Exploring Tulsa: the sights of T-Town by Meghan Joiner
I moved to Tulsa about two and a half years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas. Slowly but surely, I’ve discovered some great restaurants, hangouts, and local gems that make Tulsa unique. Whether you’ve lived here your whole life, or just got here, I encourage you ladies to explore the ins and outs of this great city and find your go-to spot. Here are just a few of the places I’ve come to love over the years.
Best Place for Cheese Fries: Here me out, locals. As an import from Arkansas with an affinity for fried potatoes covered in cheese, I made it a goal to find the best cheese fries in Tulsa. Most of you would probably say, “The Brook, duh.” You would be correct. The gravity-defying mass of gooey, greasy goodness must be seen to be believed. I highly recommend getting bacon, chives, and jalapenos added on top. Also, bring your appetite or all of your friends, because I could barely make a dent in the half portion. The Brook is at 3401 South Peoria. Plus, you can walk up and down Brookside and check out the fabulous boutiques to work off some of those cheese fries calories.
Best Bookstore: Located at 221 E. Archer Street downtown, Magic City Books is owned by the Tulsa Literary Coalition, which is a nonprofit organization with a goal of promoting literacy in adults and teens. Right as you walk through the doors, the atmosphere is warm and inviting, with friendly, knowledgeable staff and a welcoming scent of coffee in the air. The organization offers book clubs, lectures, book signings, poetry nights, and more. With a large children’s section and a great “Staff Picks” bay, I encourage you to make a trip to Magic City and support a good cause.
Best Spa: Spa Southern Hills, located in the Marriott Tulsa at 1902 East 71st Street, is a fantastic indulgence. The whole staff is kind and well-trained. My therapist could tell just by looking at me where my problem spots were, and made sure to spend extra time working through knots I didn’t even know I had. I highly recommend the hydrotherapy tub experience. Southern Hills’ giant soaker tubs are in a beautifully lit, closed off area, and are filled with hot water and magnesium sulfate. I was provided with an eye ice mask, so the contrast in temperatures added a neat rejuvenation effect. By the time I was through with my appointment, my brain was practically mush and I felt as if I were floating on air. Do yourself a favor and call Spa Southern Hills!
Best Movie Theater: Originally opening ninety years ago, Circle Cinema is the place to go for mainstream movies, art house indies, and the classics. Circle is a local, nonprofit business that makes it a goal to inform and enlighten patrons of the magic and culture associated with the sliver screen. It does a lot with local filmmakers, offering lectures, special events, and even has a walk of fame honoring Oklahoma’s actors, directors, and writers (such as Kristin Chenoweth, Ron Howard, and everyone’s favorite Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris!). We like to go here to see the Oscar-nominated short films and to support the local economy. Be sure to schedule a little extra time when you go to check out the art and exhibits in the lobby.
Best Dinner Experience: While this place is outside of Tulsa, I can assure you the farm-to-table dining experience at Living Kitchen Farm and Dairy is worth the drive. Located outside of Depew, Oklahoma, the staff of Living Kitchen creates artistic stories on plates using either their own or locally sourced products. In the week before you make your reservation, they send out an email with suggested wine pairings for the meal; but you bring whatever beverages you’d like with you! They also served some delicious infused tea and water for the non-drinkers. The dining experience is on a screened-in porch behind a rustic cabin in the woods; you sit at a long farmhouse table with all of the other guests. At my experience, we had course after course celebrating the heirloom tomato. Before being served, the chefs would tell us about the dish, its inspiration, and from where the dish was sourced. I cannot recommend this place enough. Be sure to be on the website ready to make your reservations the second they become available or I guarantee you will miss out.
Best Antique Store: If you are anything like my husband, mid-century modern furniture and décor gives you the warm fuzzies. Vintage Vault, at 1134 South Harvard, has a large selection of inventory – everything from couches and tables to clothing and vinyl records. We’ve spent not an insignificant amount of our paychecks on pieces from Vintage Vault, and we keep going back for more. Plus, if you let the owner know that you’re in search of a specific item, he will be on the lookout for it. This is a great place to spend an afternoon getting in touch with your retro side!
Best Date Night: Tavolo, located at 427 S Boston, is a little Italian bistro with big flavors. Dimly lit and cozy, this is a great place to go for a fancy date night or drinks after work. The meatballs have a great kick to them, and the plating is worthy of a Food and Wine photo spread. I highly recommend ordering the Gnocchi. Tavolo also has Winesdays, where you can try a flight of wines with hors d’oeuvres. They also have a PAC Tasting Menu for evenings when the Performing Arts Center has an event. A restaurant that produces great food and wine, and supports the arts – what more could you want?