(Throughout the month of February, every Thursday TLO will celebrate and highlight various Black-owned eateries across the OKC Metro. - Louis)
When people learn that I’m a piecemeal restaurant critic for an obscure local social blog, they almost always try to falsely connect with me the only way they know how, by typically asking the rote question “Who’s got the best hamburger in town?”
Let’s just get this out of the way: it is now and forever will be—for me, at least—Geronimo’s Bakery, 1817 N. Martin Luther King Ave. Please refer to this review in the future.
A pillar of the Eastside for well over forty years, Geronimo’s ain’t a theme restaurant for the touristy eater; there’s no laminated menu filled with cute burger names that’ll make you giggle while the kids crayon-up a coloring page of an anthropomorphic hot-dog while they wait for their chicken nuggets—no, this is just a place to get a good fucking cheeseburger, greasy fat fries and a big cup of Kool-Aid.
Pulling up to the secluded orange building, if it wasn’t for the sign by the road reading “Geronimo’s Bakery,” it would probably be pretty easy to miss, but maybe that’s the point. With bars on the windows and doors, it looks more like a clandestine drinking spot that’s open ‘till two in the morning than the city’s best burger joint.
Some people like to dine on their catfish dinner while plenty others dig on the hot links, but I always get the namesake sandwich, the Geronimo Burger ($4.99), usually with a side of thick-cut fries ($1.99) and a tall cup of ice-cold red Kool-Aid ($1.25). I also helped myself to a Kool-Aid pickle ($1.25), a face-wincing treat which sure beats the ten-buck rip-offs at the State Fair.
While waiting for my order, already sizzling on the grill, I took steady bites of the red-hued cucumber and stood over by the bulletin board, reading about music concerts and church revivals, local award shows and neighborhood meetings, seeing the lives of another community that very rarely, if ever, gets talked about positively (by the corporate media, of course) across those imaginary delineations on a map.
As soon as I was handed the white bag, complete with a spreading grease-stain on the side, I settled down by the makeshift bar near the front window; I unfurled the foil and voraciously took a bite out of the stocky Geronimo Burger. The grilled patty was a charred accomplishment, with melted cheese running down the sides, barely hiding a surprise slice of salty ham in-between.
The vein-stopping mixture of mayonnaise and grease ran down my fingers and into my palms, creating an unhealthy stigmata. I wiped my hands on my pants and bunched a few fries together for easier digestion, a bit of oil burned the insides of my mouth; I downed the ice cold Kool-Aid for some semblance of internal healing, the sweet cherry flavor working its magic.
Geronimo’s Burger is the burger that all other burgers in town wish they could be but, sadly, never will be. Although, you know, if burgers aren’t your thing—you’re missing out, man—their plate-sized doughnuts and other assorted pastries are pretty damn good too. Cómpralo ya!