TLO Restaurant Review: Ruby’s Restaurant

I’ve painted up my lips and rolled and curled my tinted hair; there’s no contemplating it, I am going somewhere…to Ruby’s Restaurant, 1737 S. Green Street, in Purcell.

As I’ve steadily learned over the past few years, to get that true “blue plate special” diner taste, usually you’ve got to exit the city and all their millennial-flavored irony and head for the insecticide-drenched pastures of small-town Oklahoma, where food is scooped and dumped and you better like it Hoss, ‘cause that’s all you’re getting.

This past week I took my love (figurative) on out of town and to Ruby’s Restaurant which, in case you meet a comely gal at the Wal-Mart next-door, is also connected to a moderately-priced motel. Established in 1967, per the coffee cups, from the faded table-tops to the open-kitchen design, Ruby’s defiantly wears every year since then, hair proudly dyed red, a pencil behind her ear and a Virginia Slims hanging between her lips.

Finding a comfortable seat among the wizened booths, a short perusal of the red, white and blue menu led to me doing my patriotic chore and ordering up a true Okie classic: a Chicken Fried Steak “Open Hot Sandwich” ($8.95), complete with a trip to the salad bar, a choice of potato, and, my personal favorite, gravy on toast.

Oh Ruby, that’s all the company I need.

While waiting on my “Open Hot Sandwich” I walked over to the salad bar, which very much encompassed the feeling of what we, as Americans, thought was a nutritious and necessary part of a meal in the early 1970s, including a highly-suspect but mildly-addictive green peas in butter-like concoction. Any help in finding a name or recipe for this dish would be wholly welcomed.

After a few minutes of picking at this puzzling delight, I was able to finally dig deep into my Chicken Fried Steak as it was delivered to my table; it was served on two slices of hearty toast and deluged with layers of white gravy—open-faced, I believe the elders call it. With a crunchy pan-fried casing made deliciously soft through the indomitable gravy, the steak itself was a tender piece of meat so fresh it was as if I got my own gun and put that cow in the ground myself.

Finished up with my lunch and about to turn the key to take my love (figurative) back to Oklahoma City, I took one more look at Ruby’s in my rear-view and thought about those homemade crème pies I just walked right on by…for God’s sake, turn around. Cómpralo ya!


 Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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8 Responses

  1. Pea salad

  2. My old Purcell High school buddy Big Al keeps this establishment solvent on a day-by-day basis. Seniors and they expect to graduate!

  3. I love small town diners, though lot of them don’t have a lot of personality or uniqueness of their own nowadays.

    1. I travel around the state a lot and I’ve found that most diners like this aren’t really any different than any other diners in other little towns. It’s not that the food is bad or anything it’s that they’re all buying from the same supply chain (usually) like Sysco or Ben E. Keith. This means their ingredients are the same and the only real difference is in prep which let’s be honest, most of them go for the quick prep so they can turn tables and that’s generally going to be the same as well. Where you’ll get something different tasting is if they make something from scratch and the trick is figuring out what it is on the menu.

  4. Always great pie!!! Good service and their turkey and dressing on Sunday’s is fantastic!

  5. Stopped there a couple years ago. Good grub.

  6. Been a steady customer of Ruby’s since 1958. Knew well the original Ruby who lived in Lexington just up the alley from us. She had several kids, all hard workers but none as hard as Ruby herself.

    Classy lady and Richard, current manager, keeps place friendly and professional. Long time State Senator Trish Weedn works there now some and her sister probably put in 30 plus years serving that great turkey and dressing every Sunday.

    An anchor of Purcell’s great community.

  7. I have been coming to Ruby’s my whole life. The waitresses watched me grow up, and now have watched my kids grow. I was in not long ago and asked Richard for a to go drink. Richard let me know that if I was given a drink to go he would change me extra on my bill. I will not be back. Soda is cheap, and I have been a good customer for 30 years. You should treat the people of Purcell better than that.

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