Hank’s Hamburgers

(Cross-posted from Indie Tulsa.)


In Tulsa, the competition for “best mom-and-pop hamburger stand” is fierce (after living here for three and a half years, I’ve yet to find a less than satisfactory burger), but one contender stands out from the pack: Hank’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers, located at 8933 E. Admiral Place — an old alignment of Route 66 on Tulsa’s north side.

Everything I’ve eaten at Hank’s has been good — the chili, the fries, the burgers — but two items stand out from the pack: the Big Okie and the chocolate-covered peanut butter balls. Even after consuming the former (a behemoth of a burger consisting of four, count ’em, FOUR quarter-pound beef patties, layered with cheese, grilled onions, and all the trimmings), I manage to find a little room for the latter.


A couple of years ago, during our first encounter with the peanut butter balls, Ron and I noticed a sign taped to the side of the Pepsi machine that read: “We hate to brag, but these are the best thing you have ever tried.”

It’s a bold assertion, but it comes close to the truth. As far as I’m concerned, there are only two desserts better than a peanut butter ball from Hank’s, and neither is available in Tulsa.*

When Waylon Jennings came through Tulsa, Hank’s was one of his favorite haunts — as evidenced by the autographed photographs of Jennings and his wife, Jessi Colter, hanging in the dining room.

When I stopped by for lunch one afternoon, a radio in the kitchen was playing a James Taylor tune, and the tantalizing smell of grilled onions and sizzling beef hung in the air. I got a single cheeseburger — cooked to order, with grilled onions, mustard, tomato, and pickles — for $2.84 and paid 75 cents apiece for a half-dozen peanut butter balls.

It took all the restraint I could muster to keep from eating the entire bag of rich, creamy, truffle-like creations on the way back to the office.

Roadfood.com did a terrific writeup on Hank’s a couple of years ago. The review includes a photograph of the Big Okie.


Hank’s opened in 1949 and has been in its current location — a small yellow building on Tulsa’s oldest alignment of Route 66, between Mingo and Memorial — for more than 50 years. The restaurant is open from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The dining room closes at 6:30 p.m., so plan accordingly.

Value: A
Service: A+
Product: A+
Overall: A+

*The only two desserts I love more than Hank’s peanut butter balls are the Dutchman’s Delight concrete from Ted Drewes’ Frozen Custard in St. Louis and the maple truffles from Funk’s Grove Maple Sirup in Shirley, Ill.


One Response to “Hank’s Hamburgers”

  1. Cindy Holt Says:

    The above comments are spot on! My husband & I crave these burgers! Our favorite is the Special. You can either get a full half pound pattie or ask for 2 quarter pound patties (we do the 2nd, it tastes more cheesier to us and takes less time to cook!) with this you get a very large fry and a drink (I believe) comes with it. This is nothing like any burger you get anywhere else! It is truly an old fashioned hamburger! Dennis and Marilyn Felts (the owners) along with Annette make sure every burger is made exactly the same. Dennis also makes sure the cheese and meat are aligned straight on the bun! As do the girls with all the trimmings. The first bite is ALWAYS an AHHHHH experience! Even after having been there over 40 times. I also LOVE the chicken sandwich. It is a very large thick crunchy piece of chicken (cooked perfectly). We haven’t had anything there that isn’t good. Also a plus is this place is so clean. A very old building being kept this clean is not seen very often if at all. The chocolate peanut butter balls are homemade by Marilyn and are out of this world. Reese’s doesn’t compare. I have to have two but as stated above it is very hard not to eat many more! The service is impeccable! Dennis is always working, working, working hard at the grill. He is the only one who cooks. I am sure this is why they are always exactly the same and perfect every time. Annette is usually the one who is doing the trimmings and extras. She runs around that place so fast you have to look twice to make sure it could possibly have been a person! AND last but definitely not least, Marilyn is the sweetest person you could ever meet. She greets you quickly, takes your order at the counter and checks you out making sure you get your order done right and it gets to you nice and hot (among 100 other things). We didn’t know these people when we first started going to Hanks, but it is hard not to love them when you go as much as we do. They have become some of our best friends (after the fact)! We love the way they do business and can honestly say they are some of the hardest working people we have ever had the pleasure to meet. Great Great People and Great Great Food!!! Saturday here we come! PS: this place doesn’t need any advertisement either. My words are sincere as I am sure everyone else’s is also. It is busy almost all of the time but they have added another dining room on back so you don’t have to wait to sit (usually)! ENJOY!!!!

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