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 2017

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View map »


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

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This traveling exhibition curated by Josephine Stealey, chronicles a history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, immigrant, and slave communities to its presence within the...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: 108|Contemporary
Contact Name: Ellen McGivern

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 join us in welcoming current Tulsa Artist Fellowship participant CARRIE DICKASON and her lively, inquisitive exhibit 'Revealing Patterns'.       'Revealing...

Cost: free

Where:
mainline art bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
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Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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Performances Fri., July 21 at 7:00 p.m Sun., July 23 at 2:30 p.m Thurs., July 27 at 7:00 p.m Fri., July 28 at 7:00 p.m Sun., July 30 at 2:30 p.m Tickets Tickets will go on sale...

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Boston Avenue Church
1301 S Boston Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: Music Office
Telephone: 918.699.0138
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Where:
American Legion Post 308
11328 E Admiral Pl
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
Ed's Hurricane Lounge
3216 E 11th St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 587-6426

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Cost: $10

Where:
Vanguard
222 N Main St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (319) 804-9727
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Where:
River Spirit Casino - Volcano Stage
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Where:
Smitty's 118 Tavern
118 East Main St
Jenks, OK
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Telephone: (918) 995-2277
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Cost: $30-$40

Where:
River Spirit Casino - Paradise Cove
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Cabin Creek
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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Monster mud trucks get down and dirty.

Where:
Tulsa Raceway Park
3103 N Garnett
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 437-7223
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Come face to face with dinosaurs.

Cost: $18-$34

Where:
Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Telephone: 918.894.4350
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Cost: $10

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 921-3535
Website »

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Where:
Inner Circle Vodka Bar
410 N Main St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 794-2400
Website »

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Where:
River Spirit Casino - 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Website »

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Where:
River Spirit Casino - LandShark Pool Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Where:
Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame
5 S Boston Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 928-5299
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Accio dancing shoes! DJs Uber and Afistaface will be spinning enchanting tunes.

Where:
The Unicorn Club
222 E 1st Street
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Telephone: (918) 551-7447

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Where:
Utopia Bar & Lounge
3508 S Sheridan Rd
Tulsa, OK  74145
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Where:
Dusty Dog Pub
5107 S Harvard
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 933-5473
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Cost: $10

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 921-3535
Website »

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Where:
The Max Retropub
114 S Elgin Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 895-6200
Website »

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Where:
The Fur Shop
520 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 949-4292
Website »

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Where:
The Bistro At Seville
10021 S Yale Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Website »

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Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Riffs
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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Website »

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Where:
Hunt Club
224 N Main St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 599-9200
Website »

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Where:
The Colony
2809 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 794-4208
Website »

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Broadway at Boston Avenue presents a musical comedy that shows loving families come in all shapes and sizes.

Cost: $10

Where:
Boston Avenue Methodist Church
1301 S Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Where:
Pepper's Grill
2809 E 91st St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 296-0593
Website »

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Grab a snack, find a seat, and let your imagination run wild! Each weekend in July, we’ll look at timeless truths from Hollywood blockbusters. At every service, you can expect a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Life.Church
7071 E. 121st Street S.
Bixby, OK  74008
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Sponsor: Life.Church
Telephone: 918-938-0900
Contact Name: Lesley Hemphill
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This exhibit features the work of Photographers of Tulsa Oklahoma Group, a group of talented local photographers that includes novices to seasoned professionals. PHOTOG members encourage and help...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
Website »

More information

Car need washing?  Bring it on down to Jiffy Lube, 2726 S. Harvard, on Saturday, July 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The car wash will be hosted by Crossroads Clubhouse, a local...

Cost: Suggested donation

Where:
Jiffy Lube
2726 S. Harvard Ave.
Tulsa
OK, OK  74114
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Sponsor: Jiffy Lube
Telephone: 918.743.4720
Contact Name: Jason
Website »

More information

Practice your bird watching skills by picking up a bird species coloring sheet in the Visitor Center before you explore the Garden. Tulsa Botanic Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am...

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

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Website »

More information

This traveling exhibition curated by Josephine Stealey, chronicles a history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, immigrant, and slave communities to its presence within the...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: 108|Contemporary
Contact Name: Ellen McGivern

More information

Good Morning Bedlam is performing at Starship Records! Good Morning Bedlam's show is an explosion of energy with soaring harmonies, a banjo player that scissor-kicks in the air, a string...

