Even though NE 23rd Street is one of the most historical streets in Oklahoma City, many locals tend to forget that it’s also home to some of the most grassroots and homegrown eateries in town, the best having a specific focus on soul food, barbecue and old-fashioned Southern cooking. NE 23rd Street restaurants are OKC’s culinary history all in a few blocks and really should be revered as such.
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It’s no secret: Oklahoma City loves beef, and there is nothing quite like a great steak or burger. However, some people choose not to eat red meat for health or dietary reasons.
Whatever the reason, some turkey burgers in OKC rival their bovine peers when it comes to flavor and variety.
Aside from an occasional sub sandwich, many people associate the oversized feathered flapper with holidays. Let’s not do that right now.
There are several OKC restaurants that serve turkey burgers.
I found The Garage, with multiple locations around the metro, so we dined at its newest location, 6900 NW 122nd St., on a Sunday afternoon. There were plenty of TV screens that showed sporting events.
My sister-in-law had the classic turkey cheeseburger ($5.35) with American cheese, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles. I had the bacon avocado ranch burger ($6.65).
A side of regular fries is $1.99, but I ordered the garlic Parmesan fries for $2.99. The Garage offers sweet potato fries and Tijuana fries (with grilled jalapeños and onions), also $2.99, as well. Soft drinks are $1.75.
As for the turkey burgers themselves, these were well seasoned, juicy, hot and carried a black pepper kick. There is a skill with the seasoning, as turkey itself is rather bland.
Truly tasty bird burgers have more flavor — and fat — than plain ol’ “healthy” turkey. With that fat comes taste, and lots of it. In fact, you can get your sandwich with an extra beef or turkey patty for $2 more.
Flavor also was not an issue with the bacon avocado ranch beef burger. It wasn’t too spicy, but I could taste the pepper and house seasoning.
The Swiss cheese blended well with the other ingredients. There was a lot of ranch dressing, but the menu description of the burger mentioned ranch twice, so I had been forewarned. I added a little ketchup, but it wasn’t necessary. The flavors blended nicely, making for a fantastic, filling burger.
That the extra patty was probably too much, as it caused the bun to break apart, making it messy to eat. I ate it anyway. It was too good not to.
Another option for local turkey burgers is Tucker’s Onion Burgers, with two locations: 324 NW 23rd St. and 5740 N. Classen Blvd. at Classen Curve. On a Saturday afternoon, I dined at the 23rd Street location and ordered the double turkey burger with cheese ($8.49) and a side of fries ($2.59). A single cheeseburger with either turkey or beef is $5.99.
Now when they say “onion burgers,” they aren’t kidding.
Onion burgers are an Oklahoma tradition dating back to the Great Depression when meat was in short supply; however, my burger was nearly overpowered with the taste of grilled onions. I ended up removing half of them, but that’s my preference. The few times I got meat alone, I enjoyed the texture and flavor of the patty.
The Tucker’s burger was perfectly cooked and barely charred on the outside (as I ordered it), and the fries were crisp and delicious. I also enjoyed a seasonal spiced pumpkin pecan milkshake with pumpkin ice cream and pecan pralines.