FOOD: Destination Dining

Written by Laura Beam in the June 2014 Issue

Destination DiningBlame it on the season. The first weeks of summer strike us all with a restless wanderlust. Our thoughts drift helplessly beyond our computers and cubicles to exotic beaches and fun destinations, begging us to new adventures. Local theme parks open their gates. Kids are out of school. Summer camps and sports leagues spring into action. We can’t help but crave a little excitement to expand our horizons.

Great food is a memorable highlight of most getaways—that fabulous bagel shop we happened upon in New York City, the amazing seafood restaurant we discovered in Texas or that renowned eatery in Florida. Great food is a thrill we never grow tired of exploring. It’s a destination and lure all its own. Minus a lofty bank account and extensive work leave, we can’t jet away enough to fill the void. But we can gratify our innate hunger for adventure with some delicious local getaways just beyond our doorstep.

Bulls-eye Find

Since 2006, shooting sports fans have been privy to an unexpected OKC dining treasure that’s now on the radar of many local diners. Who would have guessed that a metro icon like H&H Shooting Sports would also be a hometown hot spot for world-famous onion burgers, chicken salad sandwiches, loaded hot dogs and daily specials like open-face roast beef sandwiches that rival the most celebrated diners in the state? At 4U Café & Catering, located at H&H Shooting Sports, specially seasoned grilled onions, fresh-cut fries, hand-dipped onion rings and 100% certified Angus Beef delight customers every day of the week.

Originally opened as a small coffee and sandwich shop, the café soon expanded in 2007. Manager, Yvonne Cagle, notes that since then, the café has expanded twice due to a growing number of patrons and catering business. Guests come to “shop, shoot, have business meetings, attend classes, hold parties and events in three event rooms and enjoy time with friends and family at the cafe,” Cagle comments. With four TVs, it’s also a fun hangout for watching games. Guests also love the availability of the kids menu for all ages. They get it—smaller portions aren’t a crime!

Food, Mood and Mystery

Date night enthusiasts, take note. There’s a secluded culinary hideaway near NE 63rd and Eastern in OKC that sparks romance upon arrival. Tucked in a deeply wooded enclave and shrouded in mystery, the Haunted House restaurant, celebrating its 50-year anniversary, serves up legendary steaks, seafood, pasta, lobster, chicken and rack of lamb in an unforgettable atmosphere. Exquisite food preparation makes this flawless menu a consistent attraction. Amid flickering candlelight and linen-clad tables, the thrill of this storied mansion comes to life.

The fabled country manor-turned-restaurant was formerly home to Mr. and Mrs. Carriker and their stepdaughter. In 1963, Mr. Carriker was murdered. Before the stepdaughter went on trial for murder, Mrs. Carriker died. A jury found the stepdaughter innocent and just before a foreclosure that would have rid her of the tragedy-ridden mansion, she was found dead. The murder was never solved and the case has been dropped, but the legend lives on today. Marian Thibault and late husband Arthur have been the sole owners of The Haunted House for 50 years. Marian comments that the restaurant is “like a romantic country inn that’s special for couples, friends, wedding parties and other events.”

A Taste of the Old West

A short drive to the landmark Oklahoma territory of Mulhall leads you to one of our state’s ultimate dining destinations. At the historic intersection of Highway 77 and Main Street in Mulhall, Lucille’s Restaurant stands as a tribute to the land rush days and pioneering spirit of the Old West. Whether you cruise into town on your Harley or in the family SUV, Lucille’s delicious home-style foods like chicken fried steak, catfish, steaks and famous homemade pies, are an attraction not to be missed. Sunday brunch is an event all its own, replete with hearty favorites like homemade biscuits, waffles and all the trimmings you’d expect of a chuckwagon-style feast.

Brothers Don and Chris Harman restored this lively roadhouse after it was damaged by an F4 tornado and devastating fire. Today, this colorful slice of Americana boasts all the authentic western flair of its namesake, Lucille Mulhall, who was dubbed ‘America’s first cowgirl’ by Will Rogers. Rustic furnishings and artifacts recall a bygone era of simpler charms. Guests love to stroll the four-corner area and see the covered wagon and 1894 sandstone bank then kick back on Lucille’s spacious patio with a cool drink in hand.

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