Mother Road Market Adds One More Reason to Make It Your First Tulsa Stop

7 minutes

I admit, I get really, really tired of the OKC-Tulsa thing. I’m a fan of a good rivalry—my high school's rival football game is semi-legendary, and I absolutely loathe the Duke Blue Devils—but every time an OKCitizen or a Tulsan starts droning on about how their city is better than the one up or down the turnpike, I get bored. How does one city's qualities vis a vis another city’s qualities say anything about us as humans? Do we honestly believe someone’s character shows in where they choose to live?

I've called the Oklahoma City area home in one way or another since 1992, and I’ve never lived a day in my life in Tulsa, but it’s an absolutely fabulous city, and some of my very favorite people (Mary Beth Babcock! David and Cassandra Bizarro! Liz Blood!) proudly call it home. And when the conversation turns to Tulsa—especially when the people involved haven’t spent much time there—I start getting really excited. Too excited, possibly: I start thinking about how I love people and have a beautiful plan for their life, and I turn into a cruise director so, so fast. “Oh my gosh, you must go to Greenwood Rising! And Magic City Books! And Juniper! And Wanda J’s! And the Woody Guthrie Center! And the Bob Dylan Center! And! And! And!” And so on.

I always try to tailor these off-the-cuff presentations to the interests of the listener. If you’re not into jazz, I might not direct you to Duet Restaurant, for example (though if any place’ll make you love jazz, it’s that one). If outdoors isn’t your bag, I might not mention Gathering Place up front. But there are a few spots that always get my good recommendation: Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios on 66. The Philbrook. And Mother Road Market.

The patio at Mother Road Market is a great spot to relax after grabbing your order. Photo by Lori Duckworth

The patio at Mother Road Market is a great spot to relax after grabbing your order. Photo by Lori Duckworth

Mother Road Market recently was voted Best Food Hall in the United States by the readers of USA Today’s 10Best.com website. And it has a special place in my heart. It was one of the earliest food halls to open in the state, and by any rights, it’s been one of the most successful, but it’s also evolved into so much more. With more than twenty restaurants and merchants, it’s a place with literally something for everyone.

& Tacos inside Mother Road Market makes street tacos that need no additions. Photo by Laci Schwoegler/Retrospec Films

& Tacos inside Mother Road Market makes street tacos that need no additions. Photo by Laci Schwoegler/Retrospec Films

Want some tacos? & Tacos has you covered with enchiladas, chimichangas, chicken flautas, and birria street tacos that absolutely are to do die for. My personal favorite, though, are the nachos supreme.

Fast food chains don't have anything on the chicken sandwich from Chicken and the Wolf. Photo by Lori Duckworth

Fast food chains don't have anything on the chicken sandwich from Chicken and the Wolf. Photo by Lori Duckworth

Or how about a fried chicken sandwich? Chicken and the Wolf has them original style, Nashville, and even vegan—all at the perfect size to satisfy a hunger without making you feel overfull and sluggish. And you’re going to need to have some get up and go, because dessert is coming up.

Big Dipper Creamery makes scream-worthy frozen treats. Photo by Laci Schwoegler/Retrospec Films

Big Dipper Creamery makes scream-worthy frozen treats. Photo by Laci Schwoegler/Retrospec Films

See, this is kinda the main reason a lot of us come to Mother Road Market. If I’m in Tulsa, you’d better believe there’s Big Dipper Creamery either in my past or my future, but I ain’t leaving town without this over-the-top good ice cream. Honeycomb Lavender, Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, and salted caramel are a few of my personal favorite flavors, but don’t sleep on the Madagascar Vanilla Bean flavor. It’s absolute heaven.

The City of Tulsa opened its first standalone visitors' center inside Mother Road Market. Photo courtesy Mother Road Market / Facebook

The City of Tulsa opened its first standalone visitors' center inside Mother Road Market. Photo courtesy Mother Road Market / Facebook

And now, I’ve got even more reason to send Tulsa noobs to Mother Road Market: Last month, the City of Tulsa opened its first standalone visitors’ center here. And it’s not your standard-issue visitors center—you know, weak coffee, brochures, end of list? Here, you’ll be able to speak with actual human representatives of Tulsa who’ll help you explore the city, find out about events during your stay, and assist you in making the most of your time in the city.

Even after the sun sets, Mother Road Market is the place to be for almost every style of food.Photo by Lori Duckworth

Even after the sun sets, Mother Road Market is the place to be for almost every style of food.Photo by Lori Duckworth

So OKCers, let’s ditch our up-the-turnpike sneers and head northeast to explore the magic that is Tulsa. And now, with tacos in bellies, ice cream in hand, and happy Tulsa representatives ready to help us out, what reason do we have not to?

Exactly. See you in T-Town.

Get There:
Mother Road Market 1124 S Lewis Ave Tulsa, OK 74104 or TravelOK.com
Written By
Nathan Gunter

A sixth-generation Oklahoman, Weatherford native, and Westmoore High School graduate, Nathan Gunter is the magazine's editor-in-chief. When he's not editor-in-chiefing, Nate enjoys live music, running, working out, gaming, cooking, and random road trips with no particular destination in mind. He holds degrees from Wake Forest University and the University of Oklahoma. He learned how to perform poetry from Maya Angelou; how to appreciate Italian art from Terisio Pignatti; comedy writing from Doug Marlette; how to make coconut cream pie from his great-grandma; and how not to approach farm dogs from trial and error. A seminary dropout, he lives just off Route 66 in Oklahoma City.

Nathan Gunter
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