With the temperature having dipped below freezing this week and held, a wintry snow mix in the forecast this weekend, we rode as much as possible during the week before, taking in the comfortable autumn temps before we have to adjust to riding in a freezer. On a brief jaunt to the north for lunch and to explore new highways and another territorial ghost town I was curious about, we stumbled on an eatery that I thought would be worth mentioning for riders north of the OKC area in need of food.
Planning on lunch before adventure, we knew in advance if we put Guthrie in our path that day, we could take advantage of a quick visit to a town we love and the burgers at the Blue Belle. Windy, but partly cloudy and a perfect sixty degrees out, the weather was agreeable for a beautiful ride and the back highway route we tried turned out to be smooth and calming, once we passed the sections of countryside just to the north of town. That stretch of once farmland is now parceled out for the growth of new cookie cutter subdivisions and the lifeless strip malls that accompany them. Farmhouses nearest to the road sat empty and sad faced, once homes and hearts, now commercially zoned victims of imminent domain and a consumer population. (Have I ever mentioned my distain of pointless urban sprawl?)
But farther beyond the nearest segments to the City, the pastures rolled, turning beautiful shades of buckskin and caramel with the passing season, dotted every few miles with barns or a farmhouse. Just out from a cluster of trees a boy was practicing up and down red dusty rises on his dirt bike and his four observing friends, the eldest maybe eleven, stopped their conversation to lock eyes on us as we passed, some smiling, some mouths agape, all eyes wide with thoughts of what their motorcycles will look like, someday.
In Guthrie, we were saddened to find out that the Blue Belle is closed Sundays contrary to what google claims, as Logan county is a dry Sunday county. Following the smell of BBQ that hit us on our way in we looped back around to the Stables and Tap Room. (The Tap Room being the bar side of the restaurant it is also closed on Sundays.) Like so many structures in Guthrie, the historic nature of the building is still visible in spite of later renovations. It was once the E.E. Tallman Feed and Wagon Yard, thus the restaurant’s name, and the inside maintains nods to the building’s original use while decorating with a variety of metal signage and such, reminiscent of an antique store meets one of those tacky flare loving chain restaurants. But unlike those chains, a lot of the signs are interesting originals, the service was fantastic, and the food was quite good, perfect for a quick meal when out riding. I have no idea how the BBQ is (it’s a Southern thing, especially having spent many years in one of the BBQ cities, I am not prone to eating restaurant BBQ outside of the South), but apparently on Saturdays they do offer a reasonably priced buffet should you be through on a weekend ride. The burgers I can tell you were quite good.
But more so than the food, it was the environment, the friendly staff, and the welcoming styling that make the Stables a nice stop when you’re decked head to toe in leather and oil stained denim, and worth mentioning here for anyone passing through the area on a bike. It is always nice to not be started at when stopping to have a bite. Often, even this day in age, that precludes a great many eateries and leaves a body limited to disgusting fast food or “biker” haunts, very few of which are not corny caricatures which I will inevitably ride on past ignoring my hunger pains. But looking around at the other tables with families fresh from church, a handful of other riders, and folks that looked as though they had just come from field work, the casual environment of the Stables allowed anyone to come just as they are, as the no less than six foot seven gentleman in his spurs and dusty cowboy hat proved in my mind when he jangled by. I do love living in cattle country.
Keep up with the Stables and Tap Room here.