The chefs at Potbelly’s Pub and Grill already had an arsenal of seared, juicy burgers on their menu when Pat, a regular customer, came up with a bold recipe that would become a hit. He introduced the kitchen to a special type of sausage and told the chefs how to mix it with their ground beef to create a new kind of burger. After sampling it, owners Dave Ingram, Kerry Tunnell, and Dan Pollard liked the burger so much that they named it the Pat burger and feature it prominently on their menu. These extraordinary flavors in pub food are what continue to grab Potbelly’s so much attention, even getting raves in a 2011 Tulsa World review. In addition to their burger baskets with golden fries, the cooks load up plates of nachos with chili, chicken, and cheese and top pulled-pork sandwiches with coleslaw and crunchy red onions. In the dining area, patrons clink pint glasses of beer from the full bar while playing tic-tac-toe with their cues on the pool table. The interior feel welcomes guests as though they were coming home, nowhere more so than in the room’s eclectic collection of antique and flea-market finds mounted on the walls.
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"Well, it started as solely a wine bar," Chris explains, the sound of plates chattering together in the background. "Customers were just begging for food. I guess we were forced into the restaurant business in the best kind of way." The menu, which owners Zach and Chris Collins have taken to calling Americana-fusion, is the brainchild of chef Nate Creekmore, who gallantly fuses the dishes of his rural upbringing with hints of French, Italian, and German cuisine. As pork chops and fish sputter warmly against a grill, he stirs delicate sauces crafted from lemons, capers, and butter or vanilla beans and saffron. "We have customers come in from across the pond, say this is the best fish and chips they've had anywhere, ever," says Chris of the Guinness-battered Alaskan cod that emerge from the fryer.
The eatery’s roots as a wine bar shine through in a selection of more than 120 bottled elixirs. To house 50 wines available by the glass and keep the spry sommelier from ever aging, Cork employs a behemoth Enomatic wine–storage system imported from Florence, Italy. "It's the big guy,” says Chris. “It presses the wine with food-grade nitrogen, giving it enough pressure to pour it into your glass, keeping the wine prime for up to three weeks." Murals painted by a local artist match the rustic décor––stacked-stone walls, granite counter tops, and bartenders carved from driftwood by friendly sheriffs. It's bucolic touches such as these that helped earn Cork a glowing review in the Tulsa World newspaper.
When residents complained about the lack of authentic Latin American restaurants in Tulsa, Casa Laredo and Las Americas Latin Grill & Tequila Bar’s owners, Antonio Perez and Guillermo Rojas and four generations of their family, answered their call with a torrent of Argentinian-inspired dishes. Within their eatery, wooden beams soar over tables draped in white tablecloths, which populate with South American specialties such as empanadas and fried plantains, as well as Mexican favorites including burritos, fajitas, and enchiladas. Another traditional Latin dish, parrillada, enlivens taste buds with its bounty of grilled chicken, steak, pork, and sausage—a feast that feeds up to three people or one lion that’s watching his weight.