Tulsa Dining: September 2007 Archives

Right after we were married, way back in 1989 and the early '90s, my wife and I lived in the Marella Apartments on Riverside Drive. About the time we moved in there, a few blocks east, on the southeast corner of 39th and Peoria, there was a little commercial building, and a brightly painted red-white-and-blue cafe in a very narrow space. A fellow from Pennsylvania named George Van Wyck thought Tulsa needed a source for authentic Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, so he opened Steak Stuffers USA. The place got a four and a half star rating from the Tribune, upgraded to five stars when the store expanded -- the close quarters was the only knock against the place. George ran (and still runs) a clean store; I remember seeing health inspection scores in the upper 90s. He was always shooting for 100%. We visited frequently.

I think Steak Stuffers USA was the first place in town to serve corn fritters as a side item (sometimes called corn poppers or corn dodgers).

The restaurant was successful, and eventually he expanded into the space next door, but his time on Brookside came to an end in 1992, when Albertson's bought the building and knocked it down to make room for their parking lot. George found a new home for Steak Stuffers USA in an old Braum's location on 51st Street between Utica and Lewis. At some point in the '90s, he also expanded to 81st and 145th in Broken Arrow, but he had trouble finding enough reliable workers to keep both locations operating to his high standards.

I'm rehearsing all this history to tell you that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is going to be at Steak Stuffers USA, 1932 E 51st St, tomorrow (Friday) at 3:15 p.m. for a brief appearance. (He'll be at the Summit Club for a paying reception at 4.)

There are things I like and dislike about Rudy Giuliani, but I'm very happy that his campaign is giving George Van Wyck and Steak Stuffers USA a moment in the spotlight.

Just remember, Rudy: Use the fork to push down the meat, mushrooms, and cheese and wrap the roll around for full flavor.

UPDATE: David Schuttler has photos of Rudy getting stuffed.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa Dining category from September 2007.

Tulsa Dining: February 2008 is the next archive.

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