The OKC Vintage Restaurant Collection Photos


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103 Comments

  1. I can remember eating at El Charrito’s with my grandmother and always ordering the “Pony Plate”. I can still see the pink building at one of the locations. It always stuck with me but being so young, Robinson and Paseo both sounded familiar as an address. And since I couldn’t recall the name of the restaurant, only that it served Mexican food, I never searched for it. Well, now I know, there was one at both locations. I wasn’t crazy after all!! Thank you.

    • YES–The Pony Plate! It was a small oval plate, a mini version of a grown-up’s plate. And it was SO hot. The refried beans steaming. Man, that was the best Mexican restaurant ever.

      So glad I found this site!

      I came here looking for a photo of The Patio but so far haven’t found one.

    • I remember throwing a fit in El Charrito’s when I was little because I wanted egg noodles & they didn’t have any!!

    • Randy Harrington

      I remember the radio jingle for El Charritos and it was a great restaurant . I was with my 6th grade class having been on a field trip and we all ate at El Charritos . what great food and memories

    • THE FLAG WAS FROM CASA BONITA’S

      • Ah, yes. Casa Bonita out on the N.W. Highway in OKC.
        When I was a student at Oklahoma City University during the ’60’s, a bunch of us, on Sunday evening, would go to Casa Bonita to eat. We would go through the All You Can Eat buffet line. The price of the AYCE was, believe it or not, $1.47, which back then, to a lot of college students, wasn’t exactly “chump change”. What great memories.

        • Casa Bonita was at 39th and Portland. The building was recently torn down to make room for a Winco Supermarket.

          • The flag was raised for service @ Panchos. Back in early 1960s it was $.79 cents for kids & $1.49 all u can eat for adults. How about Zider Zee seafood restaurant. Which became Der Dutchman. The Pirates Catch with different fried fish, clams, and the long thjn hush puppies. Oh my!!

    • In the ’60’s, our family would go to El Charrito’s on Paseo, every Friday evening. At first, I would just order a bowl of chile, but gradually, I began to like the Enchilada Dinner, which is what my folks would always order.
      Also enjoyed the chips and sauce along with the warm, corn tortillas.
      One of my favorite childhood memories.

  2. Glad to fill in the blanks Vickie! And by the way, our upcoming projects will, hopefully, include a lot more items relating to El Charrito’s.

  3. Was this the restaurant that when you ran out of something at your table you ran up a little flag? Loved that place but cannot remember the name of it.

    • Chris Papahronis

      The name of the “Raise the Flag” for more food or service was Pancho’s.

      It was located on N. May Avenue on or about 38th St.

    • Casa Bonita at 39th and Portland also had the raise-flag-for-refills service model. If that’s the place you remember, I think there’s still a CB in Tulsa should you need to relive the memories!

    • Pancho’s still has a location on I-240 & Penn

    • The restaurant you are thinking of I believe is Casa Bonita. It was located on NW 39th Street and Portland. There was also a location in Tulsa.

      • …and a Casa Bonita in Denver and another in Little Rock. The Denver location had cliff divers, although I’m not sure how that relates to Mexican Food. Casa Bonita was a spin-off of Taco Bueno Corporation out of Abilene, Texas.

        • Crystal’s Pizza at Northwest Highway and Rockwell in Oklahoma City was another spin-off of Taco Bueno Corporation.

      • There was also a third location and maybe the original location in Denver Colorado. It was bigger than Oklahoma City or Tulsa and had a huge two-story waterfall. And twice an hour a diver would dive into the water. My kids would always want to sit at a table in the waterfall room.

        • Denver was actually the fourth store in the chain. DFW was the last one. Denver is the only store left and still going strong.

  4. I have a Oklahoma city Art museum sign that you could make a pic out of…email me…

  5. Carleen, please email us your contact information at info@retrometrookc.org

  6. We need Han’s Bar-B-Q in the mix, also. Best BBQ in OKC. Ever.

  7. Also, Bishop’s downtown. What a great place that was.

  8. There was a Pancho’s Mexican Buffet on N.W. 39th Expressway , one on NW Expressway, one in Casady Square and one other one I can’t remember, but it was somewhere south and east of Shepherd Mall. The only one left here is just south of I-240 about 74th St.

