Posted by Tasha on November 6th, 2010 in Restaurants
My husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary last month. In a world where something like half of all marriages end in divorce, we feel lucky to have made it this far.
We’ve certainly had our share of ups and downs – maybe even more than our share, especially early in our marriage. But, we have a secret that, through the years, has kept things exciting. And spicy.
And, yeah, sometimes fattening. I’m talking about the art and romance that is the lunch date.
There’s just something about taking a break from the worries of the work day and ditching your co-workers to meet your spouse for lunch instead. It feels like something someone would do early on in a love affair, to not be able to make it the whole day without seeing the object of one’s affections.
The key to this is to not do it very often. It has to feel special and out-of-the-ordinary to work its magic. And where you meet doesn’t really matter. Unlike the case with a dinner date, there’s no pressure to pick the swankiest joint in town.
In fact, last time my husband and I met for a lunch date, it was at Junkyard Dawg. And we shared a hot dog and a dog bowl of chili and a root beer and stared into each other’s eyes.
And took some most unflattering photos of each other mid-bite. But don’t worry. You don’t have to be like us.
Good news! We had another lunch date this week. This time we opted for a few seats at the bar at Ike’s Chili, at 5941 E. Admiral Place.
I have a confession to make: Before our lunch date last week, I’d never eaten at Ike’s. I know! Bad Okie, bad. Because I really have no excuse for being a native Tulsan and not having eaten at what the folks at Ike’s claims is the oldest restaurant in the entire state, the home of a 112-year chili recipe.
I’m gonna go ahead and blame my parents for this one. Sometimes it’s just easier that way.
The chili at Ike’s – which I’d judge as a well-balanced, approachable variety that can be appreciated by novices and chili experts alike, and by folks who were raised on just about any of America’s regional versions of the stuff – is served in various ways. For instance, you can order it on a Frito pie ($5.49 for the small version that comes with the special, or $6.89 for a large), as above.
Or, you can order a burger and smother it with chili, like so:
This here is the most popular burger at Ike’s: the humbly named Chili Cheese Burger.
It’s $7.99 worth of beef topped with, well, more beef. And, as its name describes, cheese. And it’s served with a huge side of seasoned waffle fries.
And it’s worth every penny, especially since all chili, Ike’s included, only gets better after a night in the fridge. And you’ll definitely need to take some of this sucker home with you. I think that if you try to eat it all in one sitting you might slip into a chili coma on the way back to the office.
Which would probably make your boss pretty mad.
Chili at Ike’s also comes on spaghetti, three-way, fries, coneys, tamales and in pint- and quart-sized to-go cups. In other words, if it’s on the menu, you can order it doused in Ike’s signature combo of tomatoes, beef and spices.
You weirdos who don’t like chili have options at Ike’s, too. For instance, see the above – the Ike’s Burger ($5.99), complete with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and mayo or mustard.
Or, you can order your burger with jalapenos and bacon ($6.99) or with Head Country BBQ sauce ($5.99). Either way, you’ll have a true, Okie-fied meal on your hands. Or, you can opt for a chicken tenders basket ($7.29) or a hot dog ($2.09). Ain’t no shame in any of it.
My apologies to my vegetarian readers, though. You might just be out of luck this time. That is, unless you’re just looking for some dessert.
Ike’s offers a variety of cobblers for dessert each day. On the chalkboard the day we visited were peach, cherry and blackberry, each $3.25.
After we saw some pass us on the way to another table we were tempted to order one of each kind, but after an Ike’s Burger, a Chili Cheese Burger and a Frito Pie, that would have been just unreasonable. Crazy. Plain ol’ inadvisable.
But that doesn’t change that we seriously considered doing it anyway.
In the end, we opted for the blackberry. And we added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to really party things up. All told, we spent $4 on our little down-home, date day treat.
I think I ate more than my half. Don’t tell my husband. He’s the kind who exacts revenge for such things.
One of the cool things about Ike’s is that it’s a laid-back, greasy-spoon sort of place. You practically expect to see familiar faces there.
Wait – no, seriously. That guy really does look familiar.
That’s because it’s Chris Trail, the guy who, in addition to heading up a family business and guarding a secret chili recipe that’s been in Tulsa since 1908, is the city councilor for District 5 here in the city of Tulsa.
So if you live in District 5 and you wanna give Chris a piece of your mind about this, that or the other, you don’t have to call or e-mail him, You can just go to Ike’s. That way you can state your case and eat some chili at the same time.
There’s a different special every day the doors are open at Ike’s, which makes life easy for budget-conscious people (like those who blog for a living). In fact, even without the specials it’s tough to spend more than $10 on a meal at Ike’s. You’d have to do something crazy to get that kind of job done – something like ordering a 32-ounce cup of chili straight up.
Read: This is not a dare. In other words, this is my please-don’t-send-me-your-hospital-bills plea.
There’s quite a history behind what goes on day in and day out at Ike’s Chili. Get the essentials of the story from the Queen of Good Things herself, Martha Stewart. Be sure to check out this video from Discover Oklahoma, too.
Or, you can stop by for a live version from the staff at Ike’s. Everyone there is proud of their story, and especially if you can find a few seats at the bar during lunch time like my husband and I did last week, you don’t have to ask very loud to get the scoop.
That is, if you can stop eating long enough to ask.
Where: 5941 E. Admiral Place (just south of I-244, just west of Sheridan)
When: Monday-Friday, 10am-7pm; Saturday, 10am-3pm
Call: (918) 835-3304