Navigating the noontime traffic in Tahlequah can be a challenge, but for many local residents, choosing a spot for lunch is the most enjoyable part of the workday.
Some folks go home or find a quiet spot at a park, while others use the allotted time to tackle an errand or two. For those looking to break bread at a local restaurant, time can be a factor, but the quality of food and service are the most important details to consider.
In a Daily Press poll on Facebook last week, area residents were asked to name their favorite restaurants, specifically with lunch in mind. Nearly 30 eateries were noted for their service and menus, and among those most often mentioned were Fish’s Bar B Que, Vidalia’s Cafe & Catering, KTK Angus Steakhouse, Ruby’s, Charlie’s Chicken, and the new Akropolis Greek restaurant, as well as some of the local Mexican eateries.
Lunch patron and poll respondent Olga Hoenes enjoys the option of having a steak, but also likes sandwiches on Tuscan-style bread.
“I have two places,” she said. “I’ve become attached to KTK. It’s got excellent food and friendly people. The tables are not too close together. My other favorite place is Vidalia’s. The food is great, and the owners are fantastic and friendly.”
Vidalia’s co-owner Regina Mills said patrons visit the 319 N. Muskogee Ave. location not just to try one of the many salads or sandwiches, but to satisfy their sweet tooth.
“We sell a lot of sweet things during the lunch hour,” she said. “We make all homemade desserts. Homemade cheese cakes, homemade pies, homemade cakes, cookies and brownies, and they are sooo good. We also have grilled sandwiches.”
The salads are customer favorites.
“Our La Jolla salad is really popular. It’s got spinach, chicken, cranberries, walnut, boiled egg and cheese, and we usually like to put a raspberry vinaigrette on it. It’s pretty healthy,” said Mills. “Probably our most popular sandwich is the Montana panini. It’s got turkey, bacon, pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado with ranch, and it’s on panini bread, which is a Tuscan type of bread.”
Co-owner Michelle Naylor, Mills’ daughter, said they’re humbled to be a lunchtime favorite. She said the north-end district establishment prepares meals with serving families in mind.
“We try to make it as pleasing as possible,” she said.
For those who have found the home of the “Badwich” sandwich and make the short trek off Muskogee Avenue to its location, Fish’s Bar B Que offers exceptional dining, according to poll respondent Leonard Glass.
“Fish’s: darn good eating,” he said.
Manager Jack Montgomery said the local barbecue restaurant sells “a lot of Badwich sandwiches.”
“It starts out with a hot link and has sliced brisket, sliced bologna, cheese, mustard and we have a barbecue sauce that goes with it,” he said. “We also have the sliced the brisket sandwiches and the pulled pork sandwiches that are real popular during the lunch hour. Our lunch [crowd] is real good during the week.”
Poll respondent Lue Osburn Hansen lives out of state, but makes it a point to eat at Fish’s on her annual visit to Tahlequah.
“I only get to come to Tahlequah once a year because I live in Minnesota. So I love to go to Fish’s for the barbecue,” she said.
Anyone dealing with a hankering for baked potato soup may satisfy the craving at Ruby’s, said poll respondent Makayla Winsett.
“Their baked potato soup and sourdough bread are amazing,” she said.
Angela Sumter agrees: “Ruby’s! Baked potato soup.”
Ruby’s owner Nicole Henson said the customers also like their sandwiches.
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