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RIP: Luby’s Cafeteria

It's time to visit the nursing home and deliver Grandma the bad news.

Yesterday afternoon, Luby's Cafeteria on N. May – the last remaining cafeteria from Oklahoma City's not-so-golden age of fine dining – rang the tray assistance bell for the final time.


Wednesday was the last day for Luby's in Oklahoma City.

Luby's employees confirmed the store's last day would be Wednesday, shortly before the dinner rush.

With the restaurant's closing, Oklahoma City is without an operating cafeteria for the first time in nearly a century. Anna Maude Smith opened the YWCA cafeteria in downtown Oklahoma City in 1919, and later her own place in 1928.

Oklahoma City once had more cafeterias per capita than any city in America, making it the national standard-bearer for cafeteria operation, earning the title Cafeteria Capital of the World.

There you go, Millennials. The next time you’re at The Mule eating a Macaroni Pony complaining about how there’s nothing to do in Oklahoma City, remember that we were once known as the “Cafeteria Capital of the World” and go choke on a cheese curd. Granted, that’s not as bad as the Fast Food Capital of the World badge we currently wear, but it gives you an idea of what this city was like from the 1940s through 1980s.

Also, I self-plagiarized that blurb from this article about Boulevard Cafeteria closing down in 2015. There's only so much you can write about cafeterias.

Anyway, we actually sent Louis to review Luby's back in 2016, which probably extended the restaurant's life by a year. You can read it here. This is my favorite passage:

You know, I thoroughly enjoyed the ambiance. Even before I lifted a fork to my mouth, it felt nice to be in a place with no loud indie rock, no hipster waitstaff ignoring you and no young people staring at their phones that whole time. Just old people, making the most of the fragile time they have left on this stinking rock, and enjoying a high class meal while they do it. My kind of crowd!

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