McLoud is full of great restaurants and loyal diners 

click to enlarge Clara Belle's in McLoud, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Clara Belle's in McLoud, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016.

“Honey, I’m getting ready to bust a move.”

That is how Donna Heins told her husband Wayne they were opening a restaurant.

While some metro-area restaurants open and close their doors before people ever discover them, in McCloud, located 30 minutes east of Oklahoma City on Interstate 40, a new eatery is a pretty big deal.

Clara Belle’s, 105 N. Main St., in McCloud opened seven months ago, and the Heins said their business increases weekly.

The menu is eclectic, Wayne said.

“Not being a franchise, we get to do what we want and figure out what people like,” he said.

That is why one menu comes to hold diverse items like the Italian focaccia bread sandwich, the soft taco wrap and schinkenwurst (ham sausage) on a pretzel bun.

Wayne’s German ancestry heavily influences some menu selections, including his homemade Bavarian sauerkraut.

click to enlarge Italian Focaccia Bread Sandwich at Clara Belle's in McLoud, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Italian Focaccia Bread Sandwich at Clara Belle's in McLoud, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016.

“Part of the fun is getting people to try new things,” he explained. “People might say they don’t like sauerkraut, but I tell them it’s because they’ve never had anything but the stuff that comes in a can.”

The same goes for the chili, which they jokingly call Heins 57, and old-style Usinger’s Famous Sausage brought in from Milwaukee. 

Clara Belle’s cooks real food, he said. It’s work, but it’s worth doing because the restaurant feeds its friends and neighbors, and they deserve it.

Wayne said he’s particularly proud of the German red cabbage made using his grandmother’s recipe. People asked her to bring her cabbage dish to almost every event in town. Now he carries on the tradition for their customers.

Donna said they wanted to offer the community an alternative to heavy, fried foods.

“We fry nothing,” she said. “People are tired of all the grease.”

It’s not all diet foods, though. Clara Belle’s serves pulled pork that’s cooked for 24 hours until its meltingly tender and tops it with homemade barbecue sauce.

Donna also makes desserts, including signature lemon squares and Grandma’s Everything Cookies. Additionally, they created a small shopping area they call The Corner Market inside the restaurant.

The couple even hosts special, country-themed weekly dinners so guests can try dishes that otherwise aren’t so readily available in McLoud.

click to enlarge Wayne and Donna "Clara Belle" Heins at their restaurant in McLoud, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Wayne and Donna "Clara Belle" Heins at their restaurant in McLoud, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016.

Both work at the restaurant and at a few other “full-time” jobs. Wayne said he will next apply to work in a sleep study, just to get some more rest. For restaurant hours and more information, call 405-964-6338.

click to enlarge McLoud Cafe owner Que Zarasvand goes over his menu in McLoud, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • McLoud Cafe owner Que Zarasvand goes over his menu in McLoud, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016.

Café cooking

McLoud Café, 415 E. Broadway Ave., is just around the corner.

Que ZaRasvand has owned the eatery for nearly 20 years, but it has served city residents since around 1950, he said.

Much like Clara Belle’s, his intimate cafe does a little bit of everything to satisfy customers with “down-home country cooking,” server Donna Carroll said.

Hamburgers are always popular with his regulars, ZaRasvand said, but he has added a few things to the menu to help expand customer palates. A gyro sandwich and salad might seem out of place among so much classic diner fare, but it has been well received, he said. So have the beef enchiladas with rice and beans, which helps sate  hunger for south-of-the-border cuisine in a town with no Mexican restaurants.

One dish he’s proud of is classic roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy and a side of beans, all prepared in-house. The fork-tender beef soaks up rich brown gravy, and when paired with homestyle mashed spuds, it creates a texture and flavor that evokes Sunday dinners with the family.

click to enlarge Roast beef dinner at McLoud Cafe in McLoud, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Roast beef dinner at McLoud Cafe in McLoud, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016.

And McLoud Café serves families. Clientele is fiercely loyal to their favorite eateries, and ZaRasvand depends on them. He serves about 250 people daily on weekends and about 170 daily through the week.

For hours and more information, call 405-964-5576.

Loyal diners

McLoud city clerk and treasurer Kay Heinz said residents of the town of more than 4,000 people are proud of the food served here.

She brags about the community’s Chinese restaurant, Maple Garden, 316 S. Third St., and the all-you-can-eat catfish available Fridays at Curtis Watson Restaurant, 12610 S. McLoud Road, which passersby can spot from Interstate 40. Call 405-964-2225 for hours and more information about Maple Garden, and call 405-386-2900 for hours and more information about Curtis Watson Restaurant.

Small-town charm is what brought the Heins family to McLoud seven years ago and helped make Clara Belle’s possible.

“We’ve been wanting to do this forever,” Donna said. 

Print headline: McLoud proud, The small city just east of the metro is home to German fare, country cooking and loyal diners.

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