We know. It’s hot. It’s summer in Oklahoma. Cool down by sampling cocktails that local bars and restaurants have concocted just for you. Find a nice, air conditioned space or a shaded patio and while away the hours drinking the flavors of summer. You might decide it’s not that bad after all.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock, Shannon Cornman and Lauren Hamilton
There are a wealth of new local eateries cropping up in the metro and even more coming. If they’re not on your radar, they should be. From the comfy atmosphere at The Barrel on Western Avenue to the laid-back vibe at the Plaza District’s coffee shop, you might find a new regular hangout.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies
3721 N.W. 50th
What works: dessert fried pies
What needs work: Not the place to go if you are looking to dine-in.
Tip: If you can’t decide, just ask for a sample.
Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for desserts, or maybe it’s because I’ll eat nearly anything that’s fried, but the signs for “Fried Pies” along the Arbuckle Mountains are among the most interesting to me.
Recently, I was driving through Oklahoma City and noticed signs for Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies. I admit, I didn’t read the signs closely and thought it strange for a fried pie business some 75 miles away to be advertising so much in the metro.
When I paid closer attention, I noticed there is actually an OKC location. Since August of 2011, it’s been serving up freshly made dessert and meat pies seven days a week.
The OKC restaurant is in addition to the original Davis location on I-35. Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies has been opening shops across the Sooner State, Texas, Arkansas, Colorado and, most recently, Tennessee.
Pie in the sky
If you are craving a novelty like fried pies, the eatery won’t disappoint. The menu includes traditional fruit fried pies like apricot, apple, cherry, peach, pineapple and blackberry. And for cream-pie lovers like me, it also includes chocolate, coconut, lemon and vanilla. If you’re hungry for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the menu includes heartier pies like beef and vegetable, spinach and mushroom, broccoli-chicken and Tex-Mex.
All pie fillings and crust are made from scratch daily, hand-folded, crimped and fried in peanut oil. Company-wide, the apricot pies are its best seller. In OKC, manager Roger Hamilton says the cream pies seem to be the most popular.
For lunch, I gave the pizza-style fried pie a try. Folded inside a flaky crust, it is pretty basic and includes pepperoni, tomato sauce and melted Italian cheeses. The meat and vegetable pies are made-to-order, so be careful — they are hot! I also gave the bacon, cheese and egg fried pie a shot. The breakfast pie was packed full of cheese but had a little less egg than I was expecting.
Both were good, but I favored the dessert pies a bit more. You can’t go wrong with chocolate! While I’m a fairly small girl, I have a really big appetite, so one pie wasn’t quite enough to fill me up since I was making an entire meal of it. One meat pie and one dessert pie did the trick, however.
The restaurant’s interior is reminiscent of a donut shop, with just a few small tables and chairs and a large glass display case. While you can dine inside, most customers get their orders to go, and I’d probably recommend the same. For people in a hurry, there is also a drive-through window and call-ahead ordering.
The staff is extremely friendly, and Hamilton said the same of customers.
“It’s a real neat business to be in,” he said. “In most businesses that work with the public, you have to deal with angry people. There aren’t a lot of angry people who eat fried pies. We have a very warm clientele.”
Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies sees a lot of regular customers and tourists — local people bringing out-of-town guests in for a unique Southern dish. The restaurant also keeps busy with catering orders for corporate clients.
The pies are reasonably priced, ranging from $2.99 to $3.99 each. And if you are looking for a deal, dessert pies — which are made fresh each morning — are frozen at the end of the day and sold at a discount. Frozen pies are sold individually ($2.29) or discounted deeper at a dozen ($1.89). Hamilton recommends baking frozen pies in the oven instead of the microwave to get a crispier crust.
If you’re like me and have a hard time deciding what to order, don’t fret. Samples of each filling can be provided upon request.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.