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  1. #1

    Default Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    I ran across an article on The Lost Ogle by accident the other day. I don't usually read TLO because it seems they just like to run down Oklahoma personalities. I guess some might see it as satire but the Pioneer Woman article from the other day really came off as jealous whining. But that's whole other topic. The article I'm talking about was a list of OKC restaurants that the author missed. A lot of the ones on the list were names that you hear often as restaurants that are missed. But I started thinking about it and began thinking that when some of those places still existed, I don't recall thinking they were all that great. Some were okay, some were good, some less so. But I just wonder if nostalgia has more to do with it than anything. If those places remind us of a good time in our lives or a time when our lives were simpler.

    I don't recall ever loving the pizza at Crystal's but I loved the restaurant. I went there as a young teen so my life was certainly more simple then as my parents took care of all the important stuff in my life. The Crystal's building was cool with the different rooms (it was like a quest finding different, out-of-the-way rooms) and all the games on the two different levels.

    Applewood's fritters were great but I don't remember their food being all that...well, memorable. Is it just nostalgia that makes us miss Applewoods?

    Was Molly Murphy's really that cool and fun or were they just mean? Was the Eagle's Nest really upscale and metropolitan or do I only think that because it's where I had my first grown up meal on my 13th birthday? And the list goes on.

    Thoughts? Feelings?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    I am by nature a very sentimental person, as I love to remember old times and relive them. But I am not nostalgic, meaning I think virtually everything is better today than it ever has been.

    I mourn some historic structures that are gone for good but only because I'd love to see them restored and improved. Most ended their lives as horrible messes which had been in a bad state for a long time.

    Otherwise, I'm very sure 3Sixty is way better than the Eagle's Nest or anything else in that space.

    Crystal's was cool only because it had some games and fun stuff but playing virtually every game ever made for free at FlashBack -- while drinking beer and listening to great music! -- is light years better.

    Molly Murphy's was super over-rated. It was fun for a while but their food was very unremarkable and I found the characters more annoying than anything. And it was a complete and admitted rip-off of the Time Machine in DFW. It went out of business because the novelty wore off and it had long stopped being any sort of destination.

    Of all cloudy memories, the most subjective of all is taste. Split T had the best burgers in the world! etc.

    Truth is there are dozens and dozens of great places now and the old places would not stack up very well... Except for in our romanticized memories.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Of all cloudy memories, the most subjective of all is taste. Split T had the best burgers in the world! etc.
    One of the few places that has stayed open and allowed me to go back and see if it was just memory or if it was really any good is Pizza Shuttle. When I was at OU I thought it was a pretty decent pizza (not the best) especially for the price. Eating their pizza many years later I realized it was bathed in the grease of nostalgia. The pizza just wasn't very good at all. I guess you could make the argument that the recipe changed or something and that's what made it taste less than good when I got older, but I don't think that was the case.

  4. Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    I think when it comes to Okie-Mex it has taken a big step back compared to the 80's when places like Nino's and Cocino de Mino were in their heyday.

    They have altered the recipes so much to try to keep their food costs down that none of it is anywhere near as good as it was back then. Biggest case in point is the chicken soup base cheese jelly they serve as complimentary queso these days.

    When I worked at Nino's (first mowing his home and properties and later as a tortilla delivery driver) the queso was made with a food service brand of processed cheese (Velveeta).... Now I'm not even sure there is any cheese left in the recipe.... Yes I know there could be an argument made that Velveeta isn't cheese but it's best known for being made into queso with Rotel.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by traxx View Post
    One of the few places that has stayed open and allowed me to go back and see if it was just memory or if it was really any good is Pizza Shuttle. When I was at OU I thought it was a pretty decent pizza (not the best) especially for the price. Eating their pizza many years later I realized it was bathed in the grease of nostalgia. The pizza just wasn't very good at all. I guess you could make the argument that the recipe changed or something and that's what made it taste less than good when I got older, but I don't think that was the case.
    I would venture to say that Pizza Shuttle didn't change, you did. The people who now are who you were back then I imagine still love it, that being a broke college student who may or may not have a legal blood alcohol level. I saw this in very very stark contrast when I lived in Austin and went to Magnolia Cafe. Ask the people who were there in their college years, and that place is absolute heaven on earth. No better food anywhere on the planet.

    In reality, I was served ice-cold pancakes, and since there wasn't a dangerous amount of alcohol that needed to be soaked up by said ice-cold pancakes (not room temperature, actually, actively COLD) I was completely unimpressed. But the people who DID go there when they were too drunk to know any better remember the good times and overlook the faults.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by stile99 View Post
    I would venture to say that Pizza Shuttle didn't change, you did.
    Yeah, that's what I was trying to say.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by traxx View Post
    One of the few places that has stayed open and allowed me to go back and see if it was just memory or if it was really any good is Pizza Shuttle. When I was at OU I thought it was a pretty decent pizza (not the best) especially for the price. Eating their pizza many years later I realized it was bathed in the grease of nostalgia. The pizza just wasn't very good at all. I guess you could make the argument that the recipe changed or something and that's what made it taste less than good when I got older, but I don't think that was the case.
    I delivered pizza for pizza shuttle in college. It was never about quality. It was about price. Their $10 for 3 pizzas and sodas delivered special was nuts, and so popular. But the pizza was greasy crap and only fit for the stomach of a college student (90% of the customers).

  8. Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Of all cloudy memories, the most subjective of all is taste. Split T had the best burgers in the world! etc.
    When I was a kid my dad had a landscaping business and we mowed Vincent Stephens house and the Split-T but in 8 years of mowing it we never ate there once..... We did try to mow commercial properties early in the morning/week before customers arrived. Oddly we ate at that filling station on Western and Avondale (Bolan Service Station now) just about every Wednesday when we were mowing residential in Nichols Hills.

  9. Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by OK BBQ Eater Anonymous View Post
    When I was a kid my dad had a landscaping business and we mowed Vincent Stephens house and the Split-T but in 8 years of mowing it we never ate there once..... We did try to mow commercial properties early in the morning/week before customers arrived. Oddly we ate at that filling station on Western and Avondale (Bolan Service Station now) just about every Wednesday when we were mowing residential in Nichols Hills.
    The thing to keep in mind about Split-T is from what period of time are you remembering it: From it's heyday in the 70's into the very early 80's, or it's "second run" from about the mid/late 90's until it closed? The former was what made it great. The latter was...awful. I used to work in that neck of the woods and maybe once or twice a month we'd walk over to Split-T and the place was generally a shambles. The burgers were....edible. I fully expected the place to close down one day while we were in there eating. And there was not much of a lunch crowd. So, in that vein, yeah, memories bias reality, but in this case, it's *which* memories are biasing

    For me, my favorite memory-shaded place is Shakey's Pizza. I loved their player pianos, straw hats, stained-glass/coke barrel doors, wood benches, and even as an adult I can honestly say I've never had a pepperoni pizza that matched the flavor of Shakey's pepperoni. Alas.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Before it's demise, Pepe's in Edmond was great at one point. It definitely isn't a case of nostalgia. I think that Pepe just got to old to manage it properly.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoonerDave View Post
    For me, my favorite memory-shaded place is Shakey's Pizza. I loved their player pianos, straw hats, stained-glass/coke barrel doors, wood benches, and even as an adult I can honestly say I've never had a pepperoni pizza that matched the flavor of Shakey's pepperoni. Alas.
    There are still plenty of Shakey's in California and I had very fond memories for the same reasons but I can assure you their pizza does not compare well with even chain pizza now.

    Went once for old-time's sake and never returned in my 25 years out there.


    I was trying to think about places that still exist and actually provide a modern day comparison. A&W comes to mind and I remember thinking they had the best burgers and root beer on the planet. Of course, not even close to modern options.

    I remember when McDonald's was the biggest thing ever with only their basic burgers, fries and shakes. When is the last time any of us even ordered one of their regular burgers? And if you did, you see it's a joke by modern standards.


    I'm not saying it's not fun and even satisfying to wax nostalgic but with food and restaurants in particular, I just don't think any of our old faves can hold a candle to what is available now. And yes, I realize that is sad in its own way.

  12. Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    There are still plenty of Shakey's in California and I had very fond memories for the same reasons but I can assure you their pizza does not compare well with even chain pizza now.

    Went once for old-time's sake and never returned in my 25 years out there.
    I was thinking more about the Shakey's of around 1975 or so.

