Every once in a while, we feel the need to escape the city and head to a place where you can see the stars and breathe fresh air. OK, that's a lie--we really enjoy a night in an Indian casino, smoking cigarettes and drinking 3.2 beer, so we headed north and crossed the border for a night of wholesome fun at WinStar Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
WinStar is home to endless rows of slots machines, pay to play gaming, and the new Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, the third branch in the country megastar's honky-tonk chain.
We thought the restaurant wouldn't be crowded early Saturday evening, but we were wrong. Dozens of waiting patrons--a bit red in the neck-- sat on benches constructed from old Ford truck beds, watching Toby Keith music videos. Inside the themed restaurant are more than 100 pieces of Keith memorabilia, with Keith's music and videos playing 24-7. Military flags and oversized photos of Keith's USO concerts hang on the walls, and giant Texas, Oklahoma, and American flags are suspended in the center of the restaurant. University of Oklahoma banners and neon signs lend college bar charm to the place, and the endless supply of paraphernalia and televisions on the walls ensures you'll never get bored if your date's a dud.
Glancing at the menu, we immediately noticed the cheese fries, that's right, "Freedom fries" smothered with cheese, bacon, and green onion. Sure Keith is patriotic, but didn't we all agree a while back it was OK to stop ragging on the French and normalize relations with their fries?
While we checked out the menu, our friendly server took our drink and appetizer orders. Of course, we had to have the cheesy fries and some of those great Oklahoma beers. Still undecided about dinner, our waitress recommended the burger, the ribs, and the rotisserie chicken, so we went with the chicken-rib combo and a plate of their smoke prime rib. Minutes later, she returned to apologize that our appetizer hadn't arrived. It had just been 10 minutes and she had her hands full with the party of six next to us so no apologies were necessary. Soon enough our cheese fries arrived hot and served with a side of sour cream. Surprisingly, the delicious mess of greasy goodness didn't alter their crispness.
Our smoke prime rib was tender and cooked medium rare as we had ordered, and the serious barbeque fan will appreciate the hickory wood flavor. The St. Louis rib and rotisserie chicken combo came covered in their signature barbeque sauce. The ribs were thick and easily fell off the bone, but they were covered in so much spicy sauce that the meat lost its flavor. Like the ribs, the chicken was well coated in sauce, and the chicken was sturdy enough to stand up to the heavy dose. The standout dish was a side of cream corn with flecks of bell pepper and scallions. The savory take on cream corn was a nice alternative to typically sweeter versions of the dish. We ordered so much food, that we had to skip dessert and get a doggy bag. Leftover chicken made great sandwiches the next day.
With mealtime over, we hit the blackjack tables. Unfortunately, we forgot about those ridiculous pay to play policies and decided to save our money for something better like Vegas--or rent. We left I Love This Bar and Grill feeling full, but a little better about ourselves.
777 Casino Way, Ste 1
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