Hero’s Subs & Burgers: a Tulsa Staple for 30 Years

By on January 28, 2015


Sam Keesh is the owner of Hero’s Subs & Burgers with his wife and three sons. His casual eatery has been a North Tulsa landmark since 1984, but what makes it truly exceptional is his enormous heart. If you look at his restaurant’s reviews online, you’ll find a lot about his delicious food, but what you’ll also notice is how much his clientele loves and appreciates Sam.


Sam—originally an aeronautical engineer—moved to Tulsa from New York in the early ’80s in pursuit of a position with American Airlines. However, when the job did not pan out he decided to take a chance and buy Hero’s from the owner at the time.


As Sam and I speak, his son, William, is hard at work in the kitchen. Sam is not so much interested in telling me how wonderful his food is as much as he is interested in talking about life, and what’s it’s like to own a small business in the city he loves. I find out pretty quickly that he is not one to boast, and does not even advertise his business, but instead relies 100% on word of mouth. And it’s definitely worked out pretty well for him thus far.

Sam proudly tells me about the important things: how much he loves his customers and that his connections with them span over 20 years now. He is one of the most delightful people to speak with, and his wisdom reflects throughout our conversation. In everything he tells me, there are lessons about life, morality and love. He talks again and again about how much he loves people, and that more than anything he just wants to serve his community. His voice is steady and soft. Sam smiles and stands up every time a new customer enters the shop, not because he has to but because in his eyes, it is his delightful duty. He is the kind of guy that gives out chocolates from a pretty box stacked underneath the cash register, an owner who will not only feed you a satisfying meal, but also put a smile on your face.


Hero’s Subs & Burgers has an authentic, retro feel and vibe. It’s a super clean space filled with various plants and arcade games, and boasts an extensive menu to choose from. From burgers topped with melting cheddar and fresh veggies, to lamb and beef gyros drizzled in tangy tzatziki sauce, and all the way to (my personal favorite) Sam’s house made cabbage rolls, Hero’s does not let you down.


When the Keesh family took over the restaurant, they kept the American classics on the menu but decided to include some of their own recipes as well. The cabbage rolls were one of them. Large in size, Sam fills them with rice, beef and spices, then right before serving, pours a light tomato sauce over them.


Sam’s gyros are another great choice for lunch. On top soft, fluffy pita bread he spreads a bed of his own tasty mix of lamb and beef gyro meat, and tops it with colorful veggies and his tangy, garlic tzatziki sauce.


The tabbouleh is a perfect side dish if your meal is taking the Mediterranean route. Made fresh in house daily, it incorporates mint, parsley, garlic and finely chopped tomatoes.


It’s no secret that Tulsans love their burgers, and Sam’s got a good one for them. For the lover of American classics, Hero’s burgers are charred to perfection on a fresh sesame seed bun with lettuce, tomato and onion, and an optional addition of crispy bacon and/or cheddar cheese.


Sam also serves a classic philly cheesesteak and an extensive list of subs, for which he uses high quality meats and cheeses sliced fresh each day. Mr. Keesh tells me if he wouldn’t eat it himself, he would not serve it to you. You can’t argue with that!

Meeting the Keesh family was an exceptional experience that reminded me how important a sense of community truly is. Sam is a tried-and-true Tulsan who not only loves this city but serves this community (and certainly their appetites) as well.


Hero’s Subs & Burgers

6508 E Admiral Pl
Tulsa, Oklahoma
(918) 836-8995

Mon-Sat 10:30am-8pm
Sunday 11am-4pm

Margaret Vasileva

About Margaret Vasileva

Margaret Vasileva was in born in Sofia Bulgaria, a beautiful country nestled in Eastern Europe right above Turkey and Greece. Her heritage has left her with a passion for authentic and colorful foods as well as an obsession for fresh produce. "I can spend an hour picking just the right tomatoes for my evening salad, and I really mean an hour! Good food is all about the ingredients. Europeans have always known this, and I am glad to finally see this trend coming to the United States." From the endless produce markets of Bulgaria to the "Wild West", at first the move to Oklahoma eleven years ago was a difficult one, but now as a staff writer for TulsaFood she is out to showcase how diverse the Oklahoma cuisine scene has become!