Classic 50’s Drive-In
1521 W. Lindsey St., Norman
like the type of Friday night hangout where greasers and bobbysoxers
would mingle together over burgers and malts before a switchblade-laden
rumble, Classic 50s Drive-In is a tried-and-true Norman institution. The
classic long coney with cheese ($3.19) is a treat, as is their
selection of potato boats, including the Fantasy Boat ($6.89) stuffed
with barbecue brisket. What really sets Classic 50’s apart is the
Sprittle ($3.19), a concoction that mixes Sprite with a bag of Skittles.
Ann’s Chicken Fry House
4106 NW 39th St.
Chicken Fry House is a John Waters movie come to life, adorned with the
kitschiest of mismatched ’50s memorabilia that begs for newbie Route 66
riders and veteran patrons to take selfies between bites of its
one-pound chicken fried steak dinner ($13.65). Order it with the
signature mashed potatoes, gravy and fried okra. It’s all in an
atmosphere that lends itself unironically to pink flamingos and pink
Yarber’s 50s Cafe
2801 S. May Ave.
is an anomaly, a diner situated among the taquerias and food trucks.
However, Yarber’s captures an honest timeout-of-place feel that is
reflected by the broad menu, most of which features items named after
popular stars of the time. For example, why have a plain ol’
cheeseburger when you could have a Charlton Heston ($6.29) or a Louie
Armstrong ($5.99)? The Duke ($5.99), covered in chili, onions, kosher
pickles and secret sauce, ain’t too shabby either, pilgrim.
704 SW 59th St.
paraphrase Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, “Sherri, baby, can we
eat out tonight?” This diner is complete with checkered linoleum floors,
classic metal signage and a menu with reasonably priced items that even
Ike would’ve liked. For a double-barreled meal of four-wheeled
nostalgia, gas up with the turkey and bacon T-Bird sandwich ($6.29) or
the ham and Swiss Pink Cadillac sandwich ($5.99). And don’t forget that
fresh cherry cobbler!
322 E. Main St., Shawnee
Shawnee favorite, Hamburger King lives up to its name with high-quality
burgers for a steal, served in an old-school diner with no pretension. Hamburgers,
cheeseburgers and all the double- and triple-meat variations thereof
fill the menu. Try the Triple Kicker ($8.55): three all-beef patties,
bacon, pepper Jack cheese, grilled jalapeños and all the fixin’s in a
titanic sandwich that’ll permanently erase the word “Whopper” from your
517 N. Porter Ave., Norman
on your poodle skirt and twist over to one of Boomarang’s locations
(all over the state). Try one of its famous breakfast items, like the
big ham country breakfast with a slice of ham, two eggs, hash browns and
toast or biscuits and gravy ($9.79), served all day. If breakfast isn’t
your thing, don’t cry, baby; stop in for a gourmet hickory cheddar
burger ($4.09), a hot link sandwich ($4.79) or a chicken strip basket
($7.99). Don’t forget the fries ($2.29) and hot fudge cake ($2.29).
Fat Elvis Diner
4 E. Main St., Yukon
your baby left you and you’re looking for a new place to dwell, head on
down to Main Street in Yukon to the Fat Elvis Diner. While the King
might have been past his prime by the time he was packing on the pounds,
the Fat Elvis diner is anything but. Start with the hunka hunka burning
love that is the King size fried onion burger ($3.09) or the eponymous
Fat Elvis burger ($4.99), and then get all shook up with a side order of
fat fried pickles ($1.60) and an extra-large sundae ($4.25).
— by Louis Fowler, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman