I know you have to be above a certain age to remember, but there was a time that when you went out to a drive inn restaurant for a burger and fries, you weren’t served those frozen things from a bag. The hamburger patty was fresh and the fries were hand-cut. I bet if our younger generation was served something like that, they wouldn’t know what it is? We have been fed the frozen stuff for so many years now that is exactly what we expect to get at a restaurant.
Well, the good news is, there are still a few places, though far between, where you can still get those hand pressed beef patties and fresh cut French fries, but those places are hard to find.
I stumbled on to a place here a few years ago, by accident, which still hand cuts their fries. It was a December day, right after Christmas, when several of us decided to load up and drive to Pawhuska to visit the Drummond girl, from the Food Channel, new mercantile she had opened up in Pawhuska. It hadn’t been opened very long, so needless to say, there was a large crowd there, and I can’t remember how long we had to wait just to get in the store. But, it ended up being a fun day and was a good excuse to make the drive over to Pawhuska, which, I hadn’t been there in a while, as I don’t get that way very often. But anytime I hear Pawhuska, it brings two thoughts to my mind, one is, when I was about 10 or 12 years old watching their high school basketball team play in the championship game of the NEO Tournament at the Miami Civic Center one Saturday night. I believe they were playing Okmulgee and I remember it being a very good and intense ballgame.
The other Pawhuska memory I have, is when I was in high school and going to the Pawhuska Cavalcade and Rodeo with a group of friends. After the rodeo that night, my friends and I went to a dance where the guy with the band had his younger sister get up and sing a couple of songs. I remember the young red headed girl being a little on the homely side at the time, and her name was Reba McIntire. But after the dance, my friends and I decided to find us some place to get a bite to eat. Well, we were not familiar with the town, so we just started driving around looking. We saw a place that was all lit up and thought maybe it was a truck stop or something. So I drove over to the lights and pulled in to find it was actually some type refinery or something. When I pulled into the drive to turn around, there was a gate with a guard shack there and this older gentleman came out to meet us. Somebody suggested that he might know someplace we could get something to eat? So when he came to the car, I rolled down my window and asked if he knew where an “all night café” might be? He said, “You say you want to stay, you can’t stay here, get the “@#$%” outta here!”
Well, getting back to homemade French fries, to get to Pawhuska from the east you have to drive through Bartlesville and they have a restaurant there called “Murphy’s” that has been around since the 1940’s and they still hand cut their fries. The restaurant is not what you would call a 5-star setting, but if you want good food and hand cut fries, it’s the place to go. In fact, they have a hot hamburger, where they put the beef patties and hand cut fries on Texas toast and cover it all with brown gravy. It is delicious.
Donnie’s Hand Cut French Fries
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Wash and cut the potatoes, I use a French fry cutter, but a sharp knife will work. I leave the potato peels on and just wash them really well. After I cut the potatoes, I put them in a bowl of ice water and place them in the fridge to firm up for at least a couple of hours. I heat up my oil in a skillet or deep fryer, depending on how many fries I’m making, take the potatoes out of the ice water and pat them dry with a paper towel. I then add them to the hot oil and cook them until they are golden brown and crisp.