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. 

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July 2018

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Cost: $100.00 per Child

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View map »


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Contact Name: Ann Money
Website »

More information

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Cost: $12

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415 Couch Dr.
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View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

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View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
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Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

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Cost: Prices Vary

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View map »


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Website »

More information

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Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day, $100/week or $400/full camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day, $100/week or $400/All 4 weeks of camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day,100/week or 400/full camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

Opera in the Ozarks, the nationally acclaimed summer music festival and training program for top emerging opera professionals, celebrates its 2018 Season from June 22 to July 20 with nearly...

Cost: $25

Where:
Inspiration Point
16311 Hwy. 62 West
Eureka Springs, AR  72632
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Become a junior marine biologist for a day and get hands-on experience caring for aquatic animals and learning what happens behind-the-scenes of an aquarium. *The program is offered for ages 12-16...

Cost: $100.00 per Child

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-296-FISH
Contact Name: Ann Money
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

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


Telephone: 405-236-3100
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

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

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


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

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


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day, $100/week or $400/full camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day, $100/week or $400/full camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day, $100/week or $400/All 4 weeks of camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day,100/week or 400/full camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

Tequila Ladies’ Night Out Thursday, July 19 $29.95 per person Plus cocktails:  $6.95 each or a flight of 4 for $25  Plus Tax & Gratuity    ...

Cost: $29.95

Where:
The Melting Pot Restaurant
300 Riverwalk Terrace
Suite 190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Becky Chapman
Website »

More information

Opera in the Ozarks, the nationally acclaimed summer music festival and training program for top emerging opera professionals, celebrates its 2018 Season from June 22 to July 20 with nearly...

Cost: $25

Where:
Inspiration Point
16311 Hwy. 62 West
Eureka Springs, AR  72632
View map »

More information

The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa is hosting candidate forums for four Tulsa City Council races, ahead of the Aug. 28 election. Each forum has a Facebook event page with more...

Cost: Free

Where:
Tulsa Technology Center
3850 N. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: League of Women Voters Metropolitan Tulsa
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Become a junior marine biologist for a day and get hands-on experience caring for aquatic animals and learning what happens behind-the-scenes of an aquarium. *The program is offered for ages 12-16...

Cost: $100.00 per Child

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-296-FISH
Contact Name: Ann Money
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

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

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


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

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


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

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


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

There are so many cool places to spend the night in the Oklahoma Aquarium beyond our shark tunnel, so we’ve expanded our popular Sleep with the Sharks events to include all kinds of ZZZs in...

Cost: Contact for pricing

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-296-3474
Contact Name: Kara Lovell
Website »

More information

Escaping The Ordinary Vol. 4 Compilation Release Show at The Vanguard. For more information on ETO, visit escapingtheordinary.net/events/ Hosted by: Ty Griffin of Escaping The Ordinary and Joey...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Vanguard
222 North Main Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »

More information

Opera in the Ozarks, the nationally acclaimed summer music festival and training program for top emerging opera professionals, celebrates its 2018 Season from June 22 to July 20 with nearly...

Cost: $25

Where:
Inspiration Point
16311 Hwy. 62 West
Eureka Springs, AR  72632
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Become a junior marine biologist for a day and get hands-on experience caring for aquatic animals and learning what happens behind-the-scenes of an aquarium. *The program is offered for ages 12-16...

Cost: $100.00 per Child

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-296-FISH
Contact Name: Ann Money
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

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

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


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

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


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

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


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

  RSVP is excited to announce our annual gala!  Join us for a rousing evening, filled with memories of the wild, wild west! During the night, be prepared to dine on delicious...

Cost: $125 per ticket

Where:
River Spirit Casino and Resort
8330 Riverside Pkwy
Tulsa, OK  74137
View map »


Telephone: 918-280-8656
Contact Name: Annette Poston
Website »

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

Come join us for a special evening of hilarity at Camp “Spon-Ta-Ni-Acs!”  Forget the calamine lotion and sunscreen!  Our indoor campground is air conditioned, and the only...

Cost: $8.00

Where:
pH Community House
306 S Phoenix Ave
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: The Spontaniacs!
Telephone: 918-521-9345
Contact Name: Eric Peterson
Website »

More information

  KALO Set to Play Tulsa   TULSA, OKLA. — The international rock ‘n’ roll trio KALO will perform in Tulsa Saturday, bringing their infectious blend of...

Cost: $10

Where:
Soul City of Tulsa
1621 E 11th St
Tulsa, OK
View map »

More information

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TULtalk


Roy Lee NYC street photography on display

Liggett Studio will host the local photographer's solo exhibition, “42nd Street: Grime, Glamour, and Glory,” July 13-August 4.

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Video: Auburn Cord Duesenberg Co.

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July 2018 Charitable Events

Celebrate summer, have a great time and support worthy causes at these fundraisers and events.

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Church Studio Visionary Buys Harwelden Mansion

Businesswoman Teresa Knox is building quite the collection of historical properties. Harwelden is her latest acquisition.

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Circle Cinema Celebrates 90 Years

July 7-15: Expect new documentaries and features, silent classics, special guests, discussions with filmmakers, a reel-to-reel 35mm screening and much more at Circle Cinema Film Festival.

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