By Will Bramlett
We all know Tulsa is a relatively small city with a population just shy of 400,000. Naive, I once imagined that such a scrimpy city would measure up to my home town of St. Louis in at least one key area: 24-hour diners.
I envisioned legions of diners scattered across the city, all waiting to open their doors to whatever lonely traveller should wander in. But I quickly discovered that late-night Tulsa kinda sucks. However, that does not mean that there is nowhere to grab a bite to eat late at night!
Can’t get to sleep? Need somewhere to hide from your roommate and his girlfriend at 2 a.m.? Just want to eat away your sorrows after spending Valentine’s Day alone? Well, Tulsa doesn’t have much in the way of 24-hour restaurants. It does, however, have a few restaurants that are open into the early hours of the morning.
National breakfast chains are the most helpful. IHOP is open 24 hours a day, but sadly just dropped the all-you-can-eat pancakes from its menu. The blue-roofed diner still has the best pancakes of the national chains and the sweetest fruit drinks any time of day. Fellow 24 hour chain Denny’s serves some of the more extravagant breakfast items and meal options beginning at $2.
Trips to IHOP and Denny’s are a bit out of the way. Denny’s is four miles from campus and IHOP is six. Village Inn, another all-night breakfast chain, is only two miles from campus on Harvard at 28th Street. The pancakes were small and lacked fluff to improve their so-so taste, but they got the job done.
Locally, coffee shops 918 Coffee and The Phoenix Cafe are both open until at least midnight every day of the week. The Phoenix extends its hours of operations until 2 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information about these and other Tulsa-area coffee shops, check the Dec. 9, 2013 issue of The Collegian, which can be found at TUCollegian.org.
The Oklahoma-based chains should not be forgotten. Sonic, based out of Bricktown in Oklahoma City, has locations scattered around Tulsa. America’s Drive-in will be offering a Red Velvet Molten Cake Sundae for Valentine’s Day along with the rest of its already impressive dessert menu, but get there before Sonic closes at midnight.
While Oklahoma chains QuikTrip and Reasor’s are not exactly “restaurants,” they do have great deals and provide a wide array of options. QuikTrip is just a hop across Harvard and, unlike most gas stations, its food will not induce vomiting and/or diarrhea. Reasor’s will have excessive amounts of Valentine’s Day treats on sale following the big day, as will CVS, Walgreen’s and Wal-mart. “One for me, one for me, one for me…”
Locally, Andolini’s and Joe Mama’s pizzerias will both be open late Friday. Joe Mama’s in downtown is open until 3 a.m. on the weekend and can cater to the daredevil. The Travel Channel show Man vs. Food Nation visited the Tulsa pizza place in 2011 in an episode which one of Tulsa’s bravest takes on the Incinerator Pizza Challenge, consuming an excessively spicy pizza in 60 minutes.
Andolini’s, located on Cherry Street, serves more-than-fantastic New York-style pizza. It has by far the best garlic knots I have ever tasted in my life, an appetizer everyone needs to try at least once. You will feel right at home, as TU student Rob Hanigan writes, “The service is spot on. The servers are friendly, they know the menu and are willing to help you if you’re overwhelmed by any of the choices.”
Down the street and around the corner is Phat Philly’s Cheesesteaks. Even the smallest philly cheesesteak nearly stopped my heart, but I would surely go back for another. Thankfully they are open until from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
As a last resort, there are the 24-hour drive-thrus at McDonalds, Taco Bell and Whataburger. Whataburger serves the juiciest, cheesiest, filling and not In-and-Out burger I have ever tried or wanted to try. Taco Bell offers TU students a 10 percent discount with student ID and McDonalds has a special deal for Valentine’s Day. The fast food mega-chain will be selling cheeseburgers on Feb. 14 for 69 cents. Seriously.
At least during the Olympics, Oliphant 110 will be open many nights and should have a few treats and drinks. Yes, I will be spending the next two weeks watching the Olympic games in the Collegian office.
Following a binge screening of House of Cards season two when it is released in its entirety Friday on Netflix, I will be watching the Olympics all night long beginning with curling at 11 p.m. and concluding with my death caused by a lack of sleep following the USA vs. Russia men’s ice hockey game at 6:30 a.m. Another miracle on ice, anyone?