The owners and chefs at Santa Fe Cattle rely on old family recipes that demand steaks are aged and cut in-house, rolls are baked fresh each day, and signature sauces are mixed onsite. These touches transform the menu’s casual, regional eats into dishes worthy of John Wayne’s personal dressing-room buffet. Steaks, fajitas, and sliders are plated next to housemade sides of cole slaw, Santa Fe taters, and of course, a bucket of peanuts—which guests shuck directly onto the floor. The peanut shells add character to each one of the restaurant’s 20 locations, which evoke old-west saloons with touches such as brick walls draped in horse saddles and weathered wooden floors.
Located within Lake Murray State Park—Oklahoma’s oldest and largest state park—the rustic Lake Murray Lodge is just a short drive away from the shores of the eponymous body of water. The main lodge is centrally located, surrounded by a cluster of freestanding cabins and cottages. Head to the main building to grab a meal at the Apple Bin restaurant or snuggle up in front of the rustic fireplace. Lake Murray State Park is known for outdoor recreation, including horseback riding, numerous ATV trails, swimming beaches, and fishing.
Driving on Safari Road, a family is surprised by a curious emu peering through the car windows. Through the windshield, they can see zebras and antelopes in the distance. Though awe-inspiring, these sights have been a common occurrence for the past 35 years at Arbuckle Wilderness Park, an open-air park where the animals roam free. The 200-acre wilderness in the Arbuckle Mountains contains species from five continents in similar habitats to the ones they would have known in their native lands. In addition to feeding animals from their cars, guests can also feed and touch gentle animals at a petting zoo and examine scales at the house of reptiles, whereas more physical amusements include bumper boats and go-karts, weather permitting. An on-site gift shop allows guests to pickup souvenirs to remember their visit.
Vintage and bohemian-inspired apparel, costume jewelry, and eye-catching gifts drape from eclectic props at Cloverleaf Boutique, drawing shoppers in with their whimsy and charm. "The Cloverleaf is one of those stores you notice while driving by and think: 'I've got to stop in there,'" said Jennifer Palmer of NewsOK. Colorful throw pillows mingle with kitschy lampshades, and cowboy boots line up for the opportunity to dance with flouncy dresses. Cloverleaf Boutique's one-of-a-kind outfits and gift ideas evolve from season to season.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.