Cotton Bowl Countdown: Making a pit stop on the way to Texas? Here’s where to eat

Today’s blog comes to you courtesy of Kit Lewis, a Kansas State fan from Oklahoma who saw my blog two days ago about the best fast food joints to eat at in Arlington and thought he could name a few much better choices for anyone who wants to make a pit stop on the way to Texas and grab some food.

My favorite point of the e-mail he sent me: “With the exception of Taco Cabana (fairly decent) why didn’t you just suggest taking a grease dagger and stabbing yourself in the heart! Guilty pleasures, to be sure, but I hardly consider burger joints to be heart healthy or necessarily worthy of being mentioned. With all gentleness, either you have plebeian tastes in food, or are not sufficiently experienced to find good dining.”

He clearly thinks he can do better, and lists his suggestions below. And while I’m letting him throw out food choices here, anyone else can feel free to e-mail me theirs or post them in the comments section below. Either way, they will find a spot on this blog.

Without further delay, here are Kit’s recommendations:

1. Enrique’s Mexican Restaurant: Located on the Airport at Ponca City. Has a good rep for their hospitality and food.

2. Cattleman’s Steak House: 1309 South Agnew, OKC. Located in the stock yards area on the west side of town. Great reputation for steaks. President Bush (#1) ate there.

3. Bricktown Area: Just west of I-35 in the down town area. Lots of restaurants to choose from. Two exceptionally good ones are Nona’s and Mickey Mantle’s Steak House.

4. In the Norman area, be sure to try one or more of these places. La Baguette (924 W. Main): Soup, sandwiches, breads, and fantastic French pastries. (L/D). The Diner (213 E. Main): Great omelettes and other fare. Was a featured restaurant on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives show. And my personal favorite, Tarahumara Mexican Restaurant (702 S. Porter). Owner/manager Ephran Romero has what is probably one of the best restaurants in the area. The selection of Mexican food is large, very well prepared, and the service is exceptional. Drinks are available. Don’t be deterred by a long line, it is worth the wait, in my opinion.

5. Ok, I apologize for the nasty comment about you recommending greasy places to eat. There is probably nothing more unhealthy than a good chicken fried steak with gravy. And to satisfy those urges, I recommend driving just south of Norman to Noble, OK and eating at Kendell’s. Best chicken steak around these parts, and they are huge! And speaking of fried and chicken in the same word, two of the best fried chicken places are Eischen’s Bar in Okarche, OK (quite a way NW of OKC) and Lucille’s in Mulhall (west of I-35 at the Stillwater, OK exit.)

6. About 20 miles south of Ardmore, OK take the Marietta turn off for McGehee’s Catfish Restaurant. It will take a little work to find it but well worth the effort. Out in the country overlooking the Red River. Has a grass runway for pilots. Not sure of the hours or days it is open.

7. After you go over the Red River into Texas, and south of Gainsville, turn east off I-35 at either Valley View (the closest way) or Sanger (to Pilot Point) to H-377, then into Tioga, TX and Clark’s Outpost. Fantastic B-B-Q…several years ago it was listed as one of the top 10 BBQ places in the nation. The building looks like a dump, but the food if fabulous. Many years ago, I asked Mr. Clark (now deceased) if he used beef or pork ribs. He gave me a serious look and said “Son, this is Texas! We have more respect for a cow than to use beef ribs.” Come to think of it, eating pork ribs and beating Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl would be a nice way to remember the trip.

Well, my friend, this grew much longer than I intended, but if you could see my portly frame, you would know I speak of these recommendations from experience. Hope you have an opportunity to try some of them.

Sound good. Thanks for the blog post Kit!

Editor’s Note: On Jan. 6, the Kansas State football team will face Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. With that in mind, I began counting down to the big game in Cowboys Stadium on Dec. 6 by attempting to write 31 blog posts in 31 days. I use the word “attempting” because I can only think of so many blog ideas at the moment. I’m confident that I can go 31 for 31, but your help is appreciated. Feel free to send a blog idea (or two) my way at