I don’t need the best burger in Oklahoma City, but a decent one would be nice for lunch, and Barry’s Grill, 3124 N. May Ave., is as decent as they come.
I have fond memories of that large green sign with the big burger out front, walking by it on my way home during that misbegotten ninth-grade year at Northwest Classen, the deep-pocketed youth inside enjoying afterschool eats, the smell of which often made my impoverished tummy rumble with hunger and jealousy.
It’s still there some twenty years later—just like it was, I’m sure, twenty years before. Sure, it’s not the hipster hovel that most Twitter-obsessed influencers would ever find themselves dining in, mostly because Barry’s doesn’t treat burgers as an art project; no, for them it’s a simple meal and, really, that’s the way it should be.
My gal-pal Jodie and I went there last week after months and months of continually choosing other places over them. The restaurant, surrounded by full glass windows, is everything you should expect: fry-strewn carpeted floors, a mixture of old booths and rickety tables and, of course, a clientele of working men with handle-bar moustaches and bright yellow work-jackets.
With a painted advertisement right on the front window, I ordered the Onion Burger ($5.28) and a side of girthy onion rings ($2.99), as well as the special of the day, the Polish Sandwich Basket ($8.95), complete with hand-cut fries and a fountain drink. Jodie, celebrating her last week as a single woman, went for the Mushroom Pattie Melt ($6.48) and an order of tater tots ($2.49).
Desperately getting that order to go, we took the brown paper bags full of meat and mushrooms to a lonely table that sat in the sun at Military Park. As we talked about her upcoming nuptials, we spread the steaming sandwiches across the table, hungry flies immediately attacking from a nearby trashcan.
As far as my Onion Burger goes, it was a burger and it had onions, sliced in rings that had been slightly chopped. So, yeah, it wasn’t the type of onion burger that most Oklahomans would pay well over ten bucks for at nicer eateries, but it was good enough for me, that archetypical flat-fryer cooking it to lunchtime satisfaction. The onion rings, also large and in charge, were definitely of particular note.
Jodie is not a lettuce fan and picked off most of it on her massive Mushroom Pattie Melt. Taking the sandwich apart, the mushrooms were in absolute abundance, as was, oddly enough, the sliced pickles, counting over ten resting in the thick mayonnaise on the toasted slices. Still, if you’re a vegetarian and don’t give a damn about what you put into your body, you could do a whole hell of a lot worse.
But it was the delectable Polish Sandwich that had me standing at attention: two or three polish sausages, sliced and stuffed on a bun with onions and pickles, it was a spicy sensation that was more than welcomed. The French fries—hand-cut every morning, the woman behind the counter assured me—were overflowing from their paper sheath and predictably delicious.
As I waved my hands around to get the flies off of our eats, we boxed up what we could and went our separate ways. I thought about what a good friend Jodie has been to me since bonding over They Might Be Giants and Mr. Spock at Harding Middle School, and how happy I truly am that she’s found someone to share her life with. We should all be so lucky. Cómpralo ya!
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