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5 Best “Old School” Metro Breakfast Joints…


They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but, somewhere along the way, the narrative got lost.

Growing up in Blooming Grove, Texas, population 818, there was only one diner. It was always filled early with old grizzled farmers, old veterans proudly wearing their armed forces ball caps and old men like my Chief of Police father, holding court as he was wont to do.

The waitresses were flirty, the coffee was black and everything, from the menu to the screen on the Ms. Pac Man arcade game to the vinyl booths themselves, were almost as greasy as the food. Almost…I remember ordering hams and steaks and thick cuts of bacon for breakfast before school, scrambled eggs piled high with usually a side of some sort of potato and, of course, hot grits—pool of golden-yellow melted butter floating effortlessly on top—and don’t forget those fresh, flaky buttermilk biscuits, fresh out the oven, all for about a $1.99. And that was the kid’s plate.

As unhealthy as that all sounds, to me, however, it’s all those things that make up what I consider a “real” breakfast joint. Real food made by real people who, once upon a time, was considered really good for you and thank God we had it because it kept us strong against the Communists. Forget these hipster joints with names like griddle batter (note the pretentious lower-case g and b) that charge $18.00 for three half-dollar size chia-seed hotcakes topped with an heirloom radish and served by a guy named Dakota Elijah, unkempt red beard dangling in your hot goji berry syrup. Those places are hip and cool now, but let’s face facts: they won’t be around in a year or two.

Sexily enough, Oklahoma City still has a downright dangerous—even deadly—breakfast scene, spotted with these old-school diners here and there, eateries that still have open smoking sections and full meals for under five bucks. The buzzing of one man’s tracheotomy voice-box mingles with the sound of Fox News, the smell of hot pork and cold coffee filling the senses like a gluttonous John Denver riff. These are the last of the true American breakfast joints.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if runny eggs and chicken fried steak and hash browns and butter-laden grits are good enough for an 85-year-old guy who made it back from the bloody sands of Iwo Jima, well, then dammit, it’s good enough for me. Pass the Carlton 100s and the Tabasco, won’t cha, darling?



Cattlemen’s Café (1309 S. Agnew Ave.)

While most people would immediately slink over to their buffet filled with all type of home-style morning goodnesses, what truly reacquainted my love of the legendary Cattlemen’s as a breakfast option is the addition of such lost-in-time Okie relics like a fat stack of sausage, eggs and cheese stuffed between two thick slices of Texas toast ($4.95) or, even better, my personal go-to dish, the calf brains and eggs ($6.95). Add a few splashes of hot sauce for some Latin flava and don’t forget the extra side of biscuits and gravy!



Jimmy’s Egg (various metro locations)

Love it or leave it, Jimmy's Egg is an Oklahoma City staple and a real life immigrant success story that actually backs up the hype with some seriously top-notch eats: how could you not want to start the off the morning—any morning, for that matter—with homegrown classics like their dangerously dense gravy-drenched Biscuit Debris ($6.99) or the ever-lovin’ legendary concoction that is Jimmy’s Garbage Breakfast ($6.99)?




Jimmy’s Round-Up Café (1301 SW 59th St.)

The other Jimmy’s in town, this Southside gem was always a great early dinner destination, delivering the traditional goods with out-of-the-way eats like homemade chicken and dumplings and all-you-can-eat beans and cornbread, but it’s their big ham breakfast—a full order, please—sided with their crispy breakfast potatoes and absolutely heaven-bound biscuits and gravy ($11.99)—just like mom used to make, provided you grew up in the 50s, of course—that make this worth the few extra miles across town. And, as an added bonus, don’t forget to grab a couple of their hot-out-the-oil fried cherry pies for the road.




The Hungry Frog Diner (1101 N Penn. Ave)

While I plan on doing a much larger write-up of the Hungry Frog’s more obscure lunch offerings in a future column—I just gotta try their Indian Taco!—there is no way that this Classen Ten-Penn monument could ever be ignored. While much of that area has changed over the past couple of decades—you will be missed, AMC Flea Market Mall—since 1976, the Frog has sat on its concrete lilypad, proudly offering up workingman’s meals like the breakfast chicken fried steak—yes, it’s no longer for only lunch and dinner anymore—with two eggs, hash brown and, of course, biscuits and gravy ($9.95). And don’t even get me started on those pork chops…




Jeff’s Country Café (3401 N. Classen Blvd.)

If you were to ask me where my favorite breakfast joint in town is, hands down I would tell you Jeff’s Country Kitchen and then I’d make you take me there and then I would force-feed you if I had to, dammit, their ultimate farmboy feast, starting off with a greasy, glistening 6 oz. New York Strip, oh-so-tender and oh-so-juicy, along with some requisite sunny-side up eggs and crispy hash browns, both covered in Tabasco, an order of some of those much needed biscuits and gravy and, why the Hell not, howsabout a big bowl of buttery grits for old time’s sake? And here’s the kicker: it’s real bounty of thrifty deliciousness coming in at about $6.00, before tip. You can’t beat that like it was a rented mule, so why even try?



Most mornings, however, I have a simple bowl of plain steel-cut oats. Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler.

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