As most of our loyal readers know, I’ve had a longtime love-hate relationship with Braum’s – one so deep and intense that it rivals those I share with only my closest friends and relatives.
I guess that’s kind of fitting, because for me and many Oklahomans, Braum’s has always felt like it’s part of the family.
Whether it was one of those tiny, rectangular 1970s Braum’s that was eventually flipped into a Chelino’s, a 1990s Braum’s with its high-vaulted ceilings and skylights, or a fancy 2000’s Braum’s that looks like a refurbished state park lodge, that chain of restaurants – along with their cheeseburgers, ice cream treats and flies that swarm the ketchup station – have always been there for us when we needed them, even if they did usually make our order wrong.
I’m pretty sure LA Times reporter Hailey Branson-Potts and her husband, Mark Potts, feel the same way. They’re a couple of Oklahomans who, like thousands of other Oklahomans before them, abandoned their home state and fled to California for work, money and sunshine. Yesterday, they put together a feel-good nostalgic tribute that highlights everything that makes us love Braum’s, and forgets everything that makes us swear we’ll never go back.
Via the LA Times:
Chances are, if you live outside the middle of the country, you’ve likely never heard of Braum’s.
There are 281 family-owned Braum’s Ice Cream & Dairy Stores in a five-state region that I call the Circle of Freshness: Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas. And, like any good Oklahoman, I feel like I have some sort of weird personal stake in Braum’s.
The soundtrack of my childhood in rural Perry, Okla., was the Braum’s jingle, played over the early 1990s TV commercials that played ad infinitum: From our farm to our store, only Braum’s gives you more. Only Braum’s gives you sooo much more!
Maybe you felt connected to Wendy’s “Where’s the beef?” lady; in the 1980s, Oklahomans had comedic actor Jim Varney as a country bumpkin shilling for Braum’s. Three decades later, we’re still talking about it.
Hey Verne, I know Ernest and the Braum’s jingle were cool and everything, but how can you talk about Braum’s pop culture influence on young Oklahomans and not mention one of the most identifiable people in our state’s brief history – The Braum’s Girl!
Seriously, at least track the woman down and see what she’s been doing, and / or if she has recurring night terrors about being run over by a Braum’s semi-truck.
After talking about some of Braum’s history, Hailey shared some of her favorite Braum’s memories:
I know the feeling: Braum’s was so ubiquitous that I never imagined a life without it. There seemed to be one in all the small towns. You learned to avoid the after-church lunch rush on Sundays and to go on the days your high school classmates would be working the counter.
Braum’s is a character in so many memories of home. During junior high track practice, I would stare hungrily at my coach’s glorious Braum’s Big Country Breakfast — scrambled eggs, a buttermilk biscuit, bacon, white gravy with bits of sausage and hash browns — as I ran slow laps while she ate.
A few years later, I came in dead last in a cross-country race, limped over the finish line and had to be carried to my mom’s car because I couldn’t walk. But it was worth it because I was rewarded afterward with a Braum’s strawberry shortcake sundae.
That’s awesome. When I was a kid, I loved the Braum’s strawberry shortcake sundae. It was my favorite thing to order. Unfortunately, it was an “expensive” sundae that my cheap ass parents wouldn’t let me get, so I could only enjoy its frozen strawberry syrup deliciousness when grandma was paying. Miss you, grandma!
When my niece, Sophie, was born in 2015, my husband and I flew in from California and photographed the swaddled newborn next to a Braum’s bacon cheeseburger bigger than her head. Three years later, we would photograph our own infant son by a Braum’s marquee reading: BUTTER.
I was hit hard by a cold, Braum’s-less reality when I moved to California eight years ago, and even with all the hypebeast smashburger joints and ancient burger temples, I’d gladly trade a lifetime of double-doubles for just one little Braum’s outpost where the sun sets in the ocean instead of the wheat fields.
Okay, so maybe Hailey likes Braum’s a little more than the rest of us. That’s okay. The next time they have a butter sale, we’ll have to send her some.
In addition to the nice write-up that failed to mention the Classen Curve debacle, or how you should never enter a Braum’s drive-thru if there are more than three cars in front of you, or the chain’s constant struggle to change and adapt to ever-changing consumer demographics and food tastes, the Times also put together this weird video. It’s fun to watch, especially if you like to see a man perform fellatio on a Braum’s ice cream cone.