Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

May 25, 2012

What’s on the bun?

TAHLEQUAH — Perhaps no other food on the American summer holiday menu epitomizes patriotism more than a good old-fashioned hamburger.

Cheese, no cheese, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, mayonnaise – it doesn’t matter. The sound of a hunk of ground chuck sizzling on the grill might as well be the national anthem of sunny season.

Americans’ attachment to the meat patty is ironic, however, considering its place of origin is none other than – of course – Hamburg, Germany. Here’s to immigration!

The first printed American menu to include hamburger was thought to be an 1826 menu from Delmonico’s in New York, N.Y., though conflicting reports claim  the first patty was actually served at Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Conn., in 1885.

Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas, is credited with selling hamburgers at his cafe during the late 1880s, then bringing his product to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Dairy Queen spokesman Bob Phillips similarly corroborated this particular version of the story in a commercial filmed in Athens in the 1980s, referring to the place as “the birthplace of the hamburger.”

Legend has it, though, that the true birthplace of the American hamburger, as we know it, is right here in Northeastern Oklahoma.

According to Oklahoma author Michael Wallis, Oscar Weber Bilby was the first person to serve a “real” hamburger. On July, 4, 1891, Bilby and his wife celebrated Independence Day with ground beef on homemade buns, at the couple’s farm – just west of present-day Tulsa.

More than a century later, Weber’s Root Beer Stand remains a Tulsa landmark, earning the title of Tulsa’s best burger more than any other restaurant since 1933. But residents of Cherokee County needn’t go all the way to New York, or Texas, or even Tulsa for a great burger.

Nottingham’s Southside Drive-In, 1216 S. Muskogee Ave., boasts a wildly popular – if altogether simplistic – lineup of sandwiched meat patties. According to Chris Nottingham, whose parents own Southside, the favorite menu item is the special: a hamburger with mustard, pickles, onions, tomatoes and lettuce, with fries and a drink.

For the ultimate in Southside extravagance, diners can try their hands at the triple cheeseburger with bacon.

“The triple with bacon weighs about a pound,” said Nottingham. “It’s a monster burger. I’ve never finished one, personally.”

The monster is available with fries and a drink for $5.77 including tax.

Presley’s Burgers, 200 E. Downing St., also dresses ground beef in bacon, but according to Sandra Presley, the mushroom and swiss burger may very well be the favorite.

“We get fresh-pressed patties from Reasor’s every day,” said Presley. “None of our burgers are frozen. They’re always fresh.”

Boom-A-Rang Diner, 116 S. Muskogee Ave., serves up its own version of the mushroom and swiss burger, along with grilled onions, in what is known as the K.V. Burger.

“A lot of people who come in get our burger basket,” said waitress Rhiannon Guinn. “We also have a patty melt that comes with double cheese and grilled onions.”

The most elaborately assembled Boom-A-Rang burger is the Super Chili Cheeseburger Supreme.

“It is a half-pound, open-faced, double cheeseburger, with lettuce, pickles, onions and mustard, covered in chili,” said Guinn. “It’s really messy, but it is really good.”

While each of these restaurants and their unique concoctions will surely leave bellies full and tastebuds satisfied, sometimes the perfect burger calls for the homemade treatment.

“[I like] raw spinach leaves, avocado, sprouts, tomato, onions, mayo and mustard on both sides of the toasted bun,” said former Tahlequah resident Frank Wofford. “After you pat out the patties, spread butter on both sides before you put it on a super-hot grill.”

Melissa Brown elects to omit two otherwise popular toppings from her ideal burger.

“[I like] bacon if I can get it,” she said. “Mayo, maybe a [little] ketchup, lettuce, diced onion, and a nice, thick patty. I’m allergic to tomatoes, and I hate cheese on a burger.”

NSU Telecommunications Administrator Steve Ford prefers a little added spice, to say the least.

“[It’s called] the Atomic Burger,” said Ford. “Poblano pepper and jack cheese on top, chopped jalapenos, mixed in with the ‘real meat’ and habanero sauce to top it off.”

Stacy (Patrick) Pratt, a former Daily Press copy editor, has become versed in the regional inconsistency of the burger itself, since leaving Tahlequah.

“I have learned, here in northern New York, to like barbecue sauce and mushrooms on mine,” she said. “My husband hates hamburgers here because they don’t automatically come with lettuce and tomato. I agree that this lack of vegetables is weird.”

Weird as it might be, the style of the American hamburger has become as diverse and unique as the Americans eating it. Whether it’s Pratt’s barbecue mushroom burger, Boom-A-Rang’s Super Chili Cheeseburger Supreme, or an Atomic Burger straight from the grill of Steve Ford, the star-spangled burger of today is far removed from its Germanic roots of yesteryear.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered everyday to your home or office. Code for E-EDITION TRIAL OR SUBSCRIBE Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition.

It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-TonsOffTahl-A.jpg Tribes, city, NSU launch Tons Off Tahlequah campaign

    When studies are conducted about whether Americans are living healthy lifestyles, Oklahoma often ranks poorly among the states.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-Trail-show-1.jpg Jackson takes prize

    Cherokee Heritage Center Museum Curator Mickel Yantz kicked off his 10th anniversary at the venue with the opening of the 43rd annual Trail of Tears Art Show this past Friday.
    “The Trail of Tears show was my first exhibit opening when I arrived 10 years ago,” said Yantz. “Since that time, the show has changed so dramatically; we’ve added so many new artists, and the art work has excelled over time. It’s like Christmas for me.”
    Yantz said he was exceptionally pleased with the opening reception.
    “We had a fantastic turnout,” said Yantz. “We had a lot of fun and sold some artwork, which is great for opening night.”
    The exhibit is on display at the Cherokee Heritage Center through May 26. This year’s show features 130 pieces of art spanning eight different categories, including basketry, graphics, jewelry, miniature, painting, pottery and sculpture.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • churchguy.jpg Some NSU students find Church of Monett offensive

    They turn heads every time they show up on campus, and some students at Northeastern State University are offended by their presence.
    The Church of Monett, Mo., has made periodic trips to Tahlequah to stage quiet demonstrations in public campus spaces in recent years. They carry signs that read, “Wives, Obey your Husbands,”; “To be Married to the divorced is Adultery”; and “Don’t be deceived: fornicators homosexuals idolaters adulterers thieves drunkards - shall not inherit God’s Kingdom.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teen sent to hospital after being struck by tractor-trailer

    An 18-year-old Tahlequah man was struck by a tractor-trailer early Tuesday morning on the State Highway 51 bypass near Mimosa Lane.
    Tahlequah Police Capt. Tom Jones said officers responded to the scene at about 5:40 a.m., when Sage Sohns was found injured and lying in the road. A medical helicopter responded to the scene to transport Sohns to a Tulsa hospital, where he was being treated for a closed-head injury, police said.

    April 16, 2014

  • TPS board hears architect presentations for cafeteria

    Members of the Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education heard from four architectural firms seeking a contract for construction at Cherokee Elementary School.
    TPS plans to build a cafeteria-auditorium and a music room with a stage, which may also serve as a safe room during storms.

    April 16, 2014

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Stocks