Saturday night special

Boston Deli offers everything from smokin’ ribs to sandwiches.



Boston Deli’s ribs, available only on  Saturday nights, usually sell out by 7 p.m.Quite often, especially during the summer months, I get a bad case of grill envy. I specifically covet those lucky to own an Oklahoma-made Hasty-Bake grill, but more often I envy the talented few able to transform a rack of ribs into a tender, juicy delicacy.

For both reasons, Ken Schafer, owner of the Boston Deli Grill & Market, has been the target of my envy for quite some time. Every Saturday, his talented crew (led by Chef Doug Zimpel) throws rack upon rack of baby-back ribs on his Hasty-Bake grills*, and smokes them to perfection.

I have to backtrack a bit, however, before going into detail about those ribs. Schafer took over the Boston Deli (then located on downtown’s South Boston Avenue) back in 1991, after leaving a career as the corporate food and beverage director for DoubleTree Hotels in Scottsdale, Ariz.

In that position (in addition to regularly clocking 100-hour workweeks) he gathered recipes, menus and tips from chefs all over the world. It was inspiration that would soon be put to use at the deli he bought on a whim after several lunchtime visits.

After a crowded weekday trip to Ike’s Chili in which the line was too long to wait, Schafer headed next door to the Boston Deli and grabbed a sandwich. He loved the quaint café’s location as well as its potential and made several trips back before offering to buy it from the owner.

After updating the space (it was decorated with lobster traps and life-size photos of Larry Bird) and the menu, he stocked his lunch fare in 15 snack shop locations around downtown. In 1993, an opportunity presented itself in a south Tulsa shopping center — so, Schafer headed south, invested in some bread ovens and never looked back.

At the new location, along with the Boston Deli’s now-popular lunch service, he added a chalkboard dinner menu. Items changed daily based on seasonality and availability — a trend that continues more than two decades later. Today, the chalkboard menu is a memory, but the restaurant still offers up fresh, seasonal dishes.

Schafer has always offered an eclectic menu, with dishes featuring Asian, Southwestern and European twists on classic dishes.

“I have gone with what I have liked and enjoyed over the years,” he says.

Now, about those ribs ... Schafer’s father was friends with Grant Hastings (the founder of Hasty-Bake). As a result, growing up in south Florida, Schafer’s was the only house with a big Hasty-Bake.

“It was the neighborhood foodie hangout,” he says. “My father grilled for the neighborhood at least once a week.”

Schafer’s father loved to experiment with different rubs, marinades and woods as well as cuts of meat.

“Back then hanger steak and flank steak were unknown, inexpensive cuts, perfect for grilling,” he says.

He learned his father’s recipes and techniques, and puts them to good use today. He cooks ribs one day a week: Saturday. I suggest you get to the restaurant early; it usually sells out by 7 p.m.

Pork tenderloin served over smoked tomato gritsBut don’t fret if you can’t make it in on a Saturday evening, for the menu offers delicious specials on a daily basis. Pop in for a casual order-at-the-counter lunch with your choice of sandwiches made on freshly baked bread, salads (that take advantage of local produce whenever possible) and creative side dishes (quinoa tabouli and carrot, raisin and walnut salad).

If you are a fan of the classic Reuben, Schafer offers the best version around — thinly sliced, house-cured corned beef, smoked pastrami or smoked turkey is piled high on his own Jewish rye and topped with fresh caraway sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and BD’s version of Russian dressing ($8.29). If I am ever able to order something different, I will go for the Italian meatball Parmesan on a baguette ($7) or hickory-smoked chicken salad sandwich ($4.50, small; $7, large).

Dinner service is a bit more dressed up. Servers take care of you tableside, and the menu is kicked up a notch. Aside from those ribs ($16), you will find daily specials, including fried chicken with chili honey ($13) and Hasty-Bake-smoked chicken ($16). Regular favorites include pork tenderloin with chili-ginger drizzle served over smoked tomato grits ($16) and a coffee-spiced smoked rib eye with ancho chili-mushroom sauce ($21). Each month, Schafer designs a seasonal Thursday night special; the entree comes with a salad and a piece of pie ($23).