Cost: Free

Where:
Starship Records
1241 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Contact Name: Christian Cole

More information

Children's Musical Theatre Main Stage production of "ANNIE" features area students ages 7-17 as the cast of this classic musical.  The cast rehearses and performs 4 to 5 shows on...

Cost: $14-$24

Where:
Bartlesville Community Center
300 SE Adams Blvd
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Musical Theatre of Bartlesville
Telephone: 918-336-0558
Contact Name: Jan Watt
Website »

More information

 join us in welcoming current Tulsa Artist Fellowship participant CARRIE DICKASON and her lively, inquisitive exhibit 'Revealing Patterns'.       'Revealing...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

Cost: $10-$45

Where:
ONEOK Field
201 N. Elgin Ave
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

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

More information

Join RSVP of Tulsa at the new ballroom of the River Spirit Resort Casino for an evening of great food, music, dancing, and great silent auction items!  Summer casual attire - feel free to wear...

Cost: $125.00

Where:
River Spirit Resort Casino
8330 Riverside Drive
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Sponsor: RSVP of Tulsa, Inc.
Telephone: 918.280.8656
Contact Name: Jovada Miller
Website »

More information

Performances Fri., July 21 at 7:00 p.m Sun., July 23 at 2:30 p.m Thurs., July 27 at 7:00 p.m Fri., July 28 at 7:00 p.m Sun., July 30 at 2:30 p.m Tickets Tickets will go on sale...

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Boston Avenue Church
1301 S Boston Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: Music Office
Telephone: 918.699.0138
Website »

More information

Where:
The Max Retropub
114 S Elgin Ave
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 895-6200
Website »

More information

Where:
Crow Creek Tavern
3534 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 749-9100
Website »

More information

Where:
Elwood's
1924 Riverside Dr
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 949-9090
Website »

More information

Cost: $10

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 921-3535
Website »

More information

Where:
The Cottage Art Gallery
1443 S Gary Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 728-1928
Website »

More information

Where:
Hunt Club
224 N Main St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 599-9200
Website »

More information

Where:
River Spirit Casino - Volcano Stage
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
View map »


Website »

More information

Where:
The Wine Loft
7890 E. 106th St. S.
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 970-4766
Website »

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Where:
Mercury Lounge
1747 S Boston Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Website »

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Where:
River Spirit Casino - LandShark Pool Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Website »

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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
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Where:
River Spirit Casino - 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar
8330 Riverside Pkwy.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Website »

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Inner circle goes tiki with Caribbean cuisine, tropical drinks, live music, and fire performers.

Where:
Inner Circle Vodka Bar
410 N Main St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 794-2400
Website »

More information

Where:
The Colony
2809 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 794-4208
Website »

More information

Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Cabin Creek
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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Website »

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Where:
Riverwalk Crossing
300 Riverwalk Terrace
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Website »

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Where:
Starship Records & Tapes
1241 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 583-0638
Website »

More information

Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Riffs
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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Website »

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


Telephone: (918) 607-6005
Website »

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


Telephone: (918) 607-6005
Website »

More information

Cost: $5

Where:
The Blackbird on Pearl
1336 E 6th St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Telephone: (918) 949-1345
Website »

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TULtalk


Details Make DoubleShot's New Digs Extra Special

Old bricks and reclaimed barn wood will give the brand-new coffee roasting HQ — set to open March 2018 — a distinct sense of history and place.

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Let's Get Metaphysical at H2Oasis

Whether you’re in need of a therapeutic massage or just spiritual development, the H2Oasis Conscious Lounge has everything you could want for the body, mind and spirit.

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4 things to do to this month at the Tulsa Botanic Garden

Stop and smell the roses with fun events and hands-on workshops.

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Top 4 Things To Do In Eufala This Summer

There's so much more to Eufaula than its namesake lake. Dive into a summer of fun and culture.

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Love and Laughs with Theatre Pops

July 14-16th, two plays, “Constellations” and “Every Brilliant Thing,” will look at two things we want most in life: love and purpose.

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