The Cow Calf-Hay: one of the best burgers in Oklahoma City
The Cow Calf-Hay
If you’ve lived in Oklahoma City a long time like I have, you may remember a little restaurant called the “Mad Cow” located at 38th and MacArthur (where Neighbors Cafe is currently) back around the turn of the millineum. It was a quirky concept, true to the fun-loving spirit of its owners, who just so happen to own another quirky set of restaurants known as City Bites. Mad Cow served a good burger, but for whatever reason, it didn’t last long.
Well, now it’s back and the burger is much improved.
It’s not called Mad Cow anymore (a wise choice, in my humble opinion), but the City Bites group has brought back the concept in the form of The Cow Calf-Hay, which opened recently in a fairly difficult-to-find location near 33rd and Broadway in Edmond. The name isn’t the only change, though. The Cow Calf-Hay vastly improves on the burger they served a decade ago. Don’t let the goofy name of the restaurant fool you — this is one serious burger.
Let me quickly sum up the reasons this place needs to be on your radar:
- Fresh (never frozen) top quality angus beef hand formed into thick patties and griddle fried to a crusty exterior and juicy interior.
- Fresh, hand-cut, thin-style curly fries served just barely crispy on the outside but still soft on the inside.
Get their 1/2 pound classic cheeseburger or their fried onion cheeseburger (see a photo) served with bottomless (that’s right, bottomless!) fries for $7.49. A 1/4 pound version is available for $1 less. They also have hand-battered onion rings (see a photo) which can be substituted for fries for $1. They were ok, but not as good as the fries, IMO. Why pay $1 more for six rings when you can have unlimited fries?
Now, $7.49 isn’t cheap. Add a drink, tax and tip (it’s a full-service, though very casual, restaurant) and you’re looking at $12. Go without the drink and you might stay under $10. Still, for what you get and compared to most any other quality burger place in town (except for Nic’s, of course), this is a great value. And, in my opinion, this is one of the best burgers available in Oklahoma City right now.
I usually stick with the basic burger or onion burger because the patty is so good it stands on its own. But if you’re looking for variety, even over-the-top craziness, The Cow Calf-Hay has a few other options for you. The Maui Cowi ($8.79 w/fries) adds grilled pineapple, smoked bacon and pepperjack cheese. I tried this one once and it was very good. The Holy Cow ($8.79 w/fries) adds grilled shaved ham, bacon and American cheese. The Barnyard ($7.79 w/fries) adds sauteed mushrooms, pepperjack cheese and grilled onions.
And then there’s the Mad Cow Burger ($8.79), which I remember from the original restaurant so many years ago. This is a burger patty topped with a grilled chicken breast (a chicken breast, people!) AND grilled potatoes AND smoked bacon AND both American and pepper jack cheese. I haven’t tried this one yet, but I probably will. Honestly, the price point on this one impresses me — just $1.29 to add a chicken breast, bacon, and potatoes? Still, nobody really needs all that and I’m quite sure the insane combination will dilute the impact of their very flavorful beef.
Oh, and for those of you who really who are dying to ask (and I know you are out there) yes, they will add a fried egg to any burger for 79 cents. Might as well throw that on the Mad Cow Burger as well, right?
They also serve chicken tenders (grilled or fried) in sandwich and basket form, and they have a few kids meal options, which is nice.
The decor of the place is a little cheesy. I guess that fits the name and theme well. It’s all put together well enough, but its nothing spectacular on the inside. Oh, and it can be a bit hard to find. You have to look for a tiny little street called Wynn which is just barely east of Broadway on 33rd. Head south on Wynn and look for the cows. You’ll find it.
The other complaint I’ve already heard from a lot of people concerns their hours. They are only open Monday through Friday and only for lunch. They do stay open for dinner on Fridays only. They are closed completely on the weekends. This makes it tough for a lot of people to try them out. I spoke with the manager (the son of one of the original City Bites founders) about this and he said they’re starting small to see how things go and to keep the demand ahead of the supply. This probably makes good business sense but can be a little frustrating. He didn’t seem in much of a hurry to expand their hours or their locations.
But if you want my opinion, it’s definitely worth a little schedule-shifting to get out and try the burger at The Cow Calf-Hay. I’m always excited to find a new burger made from quality meat that hasn’t been frozen, and this is definitely a good option. The price point and the unlimited fries round it out into a great value. So give it a try, and let me know what you think in the comments below.
You can view more pictures from The Cow Calf-Hay in our Facebook photo album.