Average Joe's Classic Eatery has to be one of the best kept secrets east of the city. It is located where Tulsa ends and Broken Arrow begins, on the southeast corner of 81st and Garnett -- just east of TCC's Southeast Campus. It's easy to find, yet it has somewhat of a "non-occupancy" look to it. Possibly it's the appearance of the building that caused me to drive past it many times without even knowing it was there.
On the outside, nothing really draws the driver to know what it is, although there is a sign on the side of the building, but since I was tipped off by a friend to check out Average Joe's, I was happy to give it a try. I was pleased to hear there's an alternative to the madness one mile north on 71st Street. This place is the coming together of two of my favorite goals: supporting the local guy and avoiding the 71st Street chain dining scene.
A friend and I dined here recently, and overall, we had a very fine experience. The look has a bit of a carry over from the previous tenant, a sports bar. There are TVs all around, but the refined décor and black table cloths set a little different mood.
We selected a booth, ordered a beverage, and studied the menu. We noticed a good selection of domestic and imported bottled beers and flavored coolers, but no draft beer -- major disappointment.
Starters include some usual selections, but some different options include Shrimp Tempura ($6.99), Garlic Cheddar Biscuits ($5.99), Tex-Mex Sampler and Southern Sampler, both $9.49 and an Asian Sampler ($10.79).
We chose the Biscuits and the Cheese Fries ($5.49). These Biscuits were light and mild in taste, as a biscuit should be. The cheese fries were served on a large plate and were topped with plenty of melted cheese and chopped bacon. Ranch dressing really made for a richly sinful treat!
The options are plentiful: Classic Favorites (Teriyaki Stir Fry, Chicken Fried Steak, Beef Stroganoff, and more); Pasta Dishes (Classic Spaghetti, Steak Parmigian, Garlic Basil Grill, Grown-Up Mac & Cheese, and more); Sandwiches (The Crumbly, Hot Chicken, Barbie Club, Fish, Breakfast Burger, and more); Gourmet Burgers (The American Classic, The Big Hawaiian, Hail Caesar!, The "Whatever!", and more) Salads, Soups, Sides and Desserts.
Since it was lunch and we didn't want a large meal, we chose from the Sandwiches section the Cheese Steak ($7.29) and from the Gourmet Burgers, The Fire Thang ($7.89). The Cheese Steak is a toasted hoagie bun with a quarter pound of thinly-sliced steak, grilled onions and peppers. This is served, as the menu says, "Philadelphia" style, with Cheddar cheese sauce or "Okie" style with melted provolone cheese and mayonnaise. (Double stuffed with meat and onions, add $1.49).
This was quite a tasty sandwich -- very flavorful, but possibly a little dryer than preferred. I loved the grilled onion and green peppers. Sandwiches are served with a dill pickle spear and choice of home-made potato chips, hand-cut fries or tater tots.
The Fire Thang burger was cooked a little more than medium rare (as I had asked for it) but it was still very moist and very flavorful. A marinated blend of hot sauces, pepper-jack cheese, jalapeno peppers and diced Tabasco-soaked onions topped the beef. This was a well-built burger. While it sounds as if it would be very hot, it was not too bad at all. All burgers are a half-pound of USDA certified Angus beef and served with a choice of hand-cut fries, home-made potato chips or tater tots.
We both chose fries as our sides -- they were crispy and hot.
Bands play on the weekends, and our server said they're currently looking for a house band. Average's Joe's is a great alternative for those wanting something other than chain dining.
Average Joe's Classic Eatery
82nd & Garnett
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