Wednesday 23 Apr

Green is good

Two enterprising former restaurant owners looked around Oklahoma City’s restaurant industry and thought it could be a lot greener. Chris Buerger and his partner, Brian DeShazo, took notice of the fact that there is no infrastructure to recycle in area restaurants.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Chow time

Chow’s Chinese Restaurant

3033 N. May Ave.


What works: Dumplings, anything with ginger-scallion sauce, and lots more.

What needs work: Watch out for the raw garlic.

Tip: Take-out is a big time-saver.

04/23/2014 | Comments 0


Naylamp Peruvian Restaurant

2106 SW 44th St.


What works: The friendly staff and authentic food give guests a true Peruvian experience.

What needs work: The small restaurant is kind of difficult to spot.

Tip: The choritos a la chalaca are a must-try for seafood fans.

04/23/2014 | Comments 0

OKG eat: Highfalutin dining

You don’t have to be a millionaire or a head of state to eat like one. While dining like a king every night might quickly take its toll on your pocketbook, sometimes it feels good to eat like a well-heeled big wheel. For a special occasion or maybe just as a special treat, look no farther than these upscale eateries to tempt your taste buds and delight your palate.

— By Louis Fowler, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

04/23/2014 | Comments 0

OKG7 eat: Fresh off the farm

There was a time not too terribly long ago in Oklahoma City when there was a chain on every corner and the closest you could get to local was to make a trip to your farmers market and make the food yourself. We always celebrate all things local, and luckily, it’s getting easier for OKC restaurants to incorporate locally grown, all- natural ingredients into what they offer.

— By Devon Green

photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

04/16/2014 | Comments 0

OKG7 eat: Soccer pub crawl

Football season is finally here! We call it soccer, but that doesn’t have to stop you from indulging in two favorite European traditions: walking and pub crawling. Since the Energy FC games will be alcohol-free, we’ve created a list of pubs and taverns within walking distance from Clement E. Pribil Stadium at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.

— by Devon Green 

photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

04/09/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Food · Restaurant Reviews · Cowpoke paradise
Restaurant Reviews

Cowpoke paradise

Swadley’s serves top-notch barbecue in a chuck wagon-themed dining room.

Doug Hill August 24th, 2011

Swadley’s Bar-B-Q’s original theme song plays when you open Complete with manly man vocals, mustang snorting and spaghetti Western whistling, the lyrics in part tout their catering: “If there’s a crowd you need to please / We’ll grab our meat and haul our buns.”

Hearing that, we hauled ass to the one of four Swadley’s locations nearest our ranch. What other restaurant has its own song? Swadley’s freestanding building is easy to spot in front of a strip mall on the corner of the busy intersection at S.W. 89th and Western. Once an A&W Root Beer stand, it still has the covered carports in the rear, and there’s plenty of parking all around.

Inside, friendly employees greeted us as we walked in the door. The decor is rustic Western, with cowboy hats hanging on a hewn log pillar, a saddle in one corner and a nook designated as a “Sheriff’s Office.” Overhead, the ceiling is steel roofing material and in the center of the room is a black iron fireplace. Oldschool country music was playing in the background.

above Waiter Willie Deleon delivers two brisket and sausage specials during a busy lunch at Swadley’s on S.W. 89th.

Swadley’s menu is a large lighted board behind a counter where orders are placed. When asked what the “True Sampler” ($13.99) dinner plate selection includes, the employee taking our order pointed out a colorful picture of it on the board. Then she helpfully explained what’s on the plate. Her T-shirt had the word “Grumpy” on it, which I took to be a cute nickname like one of Snow White’s dwarfs. It turned out to be the name of one of Swadley’s sauces. She didn’t know why.

Besides barbecue, there’s also a catfish dinner ($10.99) described on the menu as a “whole mess of catfish” served with coleslaw, fries, hushpuppies and tartar sauce. Other meals not involving smoked meat include a chicken-fried steak dinner ($9.99), loaded “spuds” ($6.89) and a grilled or crispy chicken salad ($7.49). If a vegetarian were to stumble into this carnivore palace, there are 15 side dishes, such as “campfire tators” and “smoked corn cobbette” that could be cobbled  together into a meal. The fried okra was crunchy, gold-green goodness.

“Ribs and brisket are our top sellers,” said David Helseth, assistant manager. “We smoke the meat right here on-site.”

They do a bang-up job of it, too. The enticing aroma of burning wood and expertly charred beef was wafting across the parking lot as we approached this cowpoke paradise.

Swadley’s ribs, brisket and pulled pork are competitive with any of the best barbecue joints in Kansas City, Memphis or Dallas. This is a matter of sacred faith with opinions strong as whiskey for many, and these words were not written capriciously. It is damn good barbecue.

Giving chicken a stout hickory smoke taste without drying out the meat is difficult, but Swadley’s manages to do it. They also work the smoldering wood magic with sausage, turkey and hot links. But it’s the ribs and brisket that make the place. A full slab ($18.99) is more expensive than average, and same with the four-rib dinner ($12.99). But unlike some poseur joints, the quality is definitely there in spades.

Also, there’s no skimping on any of the portions. These are Okie-size servings, the kind that have helped make this state great big. Happily, no one held a sixshooter to my head making me eat an entire meal at one sitting. These portions are take-somehome-for-lunch-tomorrow huge.

Along with the mysterious Grumpy barbecue sauce are three other varieties: thick, sweet and spicy. The spicy version is intriguing because it has a slight Thai flavor and appearance to it. I suspect they may be adding some Asian sweet chili sauce to the mix. None of Swadley’s four sauces taste much different from each other, except the spicy has a bit more kick to it.

The peach, blackberry and pecan cobblers ($2.99-$3.99) looked tempting.

Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.

Photo by Mark Hancock

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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