For my thirty(mumble mumble)-something birthday this year, my hubby and baby joined me on a more local adventure. We drove past endless stretches of grass and plains as far as the eye can see, with the occasional cow or two, to visit the home and store of one of the first bloggers I followed…The Pioneer Woman.
Ever since I heard about her building a restaurant in Oklahoma, I knew that I would be planning a visit sometime, and a birthday day trip sounded like a great idea. We were able to send one of the kids to the grandparents’ house but decided to bring the baby along, since she is still nursing.
From the Oklahoma City area, the drive was right around two hours to the quaint little town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. There was quite literally nothing around but cows and windmills up until you pull up on this small two-lane road into town.
Look for the line of people outside a building and you will have found the Mercantile. Pawhuska is not a town set up for bustling tourism, however I can see it being built up in the next few years to accommodate all the tourists wanting to catch a glimpse of Ree and her gang and try her famous comfort food.
Yes, there was a line of at least 50-60 people out the door waiting to eat at her restaurant, so we easily decided to forgo lunch there and headed straight inside the retail side. We did go on a Saturday, so the inside was equally busy with people around every corner. With so many people in there, we just briefly perused the plentiful displays of colorful floral tableware and unique and entertaining gifts and headed upstairs to the bakery and sitting area.
The upstairs was a spacious open area, and I’m confused as to why that isn’t another restaurant portion of the Mercantile. Unless I missed it and didn’t see it all, it appeared that the main restaurant downstairs was a rather small area. However, I didn’t really get to thoroughly investigate because of the hoards of people on the restaurant side…so I could be wrong. Although, it is a nice big sitting area to eat your baked goods and hang out.
I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to eat at the deli on this visit, but we did purchase several bakery items – all of which were delicious, decadent and definitely had a boatload of butter. My favorite was probably the brownie with the caramel middle.
After we ate entirely too much sugar, we went back downstairs to obtain a coveted ticket to the Lodge from the cashiers (the main reason I wanted to visit the Mercantile that day). The Lodge is where the Pioneer Woman films her Food Network cooking show and is located on the Drummond land. Check the Mercantile website for dates that they offer tours at the Lodge. (Tour is probably a misnomer, as it was more like an open house)
With our super secret ticket (directions) in hand, we drove the 20 or so minutes on bumpy and dusty gravel roads (you will need a car wash afterward) past the wild horses, down a steep hill to the Lodge.
We took a few photos and videos of all the rooms, enjoyed the beautiful views outside and basically just snooped around the entire home/building. There were (I think) four nice guest rooms, a huge prep kitchen in the back, an enviable walk-in pantry and, of course, the “set” of her cooking show.
Our field trip to the Pioneer Woman Mercantile and Lodge was pretty neat and helped bring the Internet/TV Pioneer Woman to real life for me. I definitely recommend visiting The Lodge. Try to get to the Mercantile early in the morning and visit on a weekday to hopefully avoid the long lines at the restaurant.
We even spotted a couple of friendly (and incredibly lazy) ranch dogs roaming the property and inviting guests. One particular dog laid right in front of the entrance without even flinching when visitors had to step over him. I think the dogs were my baby’s favorite part of the trip.
Have you been to Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile or want to visit? If you’ve been, what do you recommend ordering?