Fat Guy’s Burger Bar

•January 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment

My favorite thing in the Greenwood District is OneOK Field. My second-favorite thing in the Greenwood District is Fat Guy’s Burger Bar, which is located at 140 N. Greenwood, just a baseball’s throw away from left field.

Some burgers sacrifice taste in the name of size, but Fat Guy's bacon cheeseburger manages to be ginormous and awesome at the same time.

Fat Guy’s burgers are good — thick, juicy, and cooked to order — but in a town full of spectacular hamburger joints (Hank’s, Bill’s, Claud’s, Weber’s, Arnold’s, Burger House, Ralph’s Fish and Burger Shack, etc., etc., etc.), it’s the toppings that make Fat Guy’s stand out. Ron and I fell in love with the green chile cheeseburgers at Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe, so I was delighted to see green chiles on the menu at Fat Guy’s. I like to order the bacon cheeseburger with green chiles, tomatoes, pickles, and Srirancha — a brilliant combination of Sriracha sauce and ranch dressing.

The Dodge Style Dog is somewhere between Chicago and Mexico. You know -- kind of like Tulsa.

Ron is also fond of the Dodge Style Dog, which has all the chutzpah of a Chicago-style hot dog, but with a distinctly Southwestern flair: mayo, jalapeno relish, and crumbled bacon, among other toppings.

Vegetarians will be pleased to find a very respectable veggie burger on the menu, and the seasoned fries — which come with your choice of about umpteen different dipping sauces, including my personal favorite, the chipotle aioli — are to die for.

Judging from the memorabilia on the walls, Fat Guy's attracts a few in-shape guys, too.

Living up to its slogan, “Fat tastes better than skinny feels,” Fat Guy’s is generous with the portion sizes (the small order of fries is more than enough for two people), and most of the burger toppings are free. Visitors who have spent altogether too much time watching Man vs. Food may be interested in the Fat Guy’s challenge: Diners who eat the Fat Burger (two pounds of beef, a pound of bacon, two hot dogs, eight slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and condiment on a one-pound bun) and a pound of fries in an hour or less get their meal for free and earn a place on the “Wall of Fat.”

Service is generally very quick and friendly, although you may have to wait for a table on nights when the Drillers are playing in town.

Fat Guy’s is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For more information, call (918) 794-7782 or visit www.fatguysburgers.com. Great place. Highly recommended.

NOTE: Indie Tulsa is not affiliated with any of the businesses listed here. You are welcome to post comments about your experiences, but questions or complaints about specific businesses should be directed to the businesses themselves.

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The Vinyl Countdown

•January 16, 2012 • 2 Comments

This is what a 21st-century record store looks like.

The Vinyl Countdown, 322 E. 11th St., is like the New Beetle of record stores: evocative of the past, comfortable here in the present, and likely to become outrageously popular with the kind of hipsters who like to wear vintage cateye glasses, drink Pabst Blue Ribbon in fashionably square bowling alleys, and download Johnny Cash ringtones to their Androids.

Love.

As its name suggests, Vinyl Countdown’s focus is on LPs — but this is definitely not your mama’s record store. You won’t find any scratched-up estate-sale castoffs here. All the records I found were brand-new, still in their shrinkwrap, and more often than not, the work of current artists (although I did linger over a reissue of Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction and consider a brand-new copy of Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited before finding myself irresistibly drawn to Amy Winehouse’s Lioness: Hidden Treasures).

Ron had to have one of these.

If you’ve been conditioned to associate vinyl records with cardboard boxes tucked into the corners of thrift shops with signs on them saying “$1.50 each or five for $5,” you may find the current retail price of new records — usually between $18 and $25 — a little steep, but keep in mind that new records are rare as hens’ teeth, and the quality of modern vinyl far exceeds that of the stuff you’re used to picking up for a quarter at thrift stores.

On the left: A deck of cards that looks like a mixtape. You know you want it.

In addition to vinyl, the shop offers a small selection of T-shirts, handmade Shrinky-Dink jewelry created by the owner’s wife, and a few decorative items and gifts, mostly of the sleek-faux-retro-minimalist variety. (They know their audience.)