    I don't think *any* surviving contemporary version of a "classic" restaurant is as good as that original counterpart. I have no doubt that "current" Shakey's is much departed from CiCi's or whatever. Heck, I can think of a more current version: Fuddruckers. Used to be one in OKC years ago, burgers were really good, lots of fresh stuff to put on them; but found a "contemporary" namesake version of it in Dallas a couple of years ago and it wasn't anywhere near as good. Smaller burgers, cold buns, no "buffet of toppings", just a very bland burger joint that couldn't hold a candle to, say, The Garage here in OKC (and a mustard-onion cheeseburger from there is sounding pretty good right now....)

    Look at the other thread about what Braum's is becoming - they've **had** great reputation, but they're changing and evolving and the memory being created is a combination of nostalgia from the 70's and the reality that they're changing in ways that benefit their bottom line, but spoil their food and their stores. It's like an inevitable retail de-evolution into something only a faint shadow of itself, persisting in name only and living off the memory of what it once was.


    Another old lost favorite of mine was Dodson's Cafeteria. No one had their veal cutlets or chocolate icebox pie since they closed.

  13. Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    I remember when McDonald's was the biggest thing ever with only their basic burgers, fries and shakes. When is the last time any of us even ordered one of their regular burgers? And if you did, you see it's a joke by modern standards.
    Pretty much every Wednesday after pool league... The #2 (2 cheeseburger meal) is my once a week fast food foray.

    And no I don't think they are as good since they took out the pink slime.

    Honestly as far as fast food burgers go I still prefer McDonald's to others.... Yes even over In-N-Out.... And maybe it's just because that's what I grew up on. Back when the thing was to hit the drive-thru and order a dozen for anywhere from $1.20 to $2.50.... Does anyone still order burgers by the dozen like that?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Pete,
    Thanks for answering a long time question that I have had about Shakey's and the quality of their food as served today.

    Shakey's Pizza in OKC was one of those stand out places from my youth, (Early 60's) and we attended the South Western location regularly. It was quite the event back then. The atmosphere was unique and exciting, and the pizza was, and still is in my mind the standard by which I measure all others. I was quite disappointed in the mid 80's when the profit absorbed owner decided he could do just as well without the Shakey's brand. Needless to say, for a number of reasons, the stores were doomed in short order. (The one in Del City became Round up Pizza and was even featured on a very negative television show!)

    Even though there are some decent pizza's to be had, the whole going out for Pizza experience seems to have died about that time. I found a recent article on Retro Ramblings which documents much of the loss with Pizza Hut.

    http://retroramblings.com/pizza-hut/

  15. #15

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    For the most part I think is spot on. However. Nicks at the top. Was fantastic and only closed because they were for forced out.

  16. Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    WRT retail - yep, I believe Rainbow Records and Sound Warehouse (not so much Peaches) were as good as I remember them, not much like them around anymore (Trolley Stop and Guestroom are the ones I go to and they're cool, but as far as new releases go, they're just OK).

  17. #17

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheTravellers View Post
    WRT retail - yep, I believe Rainbow Records and Sound Warehouse (not so much Peaches) were as good as I remember them, not much like them around anymore (Trolley Stop and Guestroom are the ones I go to and they're cool, but as far as new releases go, they're just OK).
    Some of that has to do with technology. I remember a time when you had to go to a place like Rainbow to find the new bands, the up and comers, the obscure, etc. Now a simple internet search will return far more, far quicker than a visit to your local record shop.

  18. Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by traxx View Post
    Some of that has to do with technology. I remember a time when you had to go to a place like Rainbow to find the new bands, the up and comers, the obscure, etc. Now a simple internet search will return far more, far quicker than a visit to your local record shop.
    Yeah, I know, but the whole personal recommendation, chat with the guys working there thing (HIgh Fidelity, anyone?) is just lost (and the recommendation algorithms in online stuff don't come close to making up for that). That's where I found out about so many bands that shaped my musical tastes. Now it's just tiring to try to deal with finding new bands on the internet - too many and not enough quality control.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheTravellers View Post
    Yeah, I know, but the whole personal recommendation, chat with the guys working there thing (HIgh Fidelity, anyone?) is just lost (and the recommendation algorithms in online stuff don't come close to making up for that). That's where I found out about so many bands that shaped my musical tastes. Now it's just tiring to try to deal with finding new bands on the internet - too many and not enough quality control.
    The on-line version of the guy at Sound Warehouse is something like Pandora or one of the many others that use algorithms to find songs and artists you like based on what you tell them you already like, or what you choose to like once heard.

