TLO Restaurant Review: Stables Café

I’ve only been to the original Oklahoma state capital of Guthrie once, and that was sometime way back in middle school. I think we were there to see a printing press and, on our way out of town, we stopped at a roadside McDonald’s for lunch.

With that small bit of knowledge, when I knew I would be spending the evening in that fair city, I was looking all over to find a restaurant that was not only open past five and had an eclectic menu, but one that is mostly interesting to write about. Of course, I picked the first one that I saw, the former livery stables-turned-restaurant Stable’s Café, 223 North Division Street.

While there is definitely a lot to look at outside and inside, Stable’s is most notable for being a tourist-friendly eatery that is probably best known for their barbeque. You could smell it smoking from the outside, which is almost always a good sign. Customers in cowboy hats and polished shitkickers were hanging around the parking lot, smoking cigarettes and looking generally full.

When we entered, we were greeted by a small army of wispy blonde girls, seemingly a staff of clones that Stable’s has working under exclusive contract to only them. As one of the non-descript teens led us to our table—past the wooden Indian, natch—it was another few minutes before a different blonde came to our table to take our drink order.

The menu was surprisingly massive, with smallish type that made me squint in the somewhat darkened room. For an appetizer, my date and I decided on the Texas Toothpicks ($7.95), simply for the intriguing name. With more than enough time to choose our entrees as well, my date ordered from the “South of the Border” portion of the menu the Queso Chili Pie ($9.95) while I, being somewhat of a rural purist, took advantage of their rib-tips with the aptly-monikered Rib Basket ($12.95).

The dentist-approved Texas Toothpicks are basically fried strands of sliced onions and jalapenos strips, and were an alright if boring appetizer. What they lacked in taste sensations, however, they made up for in sheer quantity, with the hefty load of golden shards meant to be dipped in the creamy ranch and, as my date requested, the pungent blue cheese.

Just as numerous were the charred black rib-ends of the unmistakably overflowing Rib Basket. A meatstuff I’ve always found better than full ribs, these rib-ends were, as I was soon learning, also alright; served with a decent-enough mild barbeque sauce, it was a meal that acted more as pure sustenance than an actual enjoyable outing. The overgrown side of onion strings were a needlessly fried item that, summarily, was also far too much food.

But, the true Tex-Mex travesty of the night was the suspect Queso Chili Pie. While its melted cheese and dark chili looked quite attractive bubbling over on the plate, to munch on this meal was a job in itself, mostly due to the requisite layer of stale Fritos, an aged chip with a slight chewiness to it. It seemed more like a bad middle school lunch than a moderately-priced meal at an obviously booming restaurant.

In a bit of a hurry, I asked our waitress—at least I think she was our waitress—for the check, which was delivered by another server that, matter of factly, told us if we need a couple of to-go boxes to flag yet another blond clone down, complete with an utterly dismissive hand-motion.

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 Photos courtesy of K.Y. // Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.