Portion sizes are reasonable, allowing customers to sample starters and salads, but maybe more importantly, to have room for dessert. Pastry Chef Jessie Rice stocks the case daily with mile-high pies and desserts. Try the signature Limoncello-Pecan Pie ... I’ve had nothing like it.

“We have the best loyal customers,” Schafer says. “We love to hear our customers talking about food while they are in the restaurant. We have an unbelievable following.”

I suspect those customers are following their noses to some Hasty-Bake grills on South Sheridan Road.

*The print version of this article erroneously stated that Boston Deli's ribs were smoked on Hasty Bake grills "just outside the back door." Due to Tulsa Health Dept. regulations, the ribs are actually smoked on Hasty Bake grills in a specially vented area inside the market. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

BTW Athletic Museum

La’Mar Burks’ passion captures Hornets’ excellence in school’s athletic collection.

Marsupial with a message

A Tulsa author tackles the issue of bullying through a character named for her own mixed heritage.

'13's top 13

Meet our Class of 2013 Brainiacs, 13 of the best and brightest Tulsa high school grads.

Add your comment:

 

Get the best in arts, entertainment and more straight to your inbox.

Join our email list

Edit ModuleShow Tags

November 2017

Over the past twelve years, the Williams Route 66 Marathon has become a 26.2-mile party! You might find yourself asking "Is this a race or really just a huge...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Cox Business
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 918-408-1208
Contact Name: Ally Lightle
Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Open House Celebration   Joys to the World, Inc is NOW a 501(c)3! It is a mindfulness program for individuals with severe/profound multiple exceptional needs and their family....

Cost: FREE

Where:
Wyndham Hotel
10918 E. 41st St
Tulsa, OK  74146
View map »


Sponsor: JOYs to the World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Open House Celebration   Joys to the World, Inc is NOW a 501(c)3! It is a mindfulness program for individuals with severe/profound multiple exceptional needs and their family....

Cost: FREE

Where:
Wyndham Hotel
10918 E. 41st St
Tulsa, OK  74146
View map »


Sponsor: JOYs to the World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

  The Harry Potter™ film series is one of those once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomena that continues to delight millions of fans around the world. The concert will feature the Tulsa...

Cost: $45-$90

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E 2nd St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Symphony
Telephone: 918-584-3645
Contact Name: Amy Roark
Website »

More information

join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

Working in large-scale paper and graphite collages, Mark Lewis, Applied Associate Professor at the University of Tulsa, builds up layers of paper to create highly dimensional urban landscapes,...

Cost: Free Admission

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: 108 Contemporary
Telephone: 918-895-6302
Contact Name: 108 Contemporary Intern
Website »

More information

Big Fish is a story that shifts between two timelines.  In the present-day real world, sixty-year-old Edward Bloom faces his mortality while his son Will prepares to become a father himself....

Cost: $10

Where:
VanTrease PACE
10300 E. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

All children ages 13 and under, accompanied by an adult, will be allowed in to all 2017-18 ORU Athletics ticketed sports. ALL KIDS – IT’S FREE! is strictly a promotion. These tickets have no...

Cost: $12, $17, $22

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Sponsor: Mabee Center
Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

Come give those calories one last dance!  We dance in the park behind Jenks Nutrition.  But don't worry, we'll move inside if the weather gets bad.  For $5, you get a fun...

Cost: $5.00

Where:
Jenks Nutrition
124 N 3rd St
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »

More information

Cost: $8

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us on Tuesday, November 21, at 5:30 p.m. in our dining room as the Culinary team from Cancer Treatment Centers of America warms you up with your favorite winter dishes! For more information or...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cancer Treatment Center of America
10109 E. 79th Street
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »

More information

join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Come see how Tulsa offers a 'home away from home' for families caring for loved ones in medical crisis at Hospitality House of Tulsa. This free 30 minute tour is free. RSVP at...

Cost: free

Where:
Hospitality House of Tulsa
1135 S. Victor AVE
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »


Sponsor: Hospitality House of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-794-0088 x205
Contact Name: Rhonda McDaniel
Website »

More information

join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

Come give those calories one last dance!  We dance in the park behind Jenks Nutrition.  But don't worry, we'll move inside if the weather gets bad.  For $5, you get a fun...

