While Muskogee, Oklahoma is perhaps better known as the home of the beautiful Honor Heights Park and as a burgeoning arts scene, its dining community is not to be overlooked. Barbecue is king in Muskogee, though diners will also find an award-winning bakery, a welcoming Italian dining establishment and hip coffeehouses. Read on for our guide to the city’s best restaurants.
A family owned bakery and cafe in operation for over 20 years, Harmony House is local Muskogee diner’s go-to for delicious baked sweet treats and hearty lunches. With accolades like being voted Muskogee Phoenix’s Best Place for Lunch and a nod from Southern Living magazine for Oklahoma’s Best Cookie, they can’t be going wrong. Housed in a charming 100-year-old building located in the heart of the city, Harmony House offers guests a warm welcoming alongside a menu full of items like sandwiches, salads and soups alongside treats like iced brownies, key lime pie and carrot cake. Don’t forget to try their award-winning cookies available in flavors like snicker doodle, peanut butter and chocolate chip.
Since owners David and Sue Vanderford first opened the joint in 1979, Cowboys Bar-B-Q has become synonymous far and wide with mouth-watering barbecue, sandwiches and burgers and has even attracted celebrity clientele like country music megastars Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw. Open six days a week, some of Cowboys Bar-B-Q’s most loved menu items are its barbecue dinners available with meats including chopped beef, smoked turkey and sausage links all served with a side of cowboy beans, French fries and Texas toast. The restaurant’s themed evenings, such as its South of the Border Mexican night featuring tacos, tamales and enchilada, are also very popular.
The Erly Rush
Craving a caffeine kick in Muskogee? Then head on down to the Erly Rush – a hip, bohemian little coffeehouse in downtown Muskogee serving coffee fit for any connoisseur alongside pastries and other beverages. Opened in 2012, the coffeehouse is shabby-chic in character with exposed brick walls and comfy, mismatched armchairs perfect for sitting back and relaxing with a hot cup of coffee. The Erly Rush has specially roasted beans by Nordaggios Coffee & Espresso Bar in neighboring Tulsa. A second drive thru location recently opened on North York Street.
Hamlin’s El Toro
First opened in 1958, Hamlin’s El Toro is one of Muskogee’s most popular, long-standing Mexican restaurants and a dining tradition for local diners hankering after some spicy south of the border fare. Guests rave about Hamlin’s chips served with two sauces, including its much-loved secret recipe white sauce – a perfect way to start a meal before moving on to an appetizer of flautas, stuffed mushrooms or bacon cheese fries. Entrees include a number of burgers and salads, though for an authentic dining experience opt for the Mexican dinner – a plate packed with which items like taco, enchiladas, tamales, rice and refried beans to name but a few. Finish with sopaipillas with honey for dessert.
Runts Bar-B-Q & Grill
Located a short drive from Muskogee’s beautiful Honor Heights Park, the popular barbecue joint Runts Bar-B-Q & Grill is perfect for refueling with some much needed hearty grub after a day exploring Muskogee’s sights. Inside Runts Bar-B-Q & Grill, guests relax in a homey, hunting lodge-like dining room while feasting on barbecue dinners like full ribs, sliced beef brisket and pulled pork. Other options include sandwiches and burgers, loaded baked potatoes and a range of succulent steaks including New York strip, sirloin and rib eye. Diners who are particularly hungry will love its all-you-can-eat dinners.
My Place Bar-B-Q
A local dining tradition since it first opened its doors way back in 1927, My Place Bar-B-Q is one of Oklahoma’s most long-standing family owned restaurants and with over 80 successful years in business, the popular fast-casual establishment must doing something right. Open for lunch and dinner, guests at My Place Bar-B-Q can opt for a daily barbecue buffet (which includes meats like ribs, grilled chicken, and sliced brisket and sides such as potato salad, corn and mashed potatoes) or choose from an a la carte menu full of barbecue dinners, burgers and sandwiches. Guests can also take home a bottle or two of its signature barbecue sauce available sweet, mild or hot.
Gino’s Italian Ristorante
A family-friendly restaurant serving deliciously fresh Italian fare, Gino’s Italian Ristorante is located on the outskirts of downtown Muskogee and offers guests an authentic dining experience in welcoming, homey surroundings. Inside, Gino’s Italian Ristorante is decorated like a typical Tuscan farmhouse, with brightly colored murals depicting quaint Italian villages decorating the walls and a warm, inviting ambiance. All guests start with a basket of Gino’s homemade crusty Italian bread, while the restaurant’s varied menu features tempting appetizers like fried calamari and crabmeat-stuffed mushrooms with alla panna sauce, alongside hearty entrees like chicken Genovese and sausage pizaola.
Located in the heart of downtown Muskogee, Club Lunch is a popular mom and pop-style cafe diner open Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch. First opened in 1913, the establishment has always been a local diner favorite and its delicious, home-style cooking makes it a comfort food go-to. Club Lunch’s menu changes each day and guests can choose from daily lunch specials that regularly feature classic home-cooked dishes, such as chicken fried steak, meatloaf, chicken tortilla soup and three-way pasta with Italian sausage. For diners in a dash, the restaurant has recently launched a range of grab ‘n’ go salad boxes which include cobb, oriental ginger and winter salad.
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