Braum’s Ice Cream (Rockwell Ave.)–Oklahoma City, OK

Braum’s Ice Cream & Dairy Store
10920 N. Rockwell Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 722-8126
Braum's at Rockwell & Hefner

Braum’s in northwest Oklahoma City


Many people who live in the area where there is a Braum’s remember the television commercials featuring Ernest, a character who was not entirely aware of his surroundings or how he should act towards other people, but who had enough savvy to recognize the excellent ice cream that was served. I do not think many people needed to be reminded that a Braum’s store was located in just about every town and neighborhood throughout Oklahoma and surrounding areas, but even those who did not have ice cream on their shopping list might remember how much they enjoyed some of the other items sold in the store or served from the grills found at each location.

Based in Tuttle, Oklahoma, Braum’s is probably as well known for its hamburgers as its dairy products. The milk, eggs, and other dairy products are produced on its farm, and the beef used in the hamburgers comes from the farm as well. Some items sold do not have the Braum’s label, but most are produced by the company and sold exclusively in its stores.

The company has built other stores in about a 300 mile radius from central Oklahoma, ensuring that everything sold has the same standard of freshness and quality. I have purchased items in several Braum’s locations in western Oklahoma and Texas, and I believe that there is really no difference in the stores regardless of where they are located.

With such a wide variety of items produced, there will of course be both hits and misses. I think some of the best items in the store are the ice cream, milk, butter, bread, and pimiento cheese spread. The misses involve some of the ice cream flavors, some types of bread, and definitely some of the grilled items from the restaurant. I do not expect everyone to have the same tastes as I do, but I will provide my experiences with the items I have tried.

The Restaurant
The location at Rockwell and Hefner in northwest Oklahoma City was recently rebuilt, with the new store and restaurant opening in 2017. The old one had been there at least since the 1980’s and was probably in need of upgrading (the major problem I saw was that it was too small to stock some of the items I found at other Braum’s locations).

The former building

The old Braum’s before it was remodeled

While the consistency maintained by Braum’s is definitely a good factor for the stores, it may or may not be a positive where the restaurant is concerned. You know what you are going to get at their grill (which I think barely qualifies as a fast food restaurant). On the other hand, there is no room for local stores to add items or change the menu in any way.

Grilled chicken with green chile

Grilled chicken with green chile was a special Braum’s was offering

Knowing that all stores serve the same food, though, I can say that the best item I have found is the Grilled Chicken. From time to time they have offered it with green chile, which makes it even better, but I do think the chicken sandwich is fairly good in itself. I did not care for the one that was battered (Crispy Chicken Sandwich), and I do not recommend this one.

Crispy chicken sandwich

Crispy chicken sandwich

It has been a number of years since I tried the hamburgers at Braum’s. I used to like them (compared to many I have had in other areas of the country), but for Oklahoma I do not think they are in the top tier.

The French Fries are fairly good, and I do not think there is anything that especially distinguishes them as being especially good or bad.

Chicken salad

Apple cranberry walnut chicken salad

I took a picture of the Apple Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad. The person who ordered it did not think it was especially good, but I cannot say from personal experience.

Drinks
I used to be a big fan of the Limeade made at the fountain, but the ones lately have seemed to be lacking the flavor they should have.

Limeade

Limeade

What I would recommend in terms of flavor is the Milk Shake, although I have found better ones at other restaurants.

Ice Cream

One of Braum's many ice cream flavors

Pumpkin ice cream is sold seasonally

There are two ways to get ice cream at Braum’s. Cartons are available in the store to take home, or you can order individual scoops from the counter. The majority of flavors are rotated either seasonally (such as the pumpkin) or at a seemingly random schedule throughout the year. The most popular flavors (vanilla, chocolate, lime sherbet, etc.) are available all the time. I have quite a few favorite flavors, but when ordering individual scoops I like to get the combination of chocolate and orange sherbet.

Hot fudge sundae

Hot fudge sundae

Some fancier ice cream desserts are available from the counter, such as sundaes and the banana split. The Hot Fudge Sundae is a customer favorite that I also think is very good.

Brownie fudge sundae

Brownie fudge sundae

The Brownie Fudge Sundae, though is my personal favorite. The brownie on the bottom makes it taste somewhat like an ice cream cake, except the chocolate flavor makes it better than most.