  9. In looking at the Split-T matchbook, I am reminded that the original matchbook contained the same exact script content, but was red and white in color. It matched the red and white front door of the Split-T. Anyone have one of these matchbooks to add to the collection? Wish I did.

  10. Bill, visit again soon. We are in the midst of assembling additional images to the matchbook collection that number in the hundreds. Maybe the next addition will include the matchbook you recall.

  11. The exhibit on Latinos and Hispanics in OKlahoma at the Oklahoma History Center has a case devoted to Mexican restaurants including a menu and a couple of plates from El Charrito’s. Check it out, it’ll bring back some wonderful memories.

  12. Significant data, do you know where My partner and i could possibly get additional about this report? I have been aiming to find out a little more with regard to it to no avail. Any additional source would definitely be appreciated. You have pretty much resolved the majority of my personal concerns with this and then have done a great job with the piece.

  13. i came across several unused postcards of the El Charrito Restaurant in oklahoma city, oklahoma today. the linen era postcards have a logo with 1937-1957 on them. i was wondering where this restaurant was located in oklahoma city. was it on route 66, or another place?

    • @michael smith – The El Charrito chain started after the war with a restaurant in The Paseo and by the mid-1950s had expanded to four locations: #1 at 2909 Paseo, #2 at 113 N Robinson, #3 at 2300 N Broadway and Cafe Palacio at 3325 S Robinson. They each had their own look, so without seeing yours I couldn’t say which one you have. Feel free to upload a copy to our Facebook page.

    • I worked at the El Charrito #3 for about 2 1/2 years during my college years. I am looking for a story or article about the 1957 celebration that was held there for the 20th Anniversary of the El Charrito chain simultaneous with the 50th Anniversary of the State of Oklahoma. Al Rangel

      • Al, since you worked there, do you know anything about the ingredients for their enchiladas. They were the best I’ve ever had.

    • I don’t have a web page. But I wonder if you would be interested in giving away or selling one of the cards. In 1957 The El Charrito Restaurant chain did a week long celebration of twenty years in business. For the celebration it had coins and cards printed for the event. My guess is you have some of the 20-year mementos. I was a waiter in one of the restaurants for nearly three years while going to college.

      Angel Rangel

  14. How about the old Black Angus Steak House on Memorial Rd.
    in the area of Mercy Hospital. Yummy food.

  15. Glen’s was yummy. Do any of you guys remember Hermanns on 16th and Classen?

    • Earlier this year, Melba’s Swap Shop (in the OKC newspaper) ran the recipe for the vinegar slaw that Hermann’s served. You can still find it online.

    • Hermanns… yes. They had a fish market as well inside the restaurant. I remember buying ‘fresh’ fish and they breaded it for me. I took it home and cooked it. Cool.

    • Yes Herman’s seafood Herman’s coleslaw

  16. I am looking for information on “The Spot” drive in from the 60s and 70s in OKC on Western. I believe the Black’s owned it. I knew their daughter. She would be about 50 now, as I am. They were the greatest, nicest people. Any news of the restaurant or the Blacks is appreciated. It’s been a long time since I left OKC but still have family there. My nephew is a founder of 858 TOGO. Mike Harmon. Anyone know him? or the delivery service for restaurants? Take care and God Bless. Dan Pennington Temple, Texas
    254 229 4968

    • Rita Corona Bornoff

      Looking for the logo for the Spot drive in that was in South OKC. Celebrating my 70th Birthday in December and want to include that logo in my decorations. Anyone have a picture please forward. Thanks

    • Hi Dan Pennington. My name is Darla. You are right. The Black’s owned the spot. Their daughter (my mom) would have turned 50 this year but she passed away at age 38. I was 14years old at the time. What kind of info were u wanting? I’d be happy to help u any way I can.

  17. Dan, I’ve heard of the Spot, but I’ve not seen any other information on it. I am very aware of 858-togo, which is one of the city’s most visible delivery operations.

  18. I have a dim memory I’m hoping someone can flesh out. I recall a fine dining restaurant in the old Penn Square Mall, back when it was an open-air shopping center. This would be early 1970s. Does anyone remember what that was called?
    Thanks all.

    David

  19. Happiness is not a horse; you cannot harness it. – Russian Proverb

  20. Does anyone remember a restaurant in the 70s that had separate bedrooms as their dining areas. I think it burned down.

