White Dog Hill — which opened its doors in 2007 — is a relative newcomer to the Mother Road. The building that houses it, however, has been around since 1926, when it was constructed from native stone as a clubhouse for the Clinton Country Club. Owner Nelson King has spent the better end of three years restoring the property, which is situated on a hill three miles east of downtown Clinton, Okla., that offers diners a sweeping view of the countryside and the town below.
The restaurant’s slogan is, “Come for the view … stay for the food,” and both are worth the trip.
On a recent visit, we started dinner with a large cheese board consisting of three cheeses, bread, an apple, grapes, olives, and mixed nuts, all arranged attractively on a thick wooden board. The appetizer is also available in small and deluxe sizes. The deluxe comes with five cheeses — cheddar, smoked cheddar, gouda, gorgonzola and havarti with dill — and would probably make a light dinner for two all by itself.
Our next course was a Caesar salad, which came with shaved — rather than grated — Parmesan, which I thought was a nice (and flavorful) touch.
For his entree, Ron chose steak, which came with corn on the cob and a potato salad served cold with green beans and a nice vinaigrette. The steak was tender and succulent, and the potato salad was a creative change of pace from the usual mustard-based fare.
I opted for Cornish game hen, with a baked potato and grilled squash on the side. The hen was stuffed with a delicate cranberry-and-wild-rice dressing, and the squash was exceptional — light yet buttery and gently sweetened.
Other options included grilled smoked pork chops, grilled shrimp, catfish (battered or pan seared) and bacon cheddar burgers.
I let Ron finish my hen so I’d have room left for dessert: lemon pecan pie (right). Ron tried Aunt Ole’s Mud Pie (left). He said it was good. I believe him; he’d finished the whole thing before I had a chance to ask for a bite.
Other dessert options include strawberry shortcake — which we’ve had in the past and can wholeheartedly recommend — and raspberry wine ice cream floats, which we haven’t tried.
The service is quick and friendly, and the historic ambience is wonderful. Diners are encouraged to stick around after dinner to enjoy the view from the terrace, which is outfitted with brightly painted Adirondack chairs.
Hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, although King is considering closing on Wednesdays and adding a Sunday brunch instead. A kids’ menu includes a cheddar burger or a grilled cheese sandwich, both served with salad, chips and a drink.
Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Prices are moderate, with entrees ranging from $9.50 for a big bacon cheddar burger to $23 for a 16-oz. ribeye.
Reservations are recommended; call (580) 323-6922. White Dog Hill can also accommodate parties and receptions.
Route 66 Spirit: A-