Metro Diner

Metro Diner

What was once a service station and an Arby’s on East 11th Street became one of Tulsa’s most beloved eateries: the Metro Diner.

Bob Davis had been in the restaurant business for decades before opening the Metro in 1984. It was designed to look as if time had stopped in the mid-1950s: aluminum siding and glass bricks on the outside, colorful murals and deco light figures inside. The hostess station was fashioned from the back end of a 1957 Chevrolet.

The whole Davis family was involved over the years, running a restaurant that was beloved by University of Tulsa students, Route 66 travelers, and Tulsans from the neighborhood. They had a Blue Plate Special and a Monte Cristo sandwich still talked about today.

Like the diners of old, the staff was part of the experience. One such waitress had worked at Pennington’s Drive-Inn for over 20 years.

“We were interviewing for waitresses and waiters before we ever opened,” says Bob’s son, Mark Davis. “Dot walked in with her red hair; she looked like she was right out of a movie! It’s kinda like we looked at her, she looked at us ... and we knew she was in the right place. She came to work for us, and she was a classic. People came just to see her!”

In the mid-’90s, the ownership of the Metro transitioned to Jim Rowenhorst, but most everything else stayed the same. In 2006, the property was bought by the Tulsa Development Authority for the University of Tulsa’s new entrance to their campus.

On their last day of business, so many people showed up, they ran out of food hours early. 

Rhys Martin is a photographer and author from Tulsa. He also serves as the President of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association. Facebook: Cloudless Lens

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