    • Liz Valentine

      I think it was the The Haunted house off NE expressway and Eastern, or near there. Hard to get to, but worth it.

  21. Hello. I grew up eating at Queen Anne’s cafeteria and would love to purchase a coffee cup and saucer. Do you know of anyone selling these?

  22. Does anyone remember The Patio restaurant on the Classen Curve? We used to eat there once a week in high school. I have tried and tried to recreate their Taco Salads with that great dressing. Can anyone help me???

    • Sure, I remember it. I worked there very briefly when I was in high school. (God, almost four decades ago.) It was an institution!

    • The Patio was owned by Vern Eckles…..their schnitzel was the best……can’t help you on the taco salad!
      Building is still there …….

  23. An anyone tell me when The Patio that was on Classen Circle shut down? Did they happen to relocate?

  24. does anyone remeber Westoaks 10th and Rockwell Bethany ok or 39th expressway okc.I think they may have had them in Edmond and Shawnee too.let me know

  25. does anyone remeber Westoaks 10th and Rockwell Bethany ok or 39th expressway okc.I think they may have had them in Edmond and Shawnee too.let me know

  26. My husband STILL gets rhapsodic (look it up!) about Holloway’s Hamburgers on NW 23rd St near Portland. Holloway’s added slices of oranges to their iced tea. Somehow it tasted better. Holloway’s was one of many places that was sacrificed when the highway went through.

  27. Back in the day, on our City’s Northeast side of Oklahoma City. Which was not to far from Douglass high school, was a quaint little snazzy DRIVE IN; by the name of… Blanche’s Drive in. Now, let me tell you…Blanche’s had the tastiest little burgers, one could ever dream of grubbing down on! I know this will be hard believing…what I’m going to tell you. but a hamburger with all the trimmings for only…15 cents, that’s right and a bag of chips…only 5 cents. Throw in a soda drink. And receive all three, burger, chips & drink all for the price of only….25 cents I don’t remember any taxes, but someone was looking out for us young people! Blanche’s Drive, in the day was located on the southwest corner of N. E.
    6th & Eastern (Martin Luther King now) This place will be forever, frozen in time,
    a Golden memory. A heritage, that can never be forgotten❗️

  28. Webber Market! Okay Market, Ward’s Super Market. C & A Grocers,
    Herbie’s Record Mart; Jewel Theater; the Auldrige Theater; Randolph drug store; Rexall Drug Store; Cary’s Drug store; The Black Dispatch;!
    The Abram Ross show; Rolfe funeral Home. McKay Davis Funeral Home; Evans Fish Market; Humpty Dumpty. CR ANTHONY’s; the Dairy Queen; Mason’s Furniture Store; Dr. Dowell; Dr; Finley; Thompson’s Temple; Washington Park; Douglass Center (sits on the first fair grounds ) Vickers Store; Potato chip factory; (on NE 8th street) Day old bread store; Stripling’s Cafe & Fountain; Leo’s BAR-B Q ( national headlines) (still exist) NE 36th & KELLEY; Freeman’s Han-D-Sak; the ICE DOCK, ect

  29. Back in the day, on our City’s Northeast side of Oklahoma City. Which was not to far from Douglass high school, was a quaint little snazzy DRIVE IN; by the name of… Blanche’s Drive in. Now, let me tell you…Blanche’s had the tastiest little burgers, one could ever dream of grubbing down on! I know this will be hard believing…what I’m going to tell you. but a hamburger with all the trimmings for only…15 cents, that’s right and a bag of chips…only 5 cents. Throw in a soda drink. And receive all three, burger, chips & drink all for the price of only….25 cents I don’t remember any taxes, but someone was looking out for us young people! Blanche’s Drive, in the day was located on the southwest corner of N. E.
    6th & Eastern (Martin Luther King now) This place will be forever, frozen in time,
    a Golden memory. A heritage, that can never be forgotten❗️

  30. Nice Post. Great looking website as well..

  31. Does anyone remember a restaurant that was in OKLA city in the 1970s that had red telephones on the tables where you ordered your food from?
    Kelley

    • ACROSS THE STREET S.W 59th & AGNEW restaurant had the red phones and served the best hamburgers & suzie Q fries (everything was first rate). the young manager there was non other than the infamous HAL SMITH ( great guy).it was a u.s. grant favorite .I had a chilicheeseburger and suzie Q’S every day for lunch.I loved it.does anyone remember maries steakburger drive-in on 58th and western BIG BURGER FOR 25 CENTS.

