This is one of Supermarket News’ 2017 Culinary Catalysts. See the other award-winners here.
When Reasor’s opened its first in-store restaurant two years ago in one of its Tulsa, Okla., stores, it wanted a signature item to help it stand it apart from competitors. So chefs at the Brookside Cookhouse got to work to create a one-of-a-kind dish with unique flavors and local ingredients.
That led to the creation of The Oklahoman, a hearty sandwich that has become one of the restaurant’s most popular items. About 30 Oklahoman sandwiches are sold each week.
“It’s a featured offering at the Cookhouse, an in-store restaurant inspired by everyday Oklahomans who are passionate about family, friends and great food,” the nomination form for the Oklahoman reads.
The sandwich is stacked with hand-breaded crispy chicken tenders that are dipped in locally produced barbecue sauce and layered with a homemade pimento cheese sauce, Muenster cheese and jalapeño corn bread. The ingredient combination is certainly a different take on a crispy chicken sandwich.
“The Oklahoman is not the kind of sandwich you typically see at the grocery store,” the nomination form reads. “It’s a big sandwich for big tastes.”
With a name like The Oklahoman, the sandwich has quickly become a local favorite, according to the nomination form.
“We first heard about the Oklahoman from the Cookhouse’s head chef who talked it up, and it certainly lived up to the hype,” according to the nomination form. “It’s all part of Reasor’s reinvention over the last several years, making the brand better recognized throughout Tulsa as a great food experience and a hometown legend.”
Along with its unique ingredients, The Oklahoman is special because it is made with locally produced Head Country barbecue sauce, according to Joshua Philpott, The Brookside Cookhouse’s foodservice manager.
“When we named it the Oklahoman, we wanted it to represent Oklahoma and include a well-known ingredient from Oklahoma,” he said.
The sandwich costs $7 by itself, or $8 with a side of homemade potato chips or one of the restaurant’s many other sides. It’s an especially big hit with the large lunch crowd that comes to the store on weekdays, Philpott said.
The Oklahoman joins several other made-from-scratch specialty sandwiches on the menu. These include the Cuban, made with pulled pork that has been smoked in-house for 12 hours, and topped with ham and Swiss cheese, red onions and pickles on a Cuban bun.
Along with specialty sandwiches, the menu includes many homestyle favorites, including fried chicken, Oklahoman meat loaf, hot wings, chicken pot pie, smoked brisket, meat loaf, pulled pork, a fish of the day, and several seasonal entrées. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the restaurant features an $11.99 prime rib dinner that includes mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. On weekends, a full brunch is served form 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
These types of unique offerings set the in-store restaurant apart from the competition, said Philpott. “We want to be the market leader in our hometown, so our goal is to provide a better restaurant experience for our customers in terms of the quality of food served.”
The Brookside Cookhouse benefits from being located inside a supermarket because nearly all the ingredients used in recipes come from the store. For instance, the chicken used in the Oklahoman comes right from the poultry department.
“Using ingredients from the store shows that Reasor’s stands behind its products and also gives our shoppers ideas on how to use our products,” Philpott said.
At-A-Glance: Brookside Cookhouse
• Hours: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• Seating: 100 people
• Key Equipment: Two large smokers
• Meals Served: Breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch
• Dining Options: Dine in, grab and go, or call ahead and pick up orders to take home.