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Hamburger and fries meal at the Hooker Soda Fountain in Hooker, Okla. Photo by JuliAnn Graham/TCEC


Meers Store and Restaurant: (Cash or local checks only )


Wednesday-Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; closed Tuesday


26005 Oklahoma 115, Lawton, OK 73507


Hooker Soda Fountain and Grill: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday 114 Glaydas Street, Hooker, OK 73945


Hickory Burger at Soda Steve’s in Gore, Okla. Photo by Laura Araujo


Soda Steve’s:


Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday- Saturday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.


GPS address: 1 Manns Drive Paradise Hill, OK (Don’t Enter a Zip)


Physical address: 1 Manns Drive, Gore, OK 74435


want three or four tomatoes, you can get them,” he says. TCEC maintenance manager and Hooker resident Lyle Mathis is a regular customer. “The burgers are freshly made, delicious, and a trademark meal from the


Hooker Soda Fountain,” he says. For $6 including tax, diners can get a hamburger, crisp homemade fries and a drink—a great value for one of the best burgers in the West.


“Good Eats on a Mission” Rounding out this tour of Oklahoma hamburgers, is Soda Steve’s on the southwest shore of Lake Tenkiller in eastern Oklahoma. The casual restaurant is located on Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative lines at the Fin and Feather Resort in Gore, Okla. The menu features a variety of items including 10 dif- ferent hamburgers, the creations of Chef Steve Pool. “We really cook good burgers,” Pool says. “We use 100 percent ground


chuck and work hard to get them cooked right. All our burgers are char- grilled, with the exception of the onion burger. We serve them on a potato bun that’s soft but not so soft it falls apart.” The most popular hamburger on the menu is the Hickory Burger, topped with barbeque sauce, shredded colby-jack cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise. The Big Large is, without a doubt, the most visually impres- sive sandwich. It consists of three, third-pound patties stacked between buns with toppings. The half-foot-high burger is served atop a bed of onion rings. New to the menu is the Chili Fork Burger, a hamburger covered with a healthy heap of chili and finished with a fork—which is necessary for eating. “There’s a story behind every menu item,” Pool says. “Max’s Char Burger


30 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


is inspired by a burger I ate at Max’s Drive-In in Chickasha when I was a little kid. I tried to recreate the smoky hickory sauce that was on it, and I’ve had people come in and ask if it’s a Max’s burger.” The creativity of the menu is matched by the restaurant’s fun vibe. An antique clawfoot bathtub, painted red, is the centerpiece of the dining room; above it a disco ball dangles from the ceiling. Much of the décor is inspired by Pool’s seven mission trips. Hammocks from his missions in Vietnam hang above palm trees in the restaurant. Photos of his trips decorate the walls. Soda Steve’s itself is a product of Pool’s mission experiences. The restau- rant’s motto, “Good Eats on a Mission,” ties together Pool’s passions for good food and missions work.


“I started doing missions in 2002 to take my three kids. I wanted them to


see that it’s not video games and air conditioning everywhere,” Pool says. “My fi rst mission trip was to Costa Rica. They have places called ‘Sodas’ but they’re not what we would think of. It’s basically a lady who fl ings open her garage door and feeds all the locals. We had all our meals at a place called Soda Brenda’s.” At the time, Pool had a restaurant at the Fin and Feather Resort called “The


Veranda.” He and a couple employees who were with him in Coast Rica came up with the idea to rename the restaurant “Soda Steve’s” and introduce a new menu. The restaurant took off, and they built a new space to accommodate the growing clientele. “I love this place. The food is just great,” says Danna Sumpter, a Gore resi- dent and Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative member who often stops in to grab lunch. “Of all the burgers I’ve eaten, theirs is my favorite.” Of course, everyone is entitled to his or her own favorite burger. This May, try one of these burgers—you might discover a new favorite.


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