3 towns near OKC you need to go enjoy
Kingfisher, Okarche and El Reno are steeped in history and boast legendary food.
Kingfisher’s Gov. Seay Mansion
Today, Kingfisher is a quiet community of commuters to the capital, but a walk down Main Street will reveal the rich history of this town dating back to the Land Run. For example, the five-and-dime store that led to the TG&Y chain started in Kingfisher, and the Coleman outdoor gear company began there. Half-a-dozen historic markers, a few statues and several local shops can be found on a short walking tour. The Chisholm Trail Museum and Gov. Seay Mansion also are nearby and provide windows into early life in the Sooner State. A commemorative museum exhibit was updated last year for the 150th anniversary of the trail.
When hunger sets in, head south on Highway 81. Okarche is 15 minutes away and home to Eischen’s, the oldest bar in Oklahoma. It’s more restaurant than bar these days, known for delicious, award-winning fried chicken. We’re talking a whole fried chicken, too: two breasts, two thighs, two wings and two legs. You won’t regret it, though you might want to take a nap after settling the bill. It’s cash only, so be prepared with some folding money.
El Reno, Oklahoma
El Reno is just another 15 minutes south. Fort Reno has a U.S. Cavalry Museum in addition to an old cemetery and open grounds to wander. Downtown El Reno has quite a few shops to choose from and a rich tapestry of murals. It’s also the home of the only rail-based trolley left in the state.
If Eischen’s fried chicken didn’t appeal to you, El Reno is home to the finest onion burger I’ve ever eaten. Sid’s Diner sits on Route 66 and looks just like you’d expect: old photos on the wall, regulars sitting at the counter and an active grill in full view. Sid’s has been featured on the Food Network and is a big part of the city’s annual Onion Burger Festival happening on May 4-5 this year.
As long as you still have some daylight left, take Route 66 to the west edge of town. Just past the El Reno Bowl, take a right on Sabra Pass. You’ll be greeted by the Guardian of the Mother Road, a vibrant 50-foot-tall mural on the back of an old drive-in wall depicting a scissortail flycatcher, redbuds and waving wheat. The artist, Rick Sinnett, has stunning artwork on display all across the state, including a mural in Tulsa’s Blue Dome District.