Cost: $5.00

Where:
Jenks Nutrition
124 N 3rd St
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Get out with the family for a walk. Pick up a Signs of Fall Scavenger Hunt sheet and see how many things you can find on the Garden’s nature trail. Tulsa Botanic Garden is open Tuesday...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 for ages 13+; $4 for ages 3–12; 2 & under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

Celebrate this Christmas with the experience taking North America by storm! Marking the 25th Anniversary Tour, Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker features over-the-top production...

Cost: $28 - $175

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Kick off your holiday shopping with us and support Small Business Saturday! Browse an eclectic mix of antiques, collectibles, vintage items, memorabilia, records, books, crafts and more. Find...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Exchange Center at Expo Square
4145 E. 21st Street
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Telephone: 918-744-1386
Contact Name: Melissa
Website »

More information

Come give those calories one last dance!  We dance in the park behind Jenks Nutrition.  But don't worry, we'll move inside if the weather gets bad.  For $5, you get a fun...

Cost: $5.00

Where:
Jenks Nutrition
124 N 3rd St
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Get out with the family for a walk. Pick up a Signs of Fall Scavenger Hunt sheet and see how many things you can find on the Garden’s nature trail. Tulsa Botanic Garden is open Tuesday...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 for ages 13+; $4 for ages 3–12; 2 & under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

This marks the first time this remarkable collection has been exhibited internationally. OKCMOA will present some of the most important works from the Victoria and Albert’s outstanding...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Come by for our open house! We’ll have lots of fun for everyone: Face painting by Karen Refreshments Stained Glass Demonstrations Open workshop space for past students and it’s all FREE!...

Cost: Free

Where:
Tulsa Stained Glass
4131 S. Sheridan Rd.
Tulsa, OK  74145
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Stained Glass
Telephone: 918-664-8604
Contact Name: Richard Bohm
Website »

More information

All children ages 13 and under, accompanied by an adult, will be allowed in to all 2017-18 ORU Athletics ticketed sports. ALL KIDS – IT’S FREE! is strictly a promotion. These tickets have no...

Cost: $12, $17, $22

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Sponsor: Mabee Center
Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

join us friday november 3rd for our newest exhibit.   Norman artist JASON CYTACKI and his exquisite exhibit, 'Living is Easy with Eyes Closed'   we'll have live music with...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
View map »


Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
Website »

More information

This wine, canvas and painting class in Tulsa, OK features step-by-step instruction to help you create a fun acrylic painting on a 16x20 stretched canvas. Purchase wine, beer, and mixed drinks...

Cost: $30 per person (normally $40)

Where:
Tulsa Time Paint & Sip Studio
3807 S Peoria Ave Suite-C
Tulsa , OK  74105
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Time Paint & Sip Studio
Telephone: 918-927-0729
Contact Name: Martin Pecina
Website »

More information

Making plans for this weekend? You can't do better than The Drunkard & The Olio at the historic Spotlight Theater. You know you've always wanted to go, and now's your chance. And if...

Cost: Adults $20, kids $12, seniors & military $17

Where:
Spotlight Theater
1381 Riverside Dr.
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »

More information

Cost: $15-$50

Where:
H.A. Chapman Stadium
3110 E 8th St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Website »

More information

Cost: $15-$44

Where:
Reynolds Center
3208 E 8th St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Website »

More information

Cost: $8

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

TULtalk


QUIZ: Which Thanksgiving side dish are you?

Where's your place on the Thanksgiving buffet? Find out if you're a sweet potato or a sour cranberry...

Comments

QUIZ: What kind of wedding cake are you?

Which of these locally made wedding cakes speaks to your soul?

Comments

Cyntergy Hurtland brings tailgating fun to town

November 12, compete in fun Parkathlon activities while cheering on Cyntergy Hurtland cyclists.

Comments

6 reasons to live downtown

In preparation for Dwell in the IDL, I chatted with a few downtown residents to see what makes the burgeoning area so livable.

Comments

Money mind

Financial considerations to help reduce stress, anxiety

Comments