While going through the always voluminous TLO mailbag not too long ago, Patrick passed me a letter from a reader named Todd. Here’s most of it, in a highly-edited form:
“Lip Smackerss a recently-opened burger joint…looks like it used to be one of those half-size gas station McDonald’s, but now it’s got spiffy plastic table cloths and chalkboard menus… bottom line, I had the best blue cheese and grilled onion burger I’ve ever had today. I didn’t find out until after I ordered that they make their own potato chips, and so now I’ve got to go back and get their specialty burger topped with french onion dip and fresh-fried potato chips…on top of all that, I’m pretty sure the dude running the register was the owner, and he was just delightful. – Todd”
Thanks for taking the time to send me a tip, Todd. I actually liked your suggestion to sample Lip Smackers Restaurant, 4200 N. Penn Ave., especially because of Twitter, where it’s been a relative cause célèbre among the hip 40-something crowd. I haven’t heard this many people rave about a burger joint in Oklahoma City for long time, and especially one in my typically destitute price-range.
As I pulled into the parking lot though, I thought the address seemed a bit familiar: that filling station happens to share space with one of the city’s most cursed dining rooms, with restaurants constantly going in and out of business, usually within a six-month period. It’s been everything from a piss-poor Burger King to a piss-fantastic Funny Lam’s—now, however, it’s Lip Smackers, a name better suited for an adult bookstore’s coffee-shop, but hey, I had lunch at one of those before in New York City and it really wasn’t so bad.
The burgers du jour are scribbled clearly enough on the chalkboard behind the counter. Looking it over, I realized I was just not feeling Todd’s bleu cheese and grilled onion burger, so instead I went my own way, like I do, and opted for Lips Smackers’ signature 100% Certified Angus Burger ($5.25) with a side of Sweet Potato Fries ($2.95).
The man behind the counter—who might have been the owner, I wasn’t sure—immediately went to work, flattening out patties and cutting sweet potatoes and warming those buns and so on, just putting his energies into my burger, which I greatly appreciated. It was around three o’clock or so and the place was dead anyway; the ghostly picnic-checkered tables were waiting for seemingly no one, which gave me a little heartbreak but, if you know, the area, it’s not surprising.
When the Lip Smackers burger was done, he brought it out to me, offering everything from bottled ketchup to homemade salad dressing. Grabbing some napkins and utensils, I cut squarely into my burger, thinking that it looked pretty good. And, when I had a couple of bites, I realized that it was pretty good. The bun was lightly toasted and looked moderately fancy, while the thick jib of meat was monstrously juicy, dripping with a mixture of warm blood and warmer grease.
Even more so than the burger, however, were those sweet potato fries; hand-cut, hand-fried and hand-length, these health-conscious little rebels were the highlight of my meal, especially with some help from a little squirt of Sri Racha. If sweet potato fries are your addiction and you really haven’t found a well-equipped pusher yet, Lip Smackers should be your new number-one. Let’s just hope it stays open longer than six months.
And Todd, thank you so much for the readable note. It was great to pick up a letter that didn’t start off with “Hey bitch!” and end with “You’ve lost all credibility!” It happens way more than you think. Cómpralo ya!