Oklahoma Burger Belt, continued...
The Southern Living magazine photo team had the opportunity to follow a trail of burgers through central Oklahoma, as guided by George Motz and documented in our April 2015 issue's "Oklahoma Burger Belt" piece. Often we shoot hundreds of images that are edited down to 5 or 6 to create the story. What happens to all of the rest? In this case, these discoveries along the way were far too fun not to share. We can't wait to visit again!
Hamburger King is a fixture on the sunny, main street of Shawnee, OK. For over 80 years, guests have been ordering their burgers, potato wedges and slices of house made pies from phones found at each table.
Co-owner Mike Macsas fields these orders, as well as greets guests from his post at the entrance.
Hamburger King's double cheeseburger includes two quarter pound beef patties, draped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion & pickles. Mustard is the only sauce to adorn the toasted bun, with a variety of others on the table to make it your own.
If you wish to take your burger up a notch in heat and heft, order "The Kicker" : three beef patties, lined with pepper jack cheese, bacon, pickled jalapenos and teetering from the height of all of the normal fixings. We like the addition of bbq sauce and ranch dressing.
If it appears that Meer's restaurant and store in Meers, Oklahoma is multiple storefronts combined into one: It is. In its nearly 90 year history, the sections of what is now Meer's served as a grocery store, post office, gasoline filling station, a pharmacy and a residence for its past owners.
With the Wichita Wildlife refuge in his backyard, owner Joe Maranto saw an early opportunity to take advantage of the neighboring fertile land and its ideal, natural resources. He raises grass-fed, Texas longhorn cattle to supply all of the beef for his restaurant.
Each seismic burger incorporates 1 pound of that house-raised, slaughtered, ground and seared longhorn beef. Enormous in size and flavor, Maranto sources custom made buns and serves the burger on a full size pie plate.
Meer's store is a family restaurant- not only for the customers… but also employees. In the kitchen, father and son teams grind the meat and sear up burgers, side by side. Mothers and daughters share the dining room floor, providing some of the friendliest service and smiles you can find. All are eager to introduce guests to the endless specialties of the house, such as the original recipe pecan pie cobbler topped with house-made vanilla ice cream.
Customers enter Sid's diner under its recognizable, bright red awning, a fixture in El Reno, OK, an important town along America's famous Route 66.
Adam Hall, son of owner Marty, prepares Sid's specialty onion burger. A 3 oz ball of beef is smashed onto the griddle with twice as many onions, fusing together the textures and flavors of each. Soft white hamburger buns steam over top of the patties as they cook on the well-seasoned flat-top.
Sid's is a sliver of a restaurant, with guests cozying up to the bar- and each other- while watching their burgers sear just across the way.
Our team at Southern Living magazine discovered that Sid's isn't just all about burgers- they make an incredible coney dog with special, house-made sweet slaw, as well as a killer chocolate-malt milkshake. Pay as much attention to your table as your food- Hall has lined each table surface and the bar with over 450 photos mapping out the history of his family, the restaurant, and the town of El Reno.