Need.

Want.

Want.

Want.

Own.

Pretty sure my little brother is getting this for Christmas. Also pretty sure I'm going to play with it before I give it to him.

Service is great, special orders are welcomed, and the location — a block south of Route 66, where Elgin dead-ends at 11th — is convenient, with plenty of angle parking right in front of the store.

People my age will appreciate the angle parking in front of the store, because we pretty much suck at parallel parking.

Vinyl Countdown pretty much epitomizes what I love most about indie businesses: the notion that with a little creativity and determination, ordinary people can find a way to turn hobbies into livelihoods.

This is what the mom-and-pop movement is all about, kids. Go take a look at it. And pick up that new Amy Winehouse album while you’re there. Girlfriend sounds incredible on vinyl.

The Vinyl Countdown is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, call (918) 592-5477, like them on Facebook, or visit www.countdownvinyl.com.

NOTE: Indie Tulsa is not affiliated with any of the businesses listed here. You are welcome to post comments about your experiences, but questions or complaints about specific businesses should be directed to the businesses themselves.

Andolini’s Pizza

•January 7, 2012 • 1 Comment

The 1889 Margherita of Savoy.

Located in a beautifully preserved Cherry Street building that has housed everything from a grocery store to a dry-cleaning business, Andolini’s, 1552 E. 15th St., is not your typical pizzeria.

Pizzas are a little more expensive than the typical chain fare (prices run from around $15 to $27), but the cost is justified by the ingredients, which are of the sort foodies like to ogle in gourmet grocery stores and back issues of Saveur: Fresh house-made mozzarella, pistachio pesto, portobello mushrooms, kalamata olives, gorgonzola cheese, and a host of other similarly upscale ingredients.

On our first visit to Andolini’s, Ron and I ordered the 1889 Margherita of Savoy, billed as a “Purple Label Luxury Pizza” and topped with San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil, fresh mozzarella, basil and red rock salt. Service was quick and friendly, and the food was excellent. Neither of us was particularly hungry when we went, and we figured we’d end up with leftovers at the end of our meal, but the Margherita proved to be surprisingly light, and we found ourselves comfortably full but not overstuffed after splitting the entire 15-inch pizza.

I like the sense of history that comes with the pressed-tin ceiling and the old photographs of Cherry Street that hang on the back wall.

On our second visit, we ordered the 14-inch wild mushroom pizza, which came with seasonal mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, garlic butter, and red rock salt. It was good but a little oily for our tastes — a problem somewhat ameliorated by dipping the crusts in a cup of marinara sauce to finish off the meal. Service was acceptable but a little less impressive the second time around, as the staff seemed a little distracted when we came in, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that we were the only customers there. Andolini’s tends to be crowded most of the time, so I suspect we’d just caught them off-guard while they were taking a much-needed break during a rare lull. Once they noticed us, they snapped to attention and provided acceptable service.

I think my favorite thing about Andolini’s is the diversity of the menu. In addition to traditional pizzas such as the Margherita, the Andolini’s Combination, and the Clemenza, the menu includes more innovative offerings, such as the Maccheroni (a sort of mac-and-cheese pizza topped with pasta and cream sauce) and the New Haven Pie (clams, garlic butter, basil, Pecorino, and basil-infused olive oil), along with a range of strombolis, calzones, sandwiches, and pasta dishes.

Some of my best high-school memories begin with something that sounds like the setup to an incredibly offensive joke: “A Muslim, a Jew, and a vegan walk into a pizzeria.” Unfortunately, some of my most frustrating memories also begin that way, as waitresses in 1993 didn’t always understand what my friends and I wanted when we asked them to hold the cheese on half of our pizza — so I really appreciate the fact that Andolini’s offers at least three vegan options, including the Pizza Genco, which involves eggplant, roasted red peppers, portobello mushroom, artichoke hearts, and roasted garlic.

