October 27th, 2011 by Brian Schwartz – Comments (0)
From time to time the characters in Larry McMurtry’s great novel “Lonesome Dove” (after one of whom, the stalwart Woodrow McCall, Woodrow’s is named) got restless and when they did they’d talk of going north. One day they did, headed from Texas to Montana, and their journey took years to make. If they made that trip today, they might take route 75, which runs from Dallas through Tulsa clear up to Winnipeg in Manitoba. And they’d surely make a quick detour at Tulsa, head up Peoria through those ramshackle country towns just north, past Donny Teel’s barbecue in Sperry and on four more miles to the first traffic light, where they’d turn left, past the old redbrick buildings that make up downtown Skiatook, past the storefront churches, the bar and the barber shop until they came to this old redbrick building.
That’s Woodrow’s Restaurant. The characters of Lonesome Dove like good simple food that’s really well prepared, provided it’s not gussied up and pretentious. So I think they’d like the chow at Woodrow’s just fine. They don’t mind a place that’s a little gussied up provided it’s staffed and patronized by friendly local people, and I think they’d feel at home here in downtown Skiatook.
If they came before 11 AM, they could get a full breakfast, and it’s cheap. Two eggs with two pork chops are $8 and prices go down from there. After 11 and through to closing (and note that Woodrow’s takes a 3 hour break in the afternoon), there’s burgers, sandwiches and huge steaks (most steaks are $22). But if they came on Tuesday, as we did, they’d probably ask for this.
It’s the $6 Tuesday special. Chicken-fried steak. (It’s available other days for $10, including 2 sides.) It’s a nice tasty steak (though I must confess I’ve had better at some places in Tulsa). I don’t think Lonesome Dove cowboys favor salads, but if they did, the Cobb Salad ($9) here could fill the hungriest cowhand.
That’s a big big dinner plate. It’s about the biggest salad I’ve ever seen.
Now here’s what I got.
It’s grilled quail ($14). Two big beauties, perfectly grilled, tender, with lots of flavorful meat. Like chicken, but better, and I do believe that this was how chicken used to taste, years and years ago. You get 2 sides with any entree, and I got mashed potatoes (good, but too much black pepper) and bourbon carrots (excellent, with a great sweet bourbon glaze). I’m sure the Lonesome Dove people would have liked the quail (they do eat quail’s eggs at one point in the book) but if they didn’t, I don’t care. I loved them. But I know that they would have loved the dessert.
Home-baked buttermilk pie. ($5) Everybody does.
104 E. Rogers Blvd
(take Peoria Av north — it becomes Oklahoma State Highway 11 – to the traffic light around 145 Street North, and then turn left. You can also take route 75, but it ends up being longer. And if you miss your exit you might end up in Winnipeg.)
Open daily from 6 AM to 2 PM and from 5 PM to close, probably around 9 PM or so.
Here’s a scene from a memorable documentary on Winnipeg, northern terminus of Route 75.
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.