Ike’s is an urban eatery specializing in chili that is a viscous dish of ground beef and a peppery jumble of spice. It comes either plain in a bowl or with spaghetti noodles, or three way, meaning with noodles and beans. Cheese, jalapeno peppers, and onions are extra-cost options. Chili also is the star of Ike’s Frito pie and Coney dog. The latter is described on the menu as being built upon a “large Oscar Meyer.”
Jim Oakley, the Tulsan who originally tipped us off to Ike’s, sent us a menu on which is reprinted an article from the 1936 Tulsa Daily World newspaper, noting, “When the original Ike Johnson established his first modest little ‘parlor’ down by the old Frisco depot twenty-five years ago [that would be 1908], there was no lowlier food than chili… It was openly sneered at by the Social Register and the hot dog was much higher up on the social scale.” While chili may have shed some of its plebeian aura in the last century, Ike’s remains a no-nonsense, paper-napkin diner where you can have a satisfying lunch that costs less than a franchise junk-food meal.