Andolini’s opens at 11 a.m. daily. Evening hours vary but are later on weekends. For more information, call (918) 728-6111 or visit http://www.andopizza.com.

Grades:
Product: A
Service: A-
Atmosphere: A
Value: A
Overall: A

NOTE: Indie Tulsa is not affiliated with any of the businesses listed here. You are welcome to post comments about your experiences, but questions or complaints about specific businesses should be directed to the businesses themselves.


Lee’s Feed & Country Store

•December 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I have implicit faith in feed stores that sell roasted peanuts out of bushel baskets.

When the weather gets just a little too cold, and the winter starts to feel just a little too long, I find myself driving across town to Lee’s Feed & Country Store, 19015 E. 11th St., with visions of fluffy chicks and flats of tomato seedlings dancing in my head.

Garden hats, boots, and gloves are available all year.

You won’t find either of those commodities at Lee’s during the “bleak December,” but somehow the friendly staff and colorful array of items both useful and frivolous help to drive away the winter chill on a cold afternoon.

Dog owners will find plenty of supplies and equipment for their pooches.

Situated on Route 66 at the far eastern edge of town, just west of the turn from 193rd that takes you from Catoosa into rural Tulsa, Lee’s offers the practical (dog biscuits, lead ropes, chicken feed), the impractical (scented candles, costume jewelry, pecan pie in a jar), and everything in between (wide-brimmed straw garden hats, hummingbird feeders, turquoise rainboots splashed with vivid paisleys).

If you’re in the market for a gift, you can find locally produced items such as honey, sorghum, jellies, jams, and flavoring extracts, along with soy and beeswax candles, birdfeeders, and a variety of purses, jewelry, garden decorations, and other pretties.

Animal owners will find  livestock feed, pet supplies and equipment, tank de-icers, animal medications, bedding, buckets, fly spray, stock tanks, and a wide assortment of cages, while gardeners will appreciate the cabinet full of bulk vegetable seeds and the greenhouse full of flat after flat of flowers, vegetables, and herbs that make their appearance every spring.

I want a pair of those rainboots.

If you have kids, take them to Lee’s in late February or early March, when the baby chicks come in. Buy a pound or two of roasted peanuts (available salted or unsalted, and sold warm from bushel baskets) and dream of the berm at OneOK Field while the kids squeal over the little balls of yellow fluff peeping under a heat lamp in a horse tank nearby.

Don't tell Walter or the dogs, but sometimes I go out to Lee's just to pet this guy.

Prices are competitive, and everything you buy comes with a helping of free advice and friendly service that the big-box joints simply can’t match. We did some Christmas shopping out there a few weeks ago, and the owner gave us a nice supply of free gift bags and bandanna-print tissue paper for wrapping our treasures, which came in very handy when I was trying to pack things up to deliver to distant relatives.

Bonus: Lee’s is a strong supporter of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, which means you’re doing business with people who care about history and want to preserve it for the next generation.

Lee’s is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. For more information, please call (918) 266-2860 or visit www.leesfeedtulsa.com.

Grades: 
Product: A
Service: A+
Value: A
Overall: A

NOTE: Indie Tulsa is not affiliated with any of the businesses listed here. You are welcome to post comments about your experiences, but questions or complaints about specific businesses should be directed to the businesses themselves.

The Pie Hole

•December 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Unlike its corporate-owned competitors, the Pie Hole has never needed to apologize for its product. It has always been awesome.

The Pie Hole, 2708 E. 15th St., reminds me of the terrific pizzerias I frequented in college — great product, reasonable prices, good service, plenty of toppings, and a single-slice option for those nights when you just don’t feel like eating an entire pizza. (OK, so I’ve never had one of those nights, either, but it could happen.)

Love the paint job.

Bonus: The building, a cute little cinderblock structure with big windows and a great paint job, is tricked out with mid-century modern furniture. As someone who spent most of her childhood curled up in an Eames chair or stretched out across the Danish Modern sofa at the Herrin City Library, I find something innately reassuring about fiberglass furniture.

