When you’re craving diner food in Tulsa, OK, look no further than Brownies Hamburgers. You can’t go wrong with the food, or the homemade root beer and pies.
In late January I worked a booth at a fishing & hunting tradeshow in OKC, selling T-Post Steppers with Michele. We both looked (and felt) totally out of place when the show started Friday but over the course of the weekend we became great saleswomen, had a lot more fun than either of us ever thought we would, and made some great new friends. One of the vendors we met and spent time with was the guys from Johnson Tree Stands. They were in Tulsa a couple weeks ago for another show, and had very generously donated a tree stand to the POSSE auction. Michele and I weren’t working that show, so I went to Tulsa to pick it up, and stayed the night to get out of Stillwater for an evening.
I can’t go to Tulsa, far less stay the night, without stopping at Bodean Market to pick up fresh seafood on the way home. Bodean doesn’t open till noon on Sundays, so I had time for lunch first.
Deciding where to eat was much easier said than done. There are a lot of restaurants in the area where I was staying, but I couldn’t decide between fast-casual or sit-down. And then I couldn’t make up my mind on cuisine. I must have changed my mind 10 times in about 15 minutes, and drove around in circles for most of that time. I finally decided to drive out to Fat Guy’s Burger Bar, which was my very first blog post. The picture was bad, and the writing was average at best so it was a great opportunity to fix both. But as I made yet another U-turn and drove down the road, I saw Brownies Hamburgers. I pulled into the parking lot, read a few great reviews, could smell the divine burger scent from the car, and headed inside.
There are 3 Brownies locations in the Tulsa area. I went to the original, which has been open since 1956, and is about a 1/2 mile from the Tulsa State Fairgrounds. The Utica Square location is called Brownies Gourmet Burgers; no surprise, since Utica Square is a very upscale neighborhood. The original is 100% diner through and through, and it doesn’t look like the interior has changed at all since it opened. But that of course is part of the charm. It’s a narrow building, with the cash register as you enter, open kitchen behind the register, 6 booths along the right wall, a couple of tables in the back, and then seating at the counter bar. The tables were all full, so I sat at the counter.
Brownies offers breakfast until 11am, and then they switch over to lunch. Both breakfast and lunch are very simple with limited items, and include diner favorites. In typical diner fashion, the menu hangs above the counter.
I’ve never really been a root beer drinker, but Brownies makes their own so of course I had to try it
This. Was. Fantastic. The root beer is wonderfully rich, but not heavy, and I love the frosty mug. Even better? Free refills! An unexpected, and pleasant surprise. I’m not sure how unlimited the refills are; I got 2, but was drinking mine pretty slowly. You can do a root beer float, but I stuck with the original this time.
In addition to the regular burgers, Brownies also offers a few specialty burgers created by the staff.
What a cool idea! I considered one of those, but for this first trip I went simple. The burgers are 2oz patties, so I got a double deluxe cheeseburger. Deluxe adds lettuce and tomato, and I also did grilled onions instead of raw
The burger is so good, and the perfect size. I love raw onions. But grilling them, especially on the same flat top as the burgers, adds incredible flavor. The buns are toasted, very likely on that same flat top. A couple of reviewers complained that the burgers are greasy. Seriously?? Pretty sure they’ve used that same flat top since the restaurant opened, so of course the burgers are a little greasy. Besides, that’s what diner food is for! If you don’t want some grease, don’t go to a diner.
Of course I couldn’t get a burger without a side. Well, I could, but that would be no fun. I couldn’t decide between “Freedom Fries” and onion rings, so I got both.
Unfortunately, the fries were disappointing. I’m a huge french fry snob, and these were a little overcooked and not as scorching hot as I would like. However, they are crisp on the outside, and fluffy on the inside, the way french fries should be. Had I only ordered fries, I would have sent them back. The onion rings, on the other hand, were fabulous. The batter is light and flaky, and falling off as I bit into them. I devoured every single onion ring.
Brownies makes their own pies, including chocolate, coconut, lemon, butterscotch, and banana. The pie display is in a case behind the serving counter, and my seat looked straight at that pie display. I briefly contemplated getting one, but I decided to be smart and skip the pie this time.
Will I go back to Brownies? No question! Yes, you smell like fried food when you leave, but sometimes you have to make that sacrifice. The food is delicious, I’m obsessed with the root beer, and I really want a piece of pie.