Category Archives: Oklahoma

My Trip to Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile

All I wanted for Valentine’s Day was a trip to Pawhuska, Oklahoma to visit The Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile, a 107-year-old building that the Food Network star has handsomely restored into a restaurant, bakery, deli, retail shop and ranch office.

We made the six and a half hour trip from Shreveport last week. The drive’s not bad when places like Paris, Texas and Okmulgee, Oklahoma have Starbucks!

Hubby and his brother were good sports as my sister-in-law and I made our way around the store. We did come away with a few purchases, but my main goal was to look around, sample the food and hopefully run into Ree, aka Pioneer Woman, or one of the Drummond clan.

The shop was as beautiful as pictured on her the blog. There are some pricey items — a cast iron skillet in the shape of the United States for $125, metal butterflies sculpted into a horse for $250 but fun lower-end items such as $3 bacon lip balm, $6 finger puppets of historic and literary figures such as Benjamin Franklin and Sherlock Holmes. And lots of dinnerware in bright colors and florals.

Originally, I thought we’d eat a late breakfast/brunch there, shop, tour the town, drive out to the ranch and return for a late afternoon meal. But on further reflection, I felt one big PW meal was about all my diet could stand.

The menu isn’t extensive because I have a feeling Ree Drummond only wants to serve things that can scale perfectly to feed a large restaurant crowd.  I did a rough count one day and figured I have made more than 60 of her recipes so I wanted to order some things I hadn’t tried.

Hubby got the Marlboro Man sandwich, strips of tenderized ribeye sauteed with onions and served on a soft hoagie bun with homemade potato chips. He shared some with me, so I got the  salad with steak added. For an appetizer,  we had creamy olive cheese bread. They were all what you would expect from Pioneer Woman–delicious!

I wanted to get prune cake just to see if it lived up to its menu billing– “Don’t get hung up on the name. This just might be the best thing you have ever eaten.”  But I didn’t have room and will have to save it for another visit or make it myself. Did I mention we split a pecan sticky bun before lunch?

I didn’t see any calorie counts or “on the lighter side” on the menu. Only those marked “bring a hearty appetite.”

We had to wait about 40 minutes for a lunch table — it will be longer on weekends and during holidays, shorter during breakfast. Todd, the youngest Drummond child, was bussing our table. Sister Paige, 17, was on duty as barista, and Ladd, Marlboro Man himself, was working the crowd.

Ladd Drummond “Marlboro Man” graciously poses for a picture with me
Todd Drummond
Todd and Paige at the coffee bar

I guess Ree was home blogging, making lasagna or gathering cattle.

We ended our time in Pawhuska by driving eight miles out on U.S. Highway 60 to the Drummond Ranch entrance sign and continuing on County Road 4461, a gravel road, until we could see her house in the distance. We wanted to see if she really does live “on a ranch in the middle of nowhere”

She does.

And the wind was sweeping down the plain that day.

A trip to Pawhuska would be a terrific paired with a trip to Tulsa (an hour away with beautiful Art Deco architecture) or Oklahoma City (two hours away with National Memorial commemorating 1995 bombing and National Cowboy Museum). 

Pioneer Woman Mercantile

Oklahoma: Home of Pioneer Woman & the Osage Indians

It was a Southern Living article about five years back that first put me onto Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman. I began following her blog, watching her Food Network show and seriously planning a vacation to rural northeast Oklahoma where she lives.

I’ve probably made somewhere between 48 and 63 of her recipes and have absolutely loved all but one of them—pulled pork cooked in Dr. Pepper. Sorry,  I grew up close to Memphis and know better ways to cook a pork shoulder.

Hubby also is a huge fan, and it was his idea to take a detour through Osage County, OK on a road trip out west to try to get a glimpse of what Pioneer Woman’s  world “in the middle of nowhere” must be like.

Also, anyone following her blog knows she is renovating a building in downtown Pawhuska, Osage’s county seat, for her husband’s ranch offices and eventually, a retail store and deli. We had initially hoped that the store would be open by the time we got there but as time went on we knew the best we could hope for would be a peek inside at the construction progress .

The Building in downtown Pawhuska, OK
The Building in downtown Pawhuska, OK
David talking to Project Manager A.J. Hamilton
David talking to Project Manager A.J. Hamilton

Indeed, we did get to look inside and met with project manager A.J. Hamilton, who graciously pointed out some of The Building’s architectural features and sprinkled in some of Pawhuska’s history .  Pawhuska is still the tribal headquarters for the Osage Indians, once some of the wealthiest people in the United States thanks to the early 1900s oil boom in Oklahoma. The First National Bank, diagonally across from The Building looks untouched from that era and we strolled across to the lobby as A.J. suggested.

Inside the First National Bank of Pawhuska
Inside the First National Bank of Pawhuska

After riding around town and stocking up the ice chest at the Pawhuska Hometown Foods (frequently seen on Ree’s TV show as the store that doesn’t have fresh basil), we headed toward Ponca City on Highway 60 and what did we see? The sign to “Drummond Ranch.” The Drummonds, including the extended family, have been listed on Internet sites as the 17th largest landowners in the United States. Since the gate was open, we headed up until we saw some horses led by a four-wheeler driven by one of the Drummond girls. Then, we thought we were a bit intrusive and turned around.

Looking forward to heading back to Pawhuska when The Building officially opens.