On a recent visit to the Pie Hole, Ron and I ordered a small pizza with mushrooms, kalamata olives, and feta cheese. The Pie Hole is great about honoring special requests, so I had anchovies added to my half of our pizza.

Service is remarkably quick, and prices are reasonable — single slices, which are ginormous, start at $2.25.

Look at all those toppings.

For more information or to place an order, call (918) 742-1200.

Grades:
Product: A
Service: A
Atmosphere: A+
Value: A
Overall: A

NOTE: Indie Tulsa is not affiliated with any of the businesses listed here. You are welcome to post comments about your experiences, but questions or complaints about specific businesses should be directed to the businesses themselves.

Burn Co. Barbeque

•December 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This is the best sandwich I have ever eaten.

I thought I was clever when I took my mom’s meat loaf recipe (hamburger and ground sausage mixed together) and topped it with bacon instead of ketchup.

Burn Co. Barbeque one-upped me.

Burn Co. sells something called the Fatty. The Fatty is bacon wrapped around ground sausage wrapped around ground-up hot links wrapped around more ground sausage wrapped around a smoked sausage. Imagine turducken made out of pig instead of poultry, and you’ve more or less got the idea.

Like turducken, only better.

Now, imagine smoking the whole thing in a Tulsa-made Hasty-Bake, slicing it off, and serving it with a side of hot potato salad made of smoked potatoes, onions, and peppers.

I'm surprised there aren't more.

There’s obviously a reason Burn Co. has a collection of ribbons on its otherwise unassuming walls.

Tucked into a little storefront between a biker bar and a novelty shop on the 11th Street alignment of Route 66, Burn Co. is a lunch-only, Tuesday-through-Saturday operation that obeys Newton’s First Law of Barbecue: the more unobtrusive the exterior, the better the product inside.

Blink and you'll miss it. Which would be a shame, because it's awesome.

Burn Co. opens at 10:30 a.m. and stays open until 2:30 p.m. or until the food runs out — whichever comes first. We got there at 11:30, and they were already out of ribs and sausage-stuffed pork loin.

Service is quick and friendly, and the kitchen is out in the open, so you can watch the employees slice and assemble your sandwiches while you wait. Samples are handed out freely (we tried a bite of brisket, which was divine — and I don’t even particularly like brisket), and the workers all seemed to be enjoying themselves the day we went.

Great place. Highly recommended.

For more information, call (918) 574-2777 or visit the Burn Co. Facebook page.

Grades:
Product: A+
Service: A+
Atmosphere: B-
Value: A
Overall: A+

Ida Red Boutique

•December 22, 2011 • 2 Comments

The only thing I love more than an indie business is an indie business with a strong sense of place.

Ida Red is such a business. Equal parts record store, gift shop, entertainment venue, and social conscience, Ida Red is an enthusiastic promoter of all things Tulsa. You’ll find Cain’s Ballroom caps; Leon Russell T-shirts, Hanson albums; Broken-Arrow-based Man Candles; Out of Print T-shirts (for every shirt sold, the company donates a book to a community in need); TOMS shoes and sunglasses (buy a pair, send a pair to a child in an underdeveloped nation); and all manner of handmade accessories, knickknacks, and gifts. Everything in the building is either local, socially conscious, recycled, handmade, fair trade, weird, or all of the above.

Behold:

I need a bigger closet.

Ida Red has a nice assortment of Okie-made soaps and such.

Man Candles. I highly recommend the baseball scent.

Leon!

Ginormous purses.

Lullaby versions of AC/DC, Aerosmith, the Flaming Lips, and more.

Want.

Old-fashioned gum, candy, and sodas are also available.

Ida Red is located at 3336 S. Peoria Ave., about a block and a half south of Shades of Brown. Parking is available behind the store. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 10:30 a.m. to “late” Thursday through Saturday. For more information, call (918) 949-6950 or visit www.idaredboutique.com.

Grades:
Product: A
Service: A
Atmosphere: A
Value: A (prices are a little high, but the local/fair trade emphasis means the money stays in town or goes to a worthy cause)
Overall: A