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.
The vision behind Speedy Gonzalez is simple: fresh Mexican fare served fast and free of pretension. Chefs plate dishes ranging from taco salad with a crispy shell to deep-fried, gooey burritos, plus specialty items including the signature deep-fried boneless chicken paired with honey bread. The dining room's simple taqueria style invites diners to enjoy their meals perched atop red, blue, green, and yellow chairs scooted under a long row of tables.
The very first International House of Pancakes opened its doors in Toluca Lake, California in 1958. Now, more than 1,000 locations populate the country's states and territories. They stuff bellies with hot lunch, bacon, eggs, and signature pancakes with toppings such as warm fruit compote or cream-cheese icing. The Tulsa location leaves its doors open 24 hours a day, satisfying midnight cravings and welcoming the morning with omelets wide open.
The cooks at Dugan Jack’s Smokehouse eschew sauces when smoking their Memphis-style pork, brisket, and ribs. Instead, they smoke their rubbed meats over pecans or a pecan-and-apple mix to draw out a sweet, smoky flavor. Though it flies in the face of their philosophy, they also stock tomato-based Kansas City–style barbecue sauce just in case a food fight breaks out.
To make jerk chicken, Hibiscus Caribbean Bar & Grill’s signature dish, native Jamaican chefs marinate the meat in Jamaican scotch pepper and allspice, grill it over an open flame, and then drizzle the crispy result with hibiscus pepper sauce. The dish has been hailed by Urban Tulsa Weekly as “a great tasting blend of spices with deeply grilled chicken,” and it's one of the eatery’s many entrees that showcase imported Jamaican spices and traditional culinary techniques. Chefs also prepare piquant curry dishes and stir-fry meats with fresh pineapple. Whenever possible, they enhance dishes with local and organic ingredients.
At Hibiscus Caribbean Bar & Grill’s rum bar, diners can watch high-definition TVs or visualize completing a perfect rhythmic-gymnastics routine to soothing island and world music. The restaurant also occasionally hosts bands and other live entertainment.
Big Daddy’s pins down hunger with a menu of hearty sandwiches, smoky meat platters, and lip-smacking sides. When combined with a brisket sandwich ($4.56), a baked potato loaded with cheese, bacon bits, butter, and ranch ($4.01) floods mouths with an unstoppable deluge of flavor. Appetites that lean toward the aquatic side can hook a scrumptious catfish dinner ($9.24), while feasters seeking other meats can order the Big Daddy’s Plate, which spreads out a trio of samplings from a roster that includes hot links, ribs, pulled pork, chicken, and turkey ($9.49). Both meals are flanked by your choice of two sides, such as baked beans and fried okra or coleslaw and hushpuppies. Mild, sweet, and hot homemade sauces help meaty morsels slide tastefully into tummies, and are also available by the bottle ($3.50 each). To close out the meal, diners can chew into a slice of sweet potato pie ($3.50) garnished with a pound of shrimp ($11.20) or cajun boudain ($9.29).