February 1st, 2013 by Brian Schwartz – Comments (1)
It’s a roadhouse in the middle of nowhere.
Head west from Tulsa, make a few twists and turns, and you’ll find it just over the Sand Springs line. In movies, when they stop at a roadhouse in the middle of nowhere, nothing good is going to happen. In real life, when you stop here, you get good food and a hearty welcome. Sandite Billiards has been around in one form or another for well over twenty years, and it’s become a well-known fixture of Sand Springs life. It’s not well known for food, though perhaps it should be. Scott Cherry found it more or less by chance when his eye was caught by an advertisement in a Sand Springs promo brochure promising “world renowned steaks”. “World-renowned might be a stretch,” he wrote in the Tulsa World, “but the steak was outstanding, as tender and flavorful as ones we have had for twice the price.” That of course caught MY eye, and off we went.
It’s around 5 PM and the place was nearly empty. Lots and lots of empty pool tables. The few patrons around waved a salute or called out a greeting. I saw from the sign outside the door that Monday was Ladies Night ($1 draws for ladies) so I ordered Betty a beer, and a few minutes later she was sipping what was probably the first draft beer of her life. The waiter ambled over and we ordered. That waiter is also bartender and chef, and probably bouncer too… he’s big enough. We talked and I learned that he’s a fan of H.P. Lovecraft. That might not be a good sign. He went back to cook our orders. Betty sipped her beer.
It took a while. A woman with a big booming friendly voice took over the bar as the Lovecraft fan did the cooking. Then it came.
Ribeye ($15). With, as you can see, broccoli, toast and baked potato. I ignored those and dug into the steak. Now I definitely wouldn’t call it outstanding, and there was a bit too much cracked pepper and seasoning mix, but it was a nice steak, cooked just the way I ordered it, and great value. The broccoli was great, firm and crunchy, and the potato, once I loaded on the shredded cheese and sour cream, was fine too. (If you prefer, you can get it fried or mashed, and get corn or squash if you don’t fancy broccoli.) Definitely a good deal. And the other entrees, such as the chicken ($7.50), were even better value.
I tried to persuade Cathe to order Unhealthy Chicken (grilled chicken wrapped in bacon) but she didn’t like the name. She got the Mushroom Swiss Chicken, smothered in melted Swiss cheese and sauteed mushrooms. She loved it. And Betty got salmon ($12).
A big piece of grilled salmon (you can opt for blackened) just as advertised. The salmon made her happy… or maybe it was the beer. But why not? It’s a happy place.
Sandite Billiards & Grill
7822 Parkway Blvd. (take the 81 Street West exit from the Sand Springs expressway, turn right onto 81 Street and then right onto Parkway Boulevard)
Kitchen open daily from 3 PM to 10 PM (and midnight on weekends)
Brian Schwartz: Author
Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society. www.theomegasociety.com
I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola.
“A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.