Sometimes the best getaway is in your own back yard.
This weekend, my girlfriend and I took off for north-central Oklahoma and the land of Pawhuska Huskies and bison. Oh, and it’s also the home of Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. She and her “Marlboro Man” have a large ranch west of town on Hwy. 60, and she has a restaurant and shop in town called The Mercantile, which in and of itself has made this Oklahoma town of about 3,500 people a tourist destination.
Don’t take it from me. Open your AirBnB app and look how many places are available for folks to stay: travelers come from far away to have breakfast at Ree Drummond’s place and browse her wares.
The first thing we did was rent a house for the weekend. What a great era we live in. Forget a hotel room at the Budget Inn: we stayed at a house. Had the whole place to ourselves, and it was so easy to do. We stayed at a property on 6th Street called the Gray Haven.
Once we had our sleeping situation squared away, it was off to The Mercantile for breakfast. Mind you, Pawhuska is a super small town, and we could have walked to the restaurant. However, spare your feet when going to dine at Ree’s because you’re going to stand in line. We got lucky and only spent an hour in line. The Mercantile is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, and we arrived at about 8:55 a.m. and were seated by 10.
Actually, we were darned lucky that we were able to get breakfast. The folks who arrived a bit later than we did were likely relegated to lunch. I wanted pancakes and was going to be awfully disappointed in my trip to see the Pioneer Woman if I didn’t get pancakes.
For those of you wondering, the wait was eased a bit by benches alongside the building. We didn’t have to stand the whole time, and many folks stood in line on behalf of friends and relatives who waited in their vehicles nearby. Whatever works.
Once inside, the service was quick, surprisingly so for a place so in-demand.
We ordered coffee, me the “Cowboy Coffee” and Kristi a hazelnut latte. My concoction was like nothing I had ever tasted. It was topped with frothed milk and flavored with sarsaparilla. My cup wasn’t as hot as I like my coffee, but the taste was second-to-none. It was the richest, creamiest, most flavorful cup of coffee I’ve ever had.
Starbucks be damned. The Pioneer Woman kicks your butt.
Our orders were quite different as well. Kristi had the farmers breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, tomatoes and a biscuit with delicious strawberry jam. I had the Edna Mae’s pancake breakfast complete with three different butters and four different flavors of syrup, although as a traditionalist, I loved the maple syrup the best.
It all tasted as indulgent as it sounds, and it didn’t put that big a dent into the old pocketbook. We got out of there for under $40 and spent the rest of our morning shopping at The Mercantile. The shop was full of hustle and bustle, and they did a brisk business in our time there. Heck, business is so good at The Mercantile that Drummond is going to be building an 8-room hotel near her restaurant and shop.
Pawhuska is really, really lucky to have her there. The adage about build it and they will come rings true as long as the “it” is in demand, and in her case, locals, tourists and fans can’t get enough of it.