I love nothing more than a random back-country burger place. The Meers Store, while most definitely located in the back-country, is not random. This little gem shows up on every 'hidden treasure' type list in Oklahoma and the poor little joint just can't keep up.
I will concede, we visited on a Saturday. A slow Wednesday lunch experience is bound to be better. We did have the foresight to arrive early, at least, so as to avoid standing in a crazy long line for hours. Nevertheless, we were one of the last ones to squeak by without a wait and as a result, we were seated...in...THE BACKROOM.
I hate the backroom.
I hate the backroom of anyplace. For quaint cafes and adorable diners, it's an afterthought for managing big parties and overflow. For diners, it feels like you're being robbed of the authentic experience, stowed away with the extra chairs. The backroom at the Meers Store was especially terrible. Only half the room was lighted and open for seating. We sat next to an elevated roped-off section with chairs stacked on tables. Other diners were seated next to an open wait station, placed directly in the path of waitresses frantic drink-making and POS-pounding.
But the worst thing about this backroom was the air conditioning. An elaborate system of exposed air ducts blasted a frosty breeze directly onto our table. More specifically, onto my brother, Luke. His light spring windbreaker could not keep up. It flapped violently in the current of conditioned air, offering him nothing in the way of warmth.
Now, Luke is no shrinking violet. He's a sturdy fellow. But he was no match for this cooling system. He politely asked the waitress to turn the A/C down a touch. When she demurred, he offered her a cash settlement in exchange for relief from the oppressive air.
She giggled a walked away.
He stewed and when she returned, Luke pressed her again.
"Seriously. Can you turn that thing off?"
The waitress explained that this single, enormous, high powered vent directly above our heads was the sole source of cool air for the entire god-forsaken restaurant.
I went out to the car to collect scraps of clothing for myself and the children. On my way back in, I noticed an open table in the main dining room. It was large enough for all of us, tucked in a corner and there was a warm ray of sun shining on it.
I've never coveted a table so much as I coveted that table.
Ah, to sit at that table! To bask in the golden sun! To admire the plentiful kitschy decor! To people watch people who are not dying a slow death of hypothermia!
I steeled my nerves and returned to my dungeon-table to wait for our food.
We huddled together for warmth. We finished our appetizer. The children squirmed and the grown-ups grumbled. Finally, Luke could handle it no more. He announced that we were getting our food to go and we were going to eat outside. Both Luke and I have worked in the service industry. We know it's a cardinal sin to relocate your party or change your order after it's been placed. Our situation was dire enough, and Luke was pissed off enough, that we didn't care. He stood up to hunt down our waitress and before he could get out of the walk-in cooler they call a dining room, plates started arriving. Or, rather, pie tins full of food.
Luke sat back down, ate his burger in record time and excused himself.
The rest of us picked at our food, not really even hungry anymore, and quickly fled the ice-box/storage closet.
As for the food, the water tasted funny, the burgers were gritty and I'm just generally turned off by freakishly large portions.
Give the place a try if you're in the area and want to experience a legend. But avoid weekends and peak hours, if you can.
If you're in the area and want actual good food, skip the Meers Store and go to Ann's Country Kitchen instead!
The Meers Store: HC 30, Box 1889, Meers, OK 73501
Sunday: 10:30 am - 8:30 pm
Monday: 10:30 am - 8:30 pm
Wednesday: 10:30 am - 8:30 pm
Thursday: 10:30 am - 8:30 pm
Friday: 10:30 am - 9:00 pm
Saturday: 10:30 am - 9:00 pm