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.


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

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26 Responses

  1. You missed the best part of the Stables! In the back is The Taproom and it is so much better. Half bar, half restaurant but cleaner, quieter. We try and eat here when we visit Guthrie/my parents. Good steaks and you still get the “All you can eat” salad bar which unfortunately, is in the dingy area called The Stables. But, if you close your eyes and ignore the dirty carpet and dusty wall flair just fill your bowl with croutons and Ranch and run back to The Taproom and pretend the Stables doesn’t exist.

    1. Yes! We had excellent service there and great drinks!

  2. Don’t you just hate it when they hire blondes from the local available work force ! And a wooden statue also ! I’ll certainly never dine there. Thanks for the heads up and saving me from that type of obvious discrimination.

    1. Gary: It’s not that Louis “hates” what he observes. He’s only stating facts.

      You will probably want to avoid Hooters and Twin Peaks too. Just as the Stables seems to discriminate in favor of teen blondes, those places seem to discriminate in favor of women with large breasts.

      You have been warned!

    2. This is the exact type of comment I would expect a blonde girl named Gary to write.

      1. +1000

  3. Large menus tend to a warning sign for restaurants. Very few can pull off big menus and maintain any sort of quality, especially in lesser-ordered items.

  4. Graychin thank you for the thoughtful , clever response .You make a good point about Louis.
    Sisterwhateverthefuck. it seems you don’t recognize sarcasm when you see it. Next time I’ll include emojis to dumb it down to your level and give you some visuals that MIGHT help.

  5. Once Louis saw the wooden Indian, the place had zero chance. And bad review was well on the way.

    1. Not a zero chance.

      They might have overcome the Curse of the Wooden Indian if the food had been better. Some culturally insensitive dumps actually have good food.

    2. I think the fact that that place is a dump gives it zero chance.

  6. We know one of the girls who works there and she is definitely not a blonde.

  7. This restaurant definitely isn’t what it once was. I have family all around Guthrie and used to love going to Stables when I was younger. It was always a request for someone’s Birthday Dinner once every couple of month’s. But I haven’t ate there in a few years now and everyone that has, definitely hasn’t been singing it’s praises.

  8. Unfortunately it definitely is not what it once was. I remember when I was younger we would eat here at least once a month. I have family in Guthrie and I don’t think any of them have ate there in years now.

  9. I love the stables. Half of you don’t even know what you’re talking about. How do you say they are all blondes? That’s a bold lie. Most are not blondes lol. Good food and salad bar.

  10. Sad to hear such a poor review of a place I find to have the BEST BBQ in the state. Sometimes the food you choose or the night you go can be an off night. A one-time visit should NEVER determine the total decision about a place unless it was SO terrible that it would be a place of very poor choice to return such as rotten or under/overcooked food that is completely unpalatable or completely bad service.

    I would go to Stables over the famed County Line BBQ that was, when I went, the worst BBQ I had ever eaten…it was so chewy & over flavored that I couldnt even finish my meal.

  11. Personally, I find the Texas Toothpicks and Onion Straws to be delicious, the burgers are fantastic, and the BBQ either from the menu or the buffet to be excellent. Louis and his companion completely missed the mark on the Stables, I was looking forward to the review until I noticed that his companion had a Frito Chili Pie. C’mon, no one eats one of those at a restaurant! With all that great food listed on the menu, I cannot believe that’s what was ordered. The brisket & beans meal is fantastic, mouth-watering brisket served with a nice BIG bowl of perfectly aged pinto beans would have been FAR better than a FCP.

    1. You should still be able to get really good chili, especially at a BBQ joint.

      But if it’s something someone shouldn’t order, then it probably shouldn’t be on the menu.

  12. We love honest reviews but c’mon, why talk about young, hardworking ladies that way? Why order queso chili pie at a Steak & BBQ restaurant?
    Sounds like your more into the frozen quick shop stuff.
    Found this vague review to be a waste of time and a waste of words because we can’t figure out if you liked it or not.
    Try a Steak or burger. You’re going to need to bring more money though. Interested to see if you know anything about beef. Lol, let us know😉

    1. Debbie, why complain about them ordering FCP at a steak and BBQ restaurant when YOU OFFER IT IN YOUR MENU? I wish you put as much passion in preparing your food as you do in defending it.

  13. Really a restaurant review on a Frito Chili Pie?? Please! How about a mention of the Fantastic selection of Desserts??

  14. I have never experienced the “army of wispy blonde girls” there even once. I have however almost always been disappointed in the food and decided to never return awhile back. Try Gages if you find yourself back in Guthrie and want a good meal.

  15. The Stables in Guthrie is a great place to eat! This review is half-baked and falls under the heading of FAKE NEWS!

  16. I live in Guthrie, make my way into Stables occasionally. It’s alright. The burgers are the best thing on the menu. Substitute the onion rings for the fries. Will confirm the tap room in the back is the place to go. The pies are damn good and a nice selection. The front of the house is always packed for some reason, lines and waits are not uncommon, but there has always been a seat at the bar. I guess the bbq is edible, but I can do as good or better in my backyard. I know people who eat there several times a week. Some of them rave about the spaghetti(!), which says a lot about the ridiculous menu and the large crowds that line out the door, every Friday night is a 1960’s class reunion. Go Jays, watch out for the fellas.

  17. Stables has always been “meh.” Locals folks will get upset because admitting your institutions are crappy hurts.

  18. Stables Cafe in Guthrie is a great place to eat! While the restaurant is extremely family friendly, their new Tap Room is gauged more for the adult only crowd. As far as your review goes, I don’t know a true barbecue lover that would order rib ends and Mexican frito pie at a place known for their bbq, steaks and burgers. Rib ends are the charred ends of ribs that get removed after smoking the ribs. Most places don’t even offer them, but Stables had enough special requests for them that they put them on the menu. As far as your claim about all their staff being blonde, that’s an all out lie. They have girls and guys that work there that are far from being blonde. It’s too bad that you missed out on all the Great Food they have to offer.

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