Those who remember the Tulsa or Oklahoma City restaurant scene of 50 years ago likely remember Sleepy Hollow. The original Sleepy Hollow opened in Oklahoma City in the late 1940s and was known across the state for its pan-fried chicken.
Sleepy Hollow’s Tulsa location opened in 1968, where family-style meals were served, though none as popular as the pan-fried chicken, mashed potatoes and canned peas. When the two restaurants closed, it left a hole for many who craved that classic Okie cooking.
So it has been great news to many that Robert Merrifield has brought that classic back to his Blue Dome Market and Bodega, 211 E. Second St. Working with Director of Operations Omar Galban, the two created a pan-fried chicken inspired by the old Sleepy Hollow. It’s served at the restaurant on Sundays for what Galban calls “Sleepy Hollow Sundays.”
For those who never got a taste of the original Sleepy Hollow, Galban says this fried chicken is different in that it’s not deep fried. Pan-fried chicken is closer to what you would make at home, if you had the time, inclination and ability to do so.
“When you pan fry, you cook in very little oil,” Galban says. “We cook in a cast-iron pot, standing right there to watch the flame.”
This isn’t fried chicken that’s dropped in a vat of oil and left to fry to a crisp. This is fried chicken that’s tended to. The breading is light, with a good but not heavy seasoning. It’s served in the classic way with mashed potatoes, but Galban says the canned peas were a bridge too far. Today, Southern green beans and fried corn complement the dish.
On Fridays, Blue Dome is all about fried food — fried cod, chicken fried steak, salmon croquettes, fried shrimp and more. The market is open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday.