The Chuck House That Time Forgot
5:17 AM EDT on April 29, 2021
One of the first TLO food reviews I wrote for the Lost Ogle was about the hungrily decrepit Chuck House, down on NW 10th and Meridian. From what I can remember, I quite liked it despite its dumpster aesthetics and unwashed bravura. Sadly, I haven’t seen one like that since.
That is until I was coming home from a doctor’s appointment in Del City when I happened upon another one located at 2400 S. Midwest Blvd.
Set up like a ramshackle drive-in, I pulled into the other ancient home of the “Best Chicken Fry in the Universe” and was amazed how classic, in the loosest sense of the word, it all was.
As I went into the establishment through the tired glass door, complete with a homemade sign reminding future eaters to wear their masks, the large Rubbermaid trashcans greeted me, with freshly changed black bags inside. As flies buzzed around the condiments, on the Coke machine sat a trap that would surely end their own quest for junk food.
Multiple women were at the cash register and in the kitchen, definitely making this a forward-thinking fast-ish food place. As the carhops ran back and forth—the place was jumping as it was sometime around five—I went up to the counter to order my mother and me some eats for dinner, glancing at the menu board situated and nearly hidden by the flotsam that hung around.
Waiting, I walked around the outside, looking at a building that, I reckoned, had seen better days. They don’t make them like this anymore I thought as I breathed in the exhaust fumes that seemingly hung around the place. I went back in and, thankfully, my order was up.
Of course, I ordered the Chicken Fried Steak sandwich—how could I not—but before I dug into it, I had to sample a true Oklahoma rarity, the Fried Ham Sandwich ($3.50). I’ve had all the sizzling bologna Oklahoma has to offer, but I’ve never ham and, as I unwrapped the goods, I knew I was ready.
Topped with what most of us are probably expecting—lettuce, tomatoes and oh so much mayo—I have to admit, for someone who doesn’t like ham all that much, this bargain bite was pretty darn delicious, the thick cut of meat manhandling my mouth in a way I wasn’t expecting but, honestly, liked quite a bit.
As a treat for my mother, she had the Chuck House Burger with Fries ($11.00), a colossal beast that had a beautiful fragrance of slight cinnamon that seemed to infest everything in the bag, which I was quite fine with. While the fries were nothing more than crinkle cut potatoes that were merely alright, the burger was a sheer delight we both agreed.
Packed with two thickly charred pieces of beef and accompanying slices of cheese that melted off the sides—and a bit of red grease dripping off the bottom from the sly sweet chili—this is a monstrous burger that, honestly, puts most other joints to absolute shame, the mixture of warm juices busting out in front of me, embarrassingly.
I haven’t had one of their chicken fried steak sandwiches in a long time and this one wasn’t the plain old original that I had been waiting for; instead, it was the Ultimate Steak Sandwich ($8.55) with a healthy side of fried okra ($2.50). The meat hangs over the bun here too, as the bits of steak spilled over the edge, with a healthy helping of cheese on top, as well as lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing, grilled onions and, as I soon discovered, bacon.
Call me a plebe if you must, but I think that Chuck House, even this old drive-in, might have it over on the vastly popular Del Rancho. It was savory bite after savory bite—not to mention the dark fried okra—that, with each chomp and chew, made me believe this in this place more and more.
But, really, it was the side of ranch that made it such a hemorrhaging winner, every bulging bite coated in the thick white dressing. It was a moment of sheer realization that, after a few more bites, made me pack it in, mostly to enjoy later. Chicken fried steak like this is something that you want to make last, for as long as you can.
Chuck Houses are slowly becoming almost a relic in Oklahoma, a restaurant that time forgot but one that I won’t anytime soon. It still is the best chicken fry in the universe.
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