Monday, September 16, 2013

Oklahoma City Memories: The Patio on the Classen Circle

"Where Food Is An Art, and Friendship Is Everlasting"

            When I came to OCU (Oklahoma City University) in the fall of 1974, several other Bartians (natives of Bartlesville, OK) of my senior class came with me, and a few older Sooner High Spartans were already there.

            One of them was the great guy Roger Price, whom I’d sat next to in high school Concert Choir.  He had a car -- a big plus!  It was a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, similar to the one just above.
            One night Roger took me to a place that was open 24 hours on weekends -- a big plus for college kids (even unpopular ones like me).
            It looked something  similar to this.  This is a print by OKC artist Greg Burns. 
            Hearkening back to my first visit there, when we were leaving Roger found up that he’d locked the keys in the car.  We tried everything imaginable, but Roger ended up breaking the driver’s side wing window to get back in.
            As you will read in the following articles, the Patio wasn’t very big.  Most times you had to wait ten minutes or so for a table.  BUT WORTH IT!
            Here is the menu, from a year or so later:

            My favorite was the Schnitzel!  You had a fried hamburger patty, topped by a sunnyside-up fried egg, plus chili plus grated cheese & chopped onions.  Man o man! Good!  Joyce, she always got the Patio K-Plate (a girly diet thing I guess).
            It was at a two-person table in the window that Joyce and I were sitting when, as friends, we decided to try and keep our eyes peeled for a boyfriend and girlfriend for each other.  Look how THAT turned out!
            Over the years we would go to the Patio at least every month or two, and as our family grew, sometimes our waits got longer because we needed a bigger table.
            The Patio was an OKC institution, we latecomers learned.  Here’s a link to an Oklahoman article from December 12, 1982:
            And sadly with time we didn’t go as often as we liked.  And over the years it changed owners once or twice.
            We were so sad to read of its closing in December 1988!
            From time to time as we drove by, we wondered if it would ever re-open.

            In 1994 it did for a while, as the Patio Café.  This is a second Greg Burns piece, of its new look.  The owner, Don Shook, was always a great guy when we stopped by.  And we can attest that his was the BEST POT ROAST EVER!

            It made us sad again to read this article.  When the auction came,  I went (with Melissa who was ten) and bought some stuff.  
            This was taken standing next to a street sign (note the big black pole on the left!) in a traffic island outside and across a lane of traffic, on the day of the auction.  The white van is for the auctioneer, Dakil Auctions.
            I bought a few batches of kitchen utensils, and -- joy! -- two tables, a square 30-incher and a round one about 40 inches across.  The square one is here in the Fortress of Markitude, and the bigger round one is beside our front door!
            Another time when we drove by a few years later, there were cars there, and we stopped in.  Now it was called Chica’s grill, and we ate there twice.  When we went back the second time we took a printout of Greg Burns’ two Patio prints and a printed copy of the menu.  The ladies there were NOT impressed by my reminiscing.  After a while it moved away. 


They had cups like the above.  Here’s an article 
from December 23, 2003 Oklahoman about when it opened as Chica’s.


            So, nowadays the Patio area has been bricked-in and is used as a bar.  This is reported by one of my kids, who has been by there recently.


            So memories go!  Thanks and fare thee well, Patio!
            One of the things I hope to do in Heaven is have a Schnitzel!




Dennis Doubleday said...

I had the Schnitzel a bunch of times in the 1970s when I went to OCU. Loved that place! Thanks for the memory.

Mark Alfred said...

Happy to purvey good memories!

bobbysamd said...

I ate at The Patio many times when I lived in OKC in the 1980s. I would eat the taco with salad dressing. Also had the chicken fried steak.

The Patio closed down about ten days after I left OKC. Wonder about any coincidence.......

Mark Alfred said...

However, Beverly's is still around, having moved several years ago to NW Expressway and Independence. You can still get Chicken in the Rough!

Unknown said...

I loved this place. I always ate the Schnitzel. I also ordered a side of French fries. You forgot to mention, it also had baked beans on it and it came with Texas toast. Great place. Remember the sign that listed all the employees and how long they had been there? Very loyal workers.
C. T. Chandler, Jr.

Mark Alfred said...

Yes, I remember that Faye had 20+ years on that board. Others similarly long.

One gray-haired, slender gal would often be sitting alone, talking with the cooks or servers. I got the impression she lived in one of the apartments overhead.

Thanks for your comment!

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