#198 - The Garage - Stillwater, OK

Home football game weekends are crazy busy for me. Friday is long, Saturday is a lot longer and I walk about 10 miles from start to finish. So Sunday I'm as lazy as I possibly can be. I sleep in, go to lunch with Bob, Joni & Tony, then go back home and take a nap. In reality, it's a pretty good day. 

Sunday we normally go to Louie's or Brooklyn's for lunch. But Joni & Tony weren't with us this time, so we decided to try something different, and went to The Garage. It's a fast-casual restaurant concept with 7 locations in Oklahoma and one in Arkansas. The Stillwater location opened just a few months ago. I was kind of surprised about the location for 2 reasons. First, it's on the same block as Eskimo Joe's. Joe's is a Stillwater institution. It's always packed, especially on gameday and in the summer. I wouldn't think they wanted the competition. There's also a law that restaurants within 100 feet of campus cannot serve liquor. And The Garage is right across the street from campus. So we figure either they got grandfathered in because it was a bar years ago, or maybe the Joe's is the silent owner so they got an exemption. Either way, I'm happy it's here because we need more good restaurants in town.

You wait in line to order, then sit and they bring your food out to you. The very front portion of the restaurant is the line and the order counter, with a partial wall separating the line from the seating area. There's a large bar in the middle of the restaurant with barstools around 3 sides of it, and then a mixture of short tables and high tops around 3 sides as well. Plus tons of TV's throughout the restaurant. At the back of the restaurant is another seating area, through an open doorway. The interior has very unique decorations, with a little bit of everything: old signs, large superhero figurines, and lots of pictures.

Their menu is pretty simple: appetizers, burgers, hot dogs, tacos, salads, and sandwiches. Sides are sold separately. I'm not really a huge fan of that concept, but it does also allow you to create your own meal. For the burgers you can choose from Angus beef, turkey, smoked turkey, garden burger or bison. Then your options of bun are regular, whole wheat, or lettuce wrap for a gluten free option. Pretty much every burger already has stuff on it, but you can also add "regular" or "premium" toppings for an extra charge. They've got 4 types of fries, 2 types of slaw, housemade chips, and an assortment of dipping sauces.

I had seen earlier that morning that it was National Vodka Day. So of course we had to join in on the fun. Bob did the BLT bloody mary, and I got the pineapple club special

I don't do bloodys so I didn't try Bob's, but he said it was really good. The bartender had warned him that it was pretty spicy so he asked them to tone it back some. And they listened. My club special was really good.

Allen was a rebel and got the fish & chips

I didn't try any, but he said it was good. 

Bob and I ordered the sriracha slaw, garlic parm fries, and Tijuana fries

They were NOT kidding with the heat on this slaw! My mouth was absolutely on fire. But the flavor was excellent, which made it hard to stop eating it.

My students had brought me an order of these garlic parm fries the week before. They were good, but had gotten a little steamed and also not that hot from being in the to-go container. So I got these to give them another chance. Sadly, I was disappointed, because they weren't hot. Just kind of warm. With how crowded the place was, I thought for sure there's no way that could happen. I was wrong. 

The Tijuana fries were good, but SPICY. They don't fry the jalapenos with the fries, so I can't figure out how they absorb so much of the heat. But they most certainly do. Again, mouth on fire.

Bob got the Hawaiian burger, and got bison meat

Honey mustard, Swiss, pineapple salsa, bacon
I tasted a bite, and it was awesome. I had never eaten bison meat before, and was very pleasantly surprised. It has really good flavor. The pineapple lent a really good hint of sweetness to the burger, without being overpowering.

I decided not to be adventurous with bison meat this time, and stuck with Angus beef. I did the grilled jalapeno bacon cheeser on a wheat bun

Garlic aioli, lettuce, tomato, onion, grilled jalapenos, bacon, American cheese
The burger was awesome. Cooked perfect medium, juicy, and full of flavor. However, I had asked for grilled onions and an egg on top...and didn't get either. It was way too busy to send it back, so I just ate it as is. In the grand scheme of things, not having the egg wasn't a bad decision, because I really didn't need it. The burger was plenty on its own. Looking back, I have no clue why I got a burger with jalapenos. Clearly I had a death wish that day. I ended up taking about half of them off because by that point I couldn't do more spice.

This place was packed when we arrived, and by the time we sat down there was a line out the door and heading down the street. I know part of that is that it's new, and another part is that people who don't want to wait to be seated at Joe's (which can be a really long wait during popular times) have another close-by option.

We will definitely be back.  Besides the mess-up on my burger, the food was awesome. We're going to try the regular slaw next time, and avoid anything with jalapenos. My friend Tia had just gotten her food as we were leaving, and I tasted one of her sweet potato fries. They were amazing...we're getting those next time. I'm also getting bison meat for my burger. We were also discussing how to get Joni to eat there. She doesn't do restaurants where you have to stand in line to order. But we figure if we order when they're leaving the hotel, she'll be able to just come and sit with us by the time they get there. And they have alcohol, so she can get her Sunday mimosa.