      • There was also an Across the Street across from Baptist Hosp on NW Exprwy. Lot of HS kids went there, incl me and my friends. Yep, loved those chili cheese bugers, the BEST! And the curly fries were awesome. There was also one at a late 60s mall, I want to say Shepherd Mall but I don’t think it was that far away (I lived in NW OKC). Maybe it was Shepherd?

  32. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My site has a lot of unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any methods to help protect against content from being stolen? I’d truly appreciate it.

  33. Niccole Rodenber

    Hello,

    I am looking for anyone who worked at the Crystal’s Pizza NW Expressway location during the late 80’s (86-87). I am looking for my birth father (now deceased) this could potentially be a big lead. You can contact me at nyccole0717@gmail.com. Thank you,

  34. Der Dutchman which changed to Zuider Zee was a favorite place for our family to gather.
    Also ate at El Charrito’s as a kid at the downtown location. For some reason, I remember a large mounted sword fish on the wall at El Charrito’s. Maybe I’m confusing this with another place… does anyone else remember this.
    Across the Street was a great hangout on Air Depot as well as Shot Gun Sams. Loved the giant playing cards they gave you when you placed your order. They would call your card (3 of Hearts) when your pizza was ready. It was always a challenge to get the Ace of Spades.
    As a college student and young adult, Molly Murphy’s was the place to go with large groups.

    • I worked at Zuider Zee in high school, as cashier. It was on NW Expressway, close to Baptist Hosp. My dad worked for Conoco, whose offices were where in the same complex where Zuider Zee was located. I haven’t been back to OKC, since I left in 1972, but it is fun to remember stuff and use Google Earth to take a trip down sort of memory lane. Much is gone, but much is still around, too!

  35. Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this page. EBH

  36. Does anyone remember the name of an old 1950s drive in eatery on the North side of NE 23rd St. East of the Robinson several blocks?

  37. When I was a kid, we used to have smorgasbord at a restaurant just east of May on NW 10th Steet. Anyone remember the name?

    Also ate at O’Mealeys on May as a treat on my parent’s payday.

  38. I seem to remember a restaurant on NW 39th in late 60’s that had the red phones to order. Could it have been another Across the Street Restaurant? Or Kennedy’s?

    • You are correct. It was 1st “Across the Street” then it became Kennedy’s in 80 or 81. Ate there at least once a week while in Putnam city high school. Great mushroom burger. I think after that it possibly became “The Lions Table” for a very short time. Now I hardly recognize the area, its a 7/11.

  39. I also have been racking my brain for the name of another restaurant in either late 60’s or early 70’s which was painted baby blue inside. Seem to remember going through a line where you picked out your food which was dished up by servers (thinking bbq place but maybe not). Remember female employees dressed in “granny” attire – long dresses, aprons and bonnets. Location is sketchy – most likely NW OKC area.

  40. Does anyone remember the name of a head shop on Classen and 6th? I think it was established around 1968. It had posters, incense, other items for sale, maybe records. I think it was the first head shop in OKC.

  41. Hey there, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your website in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, wonderful blog!

  42. Bruce Bernard Williams

    I just stumbled across this site today and read all 84 comments. Nadine’s comments from December, 2015 especially caught my eye! I am 68 now and my dad owned a nightclub called the “Off Beat” along with the state’s first Black-owned and operated motel, the “Wayside Inn” on the city’s Northeast side, specifically N. Bryant St. Before integration, a huge number of entertainers (i.e. The Ike & Tina Turner Revue, The Contours, Sonny Stitt, and many, many others) would stay with us during their engagements because they couldn’t stay at the Skirvin, Huckins, Biltmore, etc. due to the segregation laws of the day. I have a vivid memory of so many people, places, and things from the 50’s on.

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  48. Yes Herman’s seafood Herman’s coleslaw

  49. What name of Italian restaurant on classen 1970’s west side of street in an old church around 30th-40th on classen.

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