The complex of condiments, the audacity of magnitude, and the quotient of fat in in the bunned hamburgers Freddie’s serves put all the national chains to shame. You don’t have to get the Double Jumbo, which is a pair of one-third pound patties, to see what we mean. Take the Double Deluxe: a plastic basket weighted with a burger that is two quarter-pound patties that are dripping cheese, garlanded with a bouquet of lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, fresh onions, fried onions, and mustard (plus mayonnaise if specifically requested), all stacked in a soft, oversized bun.
Eating a Freddie’s burger is a challenge to one’s sandwich-handling dexterity. When you pick it up, you instantly become aware of just how tender and pliable the bun is – a wonderful textural note in the whole package. But its very feel foreshadows catastrophe: the glistening patties want to slide out whichever side of the bun your fingers aren’t gripping; lettuce shreds start to fall; pickles and onions slip and squiggle; mayo oozes. It is an outstanding hamburger-eating adventure, one of the best in Tulsa, which is one of Oklahoma’s several centers of hamburger greatness.
The place itself has personality to spare. At first glance, it looks a bit disreputable; and indeed, the counter in the front room where you enter does tend to attract scruffy types; counter seats also guarantee you will smell of grilling beef and onions for hours after. But around to the right, beyond the counter, are a series of little dining rooms – spare places that double as storage areas – where tables and chairs are set up for a more gracious mealtime experience. Here we saw nice couples and families downing the mighty burgers (and also Frito pies and Coney dogs). “Delicious as usual!” chirped one white-haired granny as she and a couple of generations of her family exited, politely returning their emptied plastic baskets to the burger-makers up front.