Shawkat’s is part of Tulsa’s history. It was here before the swanky, more cultivated options we enjoy today in our bustling downtown and midtown scenes. Before Tulsa got “hip” with dining options of urban ambiance and complicated ingredients. These guys, however, care much more about what goes on your plate than even what the plate is made of. So, come in expecting amazing food, slower service as everything is freshly prepared for you on the spot and simple plastic plates with classic Lebanese fair of the highest quality. Look around you and you will see Lebanese families dining together mixed in with TU International students looking for a taste of home.
Shawkat’s owner since 2013, Hannah Tafla usually works the front but also does all the cooking with her Lebanese friend and chef. She also has a separate team to handle the pita bread production in the mornings. Shawkat’s is the only pita bread bakery in Tulsa. They serve homemade Mana Keish or traditional pocket breads: Zaatar, Cheese and Meat. You can get a fresh bag of six for less than four dollars.
If you don’t have time for a sit down meal, you must get pocket bread and market goods such as house tabouli and hummus by the pint. They will make a wonderful and healthy snack for the family through your busy week and not to mention this is the best tabouli in town. What makes it as such to me is that instead of it being heavily based on the bulgur, they prepare it with more fresh parsley, tomato and green onion than any other place and actually put enough freshly squeezed lemon juice on it for my taste.
Shawkat’s menu is filled with fresh salads, falafels and lebnis (keifer cheese) options for the vegetarians in your family as well as perfect cabbage rolls and kebob plate options. I loved their kafta and chicken kebob entrees, as both were perfectly seasoned and freshly grilled on the spot. Another option is the homemade pies with choices such as spinach or lean ground beef baked inside their pocket bread. If your kiddos do not have an adventurous palate just yet, there are American favorites such as burgers and my personal favorite “Garbage Fries” adding okra, jalapeno and onion to the mix.
My personal favorite is the daily special which is usually a type of soup or stew. Hannah the owner prepares it each day without too much planning but simply with whatever ingredients inspire her that morning. The day I visited she had made a stew of lean beef cubes accompanied by baby okra in a rich tomato and onion sauce with a side of white rice. I would expect such a dish in a Lebanese home, filled with flavor, perfectly seasoned, a cozy, warm me up inside kind of dish.
To complete your meal, you can sip on very strong Turkish coffee and try a slice of their baklava, bird’s nest or cashew rolls all drizzled with sweet honey. One bite will leave you questioning whether you should take a box of them for later.
Shawkat’s is a perfect family-owned spot for down to earth good eating so next time you’re wondering where to have lunch and are tired of the same old spots around the office try them out!