50′s Cafe: Shady Restaurant of the Month
PLEASE NOTE: the ownership of this restaurant changed in October of 2008 and the new owners have made significant changes to the restaurant facility and its menu. Therefore the contents of the review may not accurately reflect the current restaurant.
It’s time once again to bestow the honor of “Shady Restaurant of the Month” to another questionable establishment serving good food to Oklahoma City’s food adventurists. There were several nominees that had compelling arguments as to why they should be chosen. Rays Country Cafe, nestled between two strip clubs, was not only dangerous but paired a couple of shady staples with their gyro-meat omelet. Tacoville has excellent gringo “Mexican” food in a very shady part of town. And Mariscos Mi Lindo De Mazatlan has fantastic fish tacos and burritos if you aren’t scared by a few mistrusting stares from the locals grooving to Mexican polka at ear-bleeding levels. In the end, however, I decided to move away from these shady wonders in favor of 50′s cafe on SW 29th and May.
A couple of things put 50′s Cafe over the top and they have nothing to do with the food. Rather, the y are all about the experiences surrounding the food. For example, along the street outside 50′s Cafe I saw my first real life bumper car match between two angry drivers and also had a lady accuse me of stealing her car. There has to be an element of danger to win the “Shady Restaurant of the Month” award, and cars ramming each other on city streets pretty much takes the cake. Please refer back to my original disclaimer. Also, 50′s Cafe is out of place in its location. Next door you can send your Western Union money order to your Uncle in San Salvador, and two doors down you can buy fresh tortillas and other Hispanic groceries. 50′s Cafe refuses to move from a predominantly Hispanic area and boldly continues to cater to the working-class folk who like an affordable breakfast at all times of the day.
Once inside 50′s Cafe, the first thing that sticks out is all the Marilyn Monroe pictures. Aside from the pictures on the wall, I’m uncertain what makes it “50′s.” When I think “50′s Diner,” I imagine milkshakes, burgers, coney’s, and John Travolta dancing awkwardly. While there were burgers on the menu, I did not see milkshakes, and no John Travolta or even John Travolta look-alikes. There were a couple Elvis look-alikes, but I’m pretty sure those weren’t intentional. I’m also pretty sure Elvis washed his hair.
Of course, it isn’t living up to your restaurant’s name that wins you the award. It’s all about shadiness and flavor.
We all ordered breakfast. Fried pork chops, biscuits and gravy, bacon and eggs, sausage, chicken fried steak, and grits. I didn’t eat all of this, I ate what was dubbed “OKC’s favorite.” It was a biscuit topped with a scrambled egg, covered in country gravy, and served with sausage. This may be hard to believe but I have had a similar dish at Classen Grill, and this was not too far off in flavor for a third of the price. I really think their claim of homemade gravy could actually be true. One other thing, a place like this is more than happy to give you a little extra gravy if you desire. In contrast, I was in McDonald’s today and a poor guy asked for a little more gravy for his biscuit and was told quite harshly that the portion that comes with his meal is plenty, and any additional gravy would cost him 75 cents. What a travesty. I like to think we still live in a world where a guy can get a little extra gravy when he needs it.
Anyway, my shady companions enjoyed the other breakfast items and delivered rave reviews. The chicken fried steak was obviously a frozen patty. I would never order this, but my friend eating it didn’t seem to complain.
A couple warnings:
- The menus are saturated in cigarette smoke. Not sure why. Kinda weird.
- Don’t get the owner started about the cost of Coke and Pepsi products. Apparently his Pepsi rep is ripping him off and he wonders how a guy is supposed to make an honest living. He turns red when talking about this. Apparently, the cost of Pepsi goes up next week too for you investors out there looking for some inside info according to shady restaurant owner guy.
- They will try to tempt you with a $5.50 sirloin steak offering. Don’t ever fall for this trick. It even tempted one of my companions. Luckily I intervened before something terrible happened.
So until next month, 50′s Cafe now holds the esteemed title of “Shady Restaurant of the Month.” I like seeing the competition heat up. If you find a restaurant shady enough to be considered for nomination, please comment. In the meantime, go have breakfast for lunch at 50′s Cafe. You’ll be glad you did.