No state has more — and more interesting — different styles of hamburger than Oklahoma. El Reno, just west of Oklahoma City , is legendary for its onion-fried burgers; Tulsa is a burger Mecca, too. We’re not talking about fancy-pants, overpriced burgers or silly-thick pub burgers, and we certainly don’t mean chain restaurant burgers. Each of the places on this tour is one-of-a-kind, and well worth visiting if you are a hamburger lover on your way through the Sooner State.
It's not for steak that we recommend a visit to this 1940s-era eatery near the Osage reservation. It is for a hot hamburger: pieces of toasted white bread topped with a large hamburger that has been hacked into pieces, topped with a mountain of French fries, and the French fries topped with a large spill of dark, beefy gravy .
These are quintessential hash-house hamburgers, good and greasy and cooked through and through. Other than burgers, the menu includes Frito chili pie and corn dog on a stick as well as onion rings and French fries, malts and a special made-here chocolate-covered peanut butter bon bon.
Linda-Mar's Westsider – two burger patties, double cheese, and all the fixin's piled between grilled-crisp slabs of Texas toast – is one of many excellent hamburgers that puts Tulsa up there among America's top burger cities.
Robert’s is a museum-piece town café, El Reno’s oldest extant hamburger shop, going back to 1926. Starting at six in the morning, its fourteen-stool counter is occupied by regulars who come for coffee and eggs and home fries or – even at dawn – a brace of delicious onion-fried burgers.
Sid's onion-fried burgers are mouth-watering, cooked so the onions mashed into the patty of meat are charred from their time on the grill, giving the sandwich a sweet and smoky zest. Non burger eaters get two or three Coney Islands, which are bright red weenies topped with chili and a superfine slaw with a mustard punch. Milk shakes are so thick that they are served with a spoon as well as a straw.
The fried onion burger capital of Oklahoma, therefore the world, is in the tiny town of El Reno. But onion burgers are a popular item throughout this burger crazy state. The best we have been able to find is at J & W Grill in Chickasha.