Classic 50’s Drive-In
1521 W. Lindsey St., Norman
Looking 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.
Yarber’s 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.
To 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
A 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 vocabulary.
517 N. Porter Ave., Norman
Put 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
If 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