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Familiar Flavors

Offering southern comfort-style food, The Cookhouse leans heavily on family recipes while inspiring an appetite for joyful dishes and a well-fed feeling.

Donna Leahey
Sarah Eliza Roberts
August 28, 2018

Offering southern comfort-style food, The Cookhouse leans heavily on family recipes while inspiring an appetite for joyful dishes and a well-fed feeling.

Comfort food: biscuits and gravy, meatloaf, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and maybe some peach cobbler to finish it all off. What’s better than sitting around the kitchen table with family, enjoying platters of grandma’s home cooking? Nothing’s better than that, but The Cookhouse is as good, and grandma doesn’t have to spend all day cooking for you to enjoy it.

“Home is cooked here” declares the front door of The Cookhouse, and that philosophy drives everything. The place feels like home, with paintings on the walls, homey plaques, wood chairs, and ceiling fans. You feel welcome, you feel at home, even before the friendly waitstaff starts taking care of you.

The interior is spacious and cozy at the same time, with every table feeling like you’re sitting at grandma’s waiting for her to start bringing out love on a plate. That’s exactly the feeling The Cookhouse’s owner, Brianna Johnson, was going for when she left her corporate job to open a restaurant.

Pork Chop (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)
Pork Chop (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)

“I was working at Allstate for 10 years, 12 hours a day, seven days a week. It was great money, but I was aging before my eyes. So, I started saving all my money. I knew I wanted to do something in food,” she says. “I know good food. I’m from Porter, Oklahoma, and my friends would always come over for my mom’s food. We’re the kind of family that when we’re happy, we cook and eat. When we’re sad, we cook and eat.”

Johnson knew she wanted Southern comfort-style food, home-style food. Her first plan was for a seafood place selling catfish and shrimp, but the building she was looking at fell through. “I prayed and I meditated on what to do,” she recalls. She found her current location and opened just a little over a month later, in December 2017.

One of the unique things about The Cookhouse is that all the beef and a lot of the vegetables come from Johnson’s father’s ranch. “No hormones, no steroids,” says Johnson. “He feeds them the best grains.” The Porter peach cobbler is Johnson’s mom’s recipe, making The Cookhouse a family affair.

When The Cookhouse first opened, the chicken-fried steak was the most popular item on the menu. You’ll know why as soon as you lay eyes on this plate. The steak is generously sized and lightly breaded. It’s well seasoned before it’s fried crispy and brown and then smothered in homemade cream gravy. The whole thing is crisp and flavorful comfort food. Try it with the traditional mashed potatoes for a comfort food blast that will make mind, body, and soul happy.

The meatloaf is becoming nearly as popular since The Cookhouse started using Johnson’s mother’s recipe. The Cookhouse’s meatloaf is seasoned and slow roasted to be tender and flavorful, and it’s served with homemade brown gravy. One bite will be enough to let you know why it’s a favorite.

The fried green tomatoes are a favorite off the appetizer menu when in season. The slightly sour green tomatoes are sliced, dipped in buttermilk and dredged in seasoned cornmeal. The result is a perfectly fried and crispy bite. You can practically taste home in each crispy slice.

The Porter peach cobbler is a must-try and a consistent favorite. Peaches from Porter, Okla., recipe from mom, made with love. Sweet and tangy Porter peaches and a homemade crust are what make this cobbler the perfect finish to any meal.

Johnson’s favorite item on her menu is the hand-breaded catfish. The catfish is coated in specially seasoned cornmeal and fried crisp. “It’s fried till it’s light and flaky,” Johnson says. The two-piece platter is served with hushpuppies and your choice of sides. She also says everyone should try the hand-breaded mushrooms, the hand-breaded onion rings, and the lattice sweet potato fries.

Something you don’t find on a lot of menus is chicken livers, but you can get them made just for you at The Cookhouse. “We have customers who come here just for them,” says Johnson. It’s a half-pound of livers, fried crispy and delicious and served with your choice of sides. The rich taste of the liver inside that crisp crunch is the feeling of home, served up on a plate.

Be sure to check the breakfast menu. It’s served all day. That’s right: French toast for dinner or an omelet for lunch. Options include bacon, sausage, ham, chicken-fried steak, pork chop, or a 10-ounce sirloin with eggs, home fries or hash browns, and biscuits and gravy or toast. Hearty, filling, and delicious.

Or check out the breakfast skillets like the meat lovers with ham, bacon, and sausage, cheese, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and tomatoes served with two eggs cooked just the way you like.

The Southern favorite, chicken and waffles, comes with your choice of wings or strips served atop a sweet cream Belgian waffle. Maple syrup and powdered sugar bring the sweet to this sweet-and-savory breakfast.

Watch for a new option on the menu coming soon: The Cookhouse will be offering an all-you-can-eat special, with food made fresh for you when you order it. “You can get pork chops, sides, and fried chicken, made to order,” says Johnson.

“I love Oklahoma and my people,” says Johnson. “And I’m trying to fill a void. You can’t find this food on this side of town. Not soul food, but Southern comfort food. Like you cooked it at home.”

The Cookhouse
9701 E. 61st St. | Tulsa
Monday-Saturday: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.