Molly’s Game Changer
Linda Powell and her family have worked diligently to offer a unique dining and sightseeing experience at Molly’s Landing that offers something hard to find anywhere else in Green Country.
Just down the road from the American landmark known as the Blue Whale in Catoosa sits an unassuming, yet superbly delicious dining spot charmingly known as Molly’s Landing. And if you’ve never been there or haven’t been in a long while, it is high time to visit for some of the best steaks, seafood, and service you’ll find anywhere in Green Country.
Owner Linda Powell opened the restaurant 35 years ago after moving to Oklahoma from Arizona. And it’s clear that she and her family have worked diligently to offer a unique experience that offers something hard to find anywhere else in Green Country. The building is located just off the Verdigris River, one of the traits that drew Powell to the property.
“There’s something special about water,” Powell says. “People want to be near it. They want to be able to see it. Also, Highway 66 is quite famous. So we purchased the property.”
The spot’s connection to Route 66 comes across in many ways as you visit Molly’s Landing. As you drive up to the parking area, you’ll pass over a historic bridge built in 1936 and originally located on westbound Route 66. When the bridge needed to be replaced for traffic safety, there was a dilemma.
The bridge was historic, so it could not be demolished, Powell explains. But there was no place to move it, until Molly’s Landing stepped in. Two sections of the bridge — 220 feet long, 40 feet high and well cared for — now offer a twinkle-light illuminated entrance that charms visitors.
After parking, visitors climb stairs to the entranceway. As you do, you’ll notice a garden with seasonal plants (such as tomatoes in the summer, herbs in the winter) that are used in the kitchen to prepare meals. There’s an outdoor chessboard that might remind you of Alice in Wonderland, among other intriguing outdoor decorations and greenery.
And when you walk inside, you’ll discover one of the most eclectically decorated, invitingly intimate dining spots anywhere. The walls and ceilings of the enormous log cabin, constructed specifically to house the restaurant, are lined with an impressive variety of décor — from beaded lamps and statuettes to Route 66 and other Americana-style signs.
Many of the items are cherished mementos — some belonged to Powell’s children over the years, others to customers who donated items, and some are even from Powell’s own childhood, such as the roller skates she had when she was in seventh grade. There are items at every table that could start a conversation, all in an atmosphere intended to relax and please. “We are comfortable dining,” says Powell. The dining experience is laid-back, intimate and special, whether you’re dressed to the nines for the opera or wearing jams after just visiting one of the nearby Green Country lakes.
“It gives you a breath of fresh air from city life,” says Powell.
Of course, no restaurant experience is satisfying without great food — and Molly’s Landing excels in that arena. Their menu concentrates largely on steaks and seafood, served to perfection by the stellar kitchen staff. One of Powell’s sons, Russ, handles the purchase and preparation of all the meat, and his attention to detail is evident in every juicy bite on your plate.
“Russ is very particular about the meat that comes in the door,” says Powell. The steaks are a customer favorite for their flavor — they’re smoked with mesquite and cooked on a grill that was built personally by Russ.
Molly’s is also known for its fresh grilled seafood; the shrimp is a customer favorite. In addition, all the meats are seasoned with Powell’s secret seasoning recipe, which she credits with making their dishes so tasty. “I raised six children with that recipe,” she says with a smile. “Spices are very important. You can’t have a good dinner without them.”
Another of Powell’s sons, Doug, oversees the bar, another area where the restaurant shines. The drinks menu is expansive and trustworthy, no matter what you order. “We have a fairly large selection of wine and some of the craft beers that are so popular nowadays,” Powell notes.
In fact, with the growth of home-brewing, Molly’s is taking advantage of their garden to offer something unique to customers. “We’ve put in a hops garden,” she says, “and we will be able to sell hops to those who make their own beer.” Other items for sale in their gift shop (open Wednesdays through Saturdays) include their seasonings, which are quite popular, a variety of turquoise jewelry, and other sundries.
Finally, a piece of advice if you’ve never eaten at Molly’s before: save room for their desserts, which are made in-house by Jerry Lewellan, a staff member who has been with Molly’s Landing for nearly 30 years. “Jerry is responsible for all of our fabulous desserts,” says Powell. “He can make a carrot cake that is just fabulous. So is his peach cobbler and the white chocolate cheesecake.” Customers can even order a full cake for home parties, she says; just order ahead of time.
Powell is appreciative to her staff, many of whom have been with the restaurant for many years. “I could not do this without them. They are very important,” she says.
And she also appreciates her customers, many of whom have been coming to Molly’s for years. For repeat customers, there is a birthday club you can join. Just sign up when you visit the restaurant and receive a very nice gift the next time you have a birthday. Also if you go to the Molly’s Landing website, you can print a coupon for $15 discount (good when you purchase two dinners and either dessert or an appetizer). It’s just one of many ways in which Molly’s Landing gives back to its guests.
3700 N. Old Hwy 66 | Catoosa
Monday-Saturday: 4-10 p.m.
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