    Again, I would argue this is a million times better than relying on a couple of people to guess at what you may like based on what they have happened to have heard.

    I find absolutely tons of music and bands I like this way. Even on youtube where you can listen to an artist then browse the playlist that is always suggested.

    And I can do it any time I want in my pajamas rather than driving down to a record store, finding the right guy then completely trusting him. AND I can pre-listen before I buy or download.

    Even later, how many hours did I spend in Tower records going from station to station to listen to whatever CD's they happened to be running through headphones?

    I will also say it wasn't long ago where you couldn't even hear a huge majority of music because our local stations didn't carry it. Even when I was in college, KGOU was classic rock. No alternative or progressive or new wave or anything. I would go read Billboard in the OU library then buy records blindly, if I could even find them in record stores.

    This is one of the areas where I think their have been the greatest improvements of all, not even factoring in that who gets their music out is no longer controlled by 5 or 6 rich older white guys who owned record companies and then engaged in rampant payola to get those records heard.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by traxx View Post
    Some of that has to do with technology. I remember a time when you had to go to a place like Rainbow to find the new bands, the up and comers, the obscure, etc. Now a simple internet search will return far more, far quicker than a visit to your local record shop.
    I do love being able to download one song that hear and want. Plus the other things the internet music shopping provides. But one of my favorite memories was walking into Rainbow one night and hearing this amazing music playing. I asked the clerk what it was and he told me it was "Song For America" a new album by a new, pretty much unknown band named Kansas. I bought the 8-track and Kansas has been my favorite band since.

  21. Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheTravellers View Post
    WRT retail - yep, I believe Rainbow Records and Sound Warehouse (not so much Peaches) were as good as I remember them, not much like them around anymore (Trolley Stop and Guestroom are the ones I go to and they're cool, but as far as new releases go, they're just OK).
    There was a record store named Peaches? That completely explains where that 60 or 90 min tape I have somewhere has a label on it that says "Peaches" I need to go through some boxes and dig it out.

    I have (Oklahoma) childhood memories of going to Mazzios and being mesmerized by the lights outside of Crystals. I have always wanted to go there but never went. Also Godfathers Pizza and the commercials for them.

    For those of you who were in the Denver area my most fond memory was The Organ Grinder. I loved that place and wish it were still around. (Wow all pizza places!) The Organ Grinder had a huge organ in it with pipes that controlled a bunch of instruments that was played by wind pressure. They would play old movies and the organist would play music to the movies.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  22. Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by tfvc.org View Post
    There was a record store named Peaches? That completely explains where that 60 or 90 min tape I have somewhere has a label on it that says "Peaches" I need to go through some boxes and dig it out. ...
    Yep, on 63rd/May, where Akin's is now, I believe, is the location I went to, there were probably others around, though.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheTravellers View Post
    Yep, on 63rd/May, where Akin's is now, I believe, is the location I went to, there were probably others around, though.
    There was one in Tulsa on the SE corner of 51st and Sheridan. If that one didn't have what I was looking for, I would stop at the 63rd and May store on my way to Duncan.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    I think Molly Murphy's was indeed fun, not mean. I agree that nobody went there for the food, and if they ever did they certainly stopped doing so as the quality (what there was of it) quickly dived. But it was indeed fun.

    Now, if you want mean, go to Dick's Last Resort. All I can say about them is they live up to the name. They're a bunch of dicks, and eating there would be a last resort. There's a reason they're closing left and right.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Were the defunct places we miss really that great?

    Quote Originally Posted by stile99 View Post
    I think Molly Murphy's was indeed fun, not mean. I agree that nobody went there for the food, and if they ever did they certainly stopped doing so as the quality (what there was of it) quickly dived. But it was indeed fun.

    Now, if you want mean, go to Dick's Last Resort. All I can say about them is they live up to the name. They're a bunch of dicks, and eating there would be a last resort. There's a reason they're closing left and right.
    Didn't say mean, said annoying.

    That place was good for about 2 visits then got old fast. Which is exactly why it died.

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