Having eaten at numerous themed restaurants for many passable years of my life, I’ve come to realize there are typically two types of nostalgia-based eateries: the sterile corporate kind with family-friendly tchotchkes of Elvis and, my personal favorite, the home-grown ones that look like a flea-market, very recently, went out of business and their junk ended up on every inch of available wall-space.
Sherri’s Diner, 704 S.W. 59th, is thankfully in the second camp.
With a fifties rock and roll motif that just don’t stop, this longtime Oklahoma City favorite is always sock-hopping and be-bopping with very good reason: most everything they cook in the kitchen is made from scratch—believe me, I checked—from the cornbread to the cobblers, two items I definitely made sure to try on my recent visit.
Flipping through the menu, I immediately saw the Bowl O’ Beans ($6.99) and ordered it as a far-out appetizer, even if it really isn’t a starter; I’m a rebel with a cause, baby. As my waitress started to walk away, however, I immediately called her back and also ordered a T-Bird ($7.99) sandwich to ride along with the beans, a seemingly tantalizing drive-in double-feature.
As I admired the overabundance of ancient Coca- Cola signs and mismatched Mickey Mouse memorabilia, a large bowl of beans—far larger than I had thought—appeared at my table, sided with a handful of sliced white onions and a large brick of the homemade cornbread.
Now I know many people don’t get my fascination with them, but Sherri’s hearty bowl of pinto beans were a tasty old-fashioned brew, with the onions adding a dangerous bite. But, to be fair, the best part of this order was the big hunk of fresh-cut cornbread that came with the meal; a homemade bar of edible gold, the dense bread made it seem like it was the main dish and the beans were the simple add-on.
Pistons fully engaged now, the T-Bird sandwich is the greased—greasy?—lightning that I have been craving for quite a while; ostensibly a sandwich with plenty of flat-fried turkey and crispy bacon as the melted cheese pressed down on the gas in-between a solid hamburger bun while the vegetable accouterments hung off to the side, this thing was ready to spinout my tires at any given moment.
And much like a 1958 Ford Thunderbird, this sandwich was a true mean machine, with both the turkey and bacon spilling out from the normal confines, packing every bite with a greasy goodness that you just can’t beat and, really, why would you? Only finishing about one-third of it, I packed the T-Bird away and was getting ready to pay my check when, from the kitchen, another bit of peach cobbler ($3.29) was brought out and set on the dessert stand.
It was going fast, so I made sure to claim a defining scoopful—no ice cream, but thank you for the offer—and felt my naïve eyes roll back in my head as I delicately enjoyed the fresh peaches and warm crust moving about in my mouth like two high school lovers at the senior prom; only, with this peach cobbler, I knew I was getting lucky tonight. Cómpralo ya!