This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
I


n celebration of national hamburger month this May, Oklahoma Living magazine toured the state to fi nd the best burgers on electric cooperative lines. Featured here are three restaurants known for serving some of Oklahoma’s most unique, fresh and tasty hamburgers.


An Oklahoma Landmark Heading north on Highway-115 in southwest Oklahoma, having just passed through the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge, a fork in the road and a ramshackle building on the west side of the street mark the location of Meers, Okla. A former gold mining town that sprang up at the turn of the 20th century, Meers’ cur- rent claim to fame is found inside the structure made of weathered yellow pine and painted concrete—the Meersburger. Rain or shine, visitors to the Meers Store and Restaurant can expect to join a line of people outside, patiently anticipating one of the country’s best burgers. The Meersburger has been featured in countless magazines, newspapers, books and has won national awards including the designation as No. 3 burger in the nation by the Food Network television channel. The secret to Meers’ success? It’s in the


The Meersburger is an Oklahoma tradition. Photos by Laura Araujo


Historic Places. Relics from the years are on display inside the Meers Store and Restaurant, a veritable museum within the eatery. “It has been a community meeting place since its beginning. In the days before electric- ity, the store had butane cooking facilities. They’d go to town and buy 10 to 15 pounds of ground beef and they’d cook burgers until the meat ran out,” Maranto says. “In 1939, Cotton Electric Cooperative brought electricity to Meers and they put in refrigeration. After World War II, they put in a meat market and started grinding meat. That’s when the ham- burgers really took off.” Maranto and wife Margie purchased Meers


in 1983. The son of a butcher, Maranto has applied the business-savvy learned from his father, as well as 30 years of prior experience in the restaurant industry, to establish Meers as an Oklahoma landmark.


meat. “We raise our own beef. That’s the key to the whole thing,” says Joe Maranto, owner of the Meers Store and Restaurant. Looking out the window of his home into his pasture, Maranto admires a dozen head of Texas Longhorn cattle. “They sure do look good,” he says. While most hamburgers consist of a combination of 80 percent lean meat and 20 percent fat, longhorn beef is naturally leaner. The Meersburger comes in with a 97/3 ratio of meat to fat—making it not only delicious, but healthy. The lack of fat doesn’t affect the taste, though. The freshly ground beef doesn’t receive even a sprinkle of salt before being cooked to perfection on Meers’ griddle, seasoned by years of use. The half- pound patty is stacked on a bun, spread with mustard, and topped with pickles, purple onion, tomatoes and leaf lettuce. For those with a larger appetite, the Seismic Meersburger boasts a full pound of juicy beef. Cotton Electric Cooperative member and Marlow, Okla., resident Starla Davis is a Meers regular.


The Best in the West Two-hundred-seventy-five miles


to the


Meers, Okla., has become a famous Oklahoma landmark for its Meers Store and Restaurant.


northwest of Meers, another burger draws busi- ness from locals and out-of-state regulars alike. Ranked No. 1 out of 60 restaurants in the Oklahoma Panhandle on urbanspoon.com, a restaurant review website, the Hooker Soda Fountain and Grill, in Hooker, Okla., is a fa- vorite in the West. What started out as a variety store with a


snack counter morphed into a full-fl edged res- taurant in 2008.


“We wanted to have a place for kids to hang out after school and it turned into an eating joint,” says owner Tim Hedrick, a member of Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC). “We got more and more lunch customers and we kept adding more booths. We stumbled into the restaurant business.” The restaurant is reminiscent of a ‘50s diner with its black and white tile


“I grew up about 10 miles from Meers and I’ve eaten there all my life. I like that the hamburger meat is always fresh,” Davis says. “Another thing I like is it has such a unique environment—everything in there is whopperjawed. I think it’s an authentic Oklahoma kind of place.” Besides the burgers, another aspect that sets Meers apart is the building laden with decades of history. Built in 1901, the structure—which at various times housed a real estate offi ce, doctor’s offi ce, general store, newspaper of- fi ce, post offi ce, and a butcher’s shop—is listed on the National Register of


fl oor. Eighteen bar stools line a soda fountain counter, nine of which are an- tiques moved across the street from the former Grey’s Drug Store. An original brick wall serves as a “mini museum” with photos of the businesses formerly occupying the building and stories of local residents. Though the Hooker Soda Fountain features more than just burgers on its menu, the hamburgers are extremely popular; more than 700 are sold each week. “Our burgers are seasoned and hand-pattied fresh each day,” Hedrick says. The half-pound patty of lean, 90/10 beef is served on a sesame bun. Diners customize the sandwich to their liking by selecting their own toppings from a salad bar.


“Instead of us putting the toppings on, you put your own. That way if you MAY 2014 29


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138  |  Page 139  |  Page 140  |  Page 141  |  Page 142  |  Page 143  |  Page 144  |  Page 145  |  Page 146  |  Page 147  |  Page 148  |  Page 149  |  Page 150  |  Page 151  |  Page 152  |  Page 153  |  Page 154  |  Page 155  |  Page 156  |  Page 157  |  Page 158  |  Page 159  |  Page 160  |  Page 161  |  Page 162  |  Page 163  |  Page 164  |  Page 165  |  Page 166