built McDonald's locations are laying claim to that distinction but, whether or not it's the largest, it's certainly, to me anyway, the most interesting.

                I've been traveling along these roads for a very long time, and I remember back when that "McDonald's" was built in 1957. I'm not sure anybody in northeast Oklahoma had ever even heard of McDonald's at the time but, even if they had, this restaurant was not one. It was part of a chain of "latest thing and most modern restaurants" called "The Glass Houses." It was suspended over the highway on two big arches, and I can remember driving through there with my family. Us kids were endlessly fascinated with the place, standing with our noses pressed up against the glass and watching the traffic, even the huge trucks, disappear beneath our feet, like so many toys in a sandbox. Our father, who was loathe to stop at all on these road trips (because to him, as to most dads, "making good time" was paramount, and far more important than actually enjoying the trip) and particularly loathe to spend money feeding our family of five at restaurants (when Mom had packed a perfectly good picnic and an assortment of snacks), was helpless to avoid stopping here, thanks to the onslaught of our endless pleading and whining and begging that began long before we even came into view of the place.

                Those arches made it a natural for McDonald's, so, of course, eventually they bought it.

                But every time I drive under it, I don't think of it as a McDonald's. It's a marvelous and magical Glass House, and I'm an enraptured and enthralled kid again.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald...

                1. re: Brian S

                  Brian - a friend with good sense went to Farmers maybe a year ago while there on business and liked it a lot.

                  Jaymes, we had the same dad, on a roadtrip in 1973 I wanted to stop at the glass house soo bad, but yeah we had to 'make time' and mom HAD packed lunch things.

                  1. re: hill food

                    Well now, of course, I can stop at the Glass House McDonald's anytime I want. And have from time to time, just for reminiscence and tradition's sake. And standing there at those windows watching the cars heading right for you and then screaming by right under your feet is still interesting, especially when the big trucks rattle the whole place. But sadly, "making good time" has risen on my traveling priority list. And now that it's my own money, and not daddy's, I, too am pretty loathe to spend it at someplace like McDonald's.

                    Especially not when I've packed a picnic lunch and snacks in the car.

                  2. re: Brian S

                    You know, on second thought Brian S, I think you're probably right about T&T popping into Farmer's for a pint, and to chat up some local British ex-pats.

                    http://www.news-leader.com/article/20...

                  3. You know, the more I think about this, the more I would recommend that Tanya & Tom take the 30-40 minute jog south on Hwy 65 to Branson and spend your night there rather than Springfield proper.

                    I lived in Springfield for several years and, although it's a perfectly nice town, there's not much there to recommend it as being anything special to see. It's a pretty typical plain-vanilla small midwest town.

                    Branson, on the other hand, offers lots and lots and lots to see and do. It's something of a fascinating phenom. Even if all you do is to speak of it with amusement over the next thirty or forty years, it's definitely something interesting to see.

                    Peruse that website I posted (and here's the link again) and see if you can't find overnight lodgings there that look intriguing.

                    As far as the shows go - we really like Shoji. And people come from all over the world just to see the restrooms in his theater.

                    The Shoji Tabuchi Theater: http://www.shoji.com/

                    Book Branson: http://www.branson.com/

                    1. For another real slice of Americana I would recommend at stop in Stroud, OK for a meal at The Rock Cafe, one of the stars of the movie "Cars". It is just off I-44 in downtown Stroud.
                      http://www.rockcafert66.com/
                      Stroud is half way between Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tiomano

                        Isn't that the place where the specialty is the Hot Brown - an open faced sangrich smothered with brown gravy?

                      2. If you're driving along and feel kinda hungry but it's a long way to go until your next stop and fast food is all that's available and you see an A&W Root Beer stand, stop in for a chili dog and a root beer float.

                        There aren't anywhere nearly so many A&W stands now as there used to be, but they're still around if you look for them.

                        Good root beer is an elixir of the gods, in my personal and humble opinion. And although it might be available in the UK, I haven't seen it there, and I've looked. It's brewed, and there are "craft brewers" that are particularly proud of their root beer. A&W isn't one of those small specialty brewers, but it's still pretty dang good. And a chili dog and a root beer float is just as American as hamburgers, Cokes, apple pie....

                        And to some of us, certainly including me, better.

                        If you get a chance, you definitely should sample some.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Jaymes

                          IIRC the UK has ginger beer, similar, but sharper.

                          1. re: Jaymes

                            Weber's in Tulsa has home brewed root beer at their original branch (38 and Peoria) that's the best I've tasted.

                            1. re: Brian S

                              Oooh, thanks. Even if the Brits don't try it, I'm definitely going to give it a go next time I'm on Tulsa time. I really really love root beer. I remember when I was a kid, my dad would bring it home in those great big gallon glass jugs, and we'd all have frosted root beers until we made ourselves sick.