Molten lava cake

Molten lava cake

The Molten Lava Cake is a “double dip” sundae, like the brownie fudge sundae (with two scoops of ice cream), so like the brownie fudge it might be something that would be best to share (I would either do this or plan to take some of it home).

Strawberry mix

Strawberry mix in vanilla yogurt

The Mix is prepared somewhat like a milk shake, except that it is meant to be eaten as a dessert. You can get a choice of drinks (such as ice cream or yogurt in various flavors) with various ingredients added (anything from strawberry to Oreo cookies). I like these best either when freshly served or when they are just barely thawing out after being stored in the freezer at home (in other words, cold to partially frozen).

The Store
While the sundaes are treats that I am able to enjoy occasionally, items from the store are part of my daily menu, at least while I am within 300 miles of Braum’s farm in Tuttle, Oklahoma. Although I am not sure if Braum’s makes their own bread, the Braum’s stores are the only place I can buy it. My favorite is Braum’s Raisin Bread, which is usually part of my breakfast. When compared to other raisin breads sold in stores, this is by far the best I have found. There used to be a better one at Sun Harvest in El Paso, but apparently it is no longer available at Sprouts (the store that bought out Sun Harvest), and in any case I am very happy with Braum’s raisin bread.

Nine Grain Bread

Nine Grain Bread

I do not have quite as much of a glowing review of the Nine Grain Bread, but it is equally a part of my grocery shopping since I find it to be a good bread for most sandwiches. I do find better bread in stores such as Sprouts, but these tend to have a short shelf life while the nine grain from Braum’s lasts long enough that I can usually use most of the loaf.

For a while Braum’s discontinued the nine grain bread along with a couple of others and introduced some new breads to replace them. I never became a fan of the new breads, and after a while they started selling the old ones again (fortunately the raisin bread was not one that they discontinued, but I am always on the lookout for others I can use as a substitute).

Pimiento spread

Pimiento spread

Price’s pimiento spread is very popular in El Paso and became a favorite of mine, but when I am in Braum’s territory I prefer to get their version (one that I think has a better flavor and more “kick” to it from the pimientos).

Tamales

Tamales

The frozen Tamales sold by Braum’s are ones that I would probably describe as average, although I did think the red chile used for flavoring was pretty good. The masa was not soggy and had a good texture. The chile was about 3 out of 5 on my “chile scale.”

Because Braum’s has its own farm this gives me extra confidence to buy their milk, butter, and eggs. I cannot say the flavor is really any better than anyone else’s but I do think it is better to get dairy products (and meat) that does not come out of the standard factory farm and feedlot system.

Braum’s uses its own beef for the hamburgers it serves, but they explained that the beef sold in their market comes from other producers (but they have the same standards Braum’s uses on its farm).

Additional Comments
Although I find ways to live without Braum’s when I am not in Oklahoma, it is certainly something I like to have when I can. Braum’s sells both its own products and ones from other companies in its stores, but Braum’s name brands are the ones that I go out of my way to get. With some items, such as the ice cream, it is just that it is good, convenient, and comes in such a wide variety of flavors that it never gets boring. With other items, such as the raisin bread, I have not found any others that I like as well.

I do have some issues with the Braum’s company (in contrast to its products). For instance, when the Rockwell store was being remodeled the surrounding stores were frequently out of my favorite items (such as the raisin bread). I think the company failed to account for the fact that the customers from the Rockwell store would be shopping at the other stores, and they did not keep a large enough inventory of items. This is speculation, but sometimes I question some of their business decisions (I certainly questioned why they discontinued the nine grain bread for a while).

Now there is a controversy about Braum’s wanting to purchase the old Patio Restaurant at N.W. 50th and Classen Boulevard and tear it down to build one of their new stores. I certainly hope this does not happen, and if it does I will step up my search to find alternatives to Braum’s products I can buy (although this will probably turn out to be as futile as it has been until now).

Overall I would say that there is good reason for Braum’s popularity in Oklahoma, and this is one of my top recommendations for visitors to try. I can think of very few desserts I would rather have than Braum’s brownie fudge sundae, and I really can say the same thing about their ice cream cones.

In doing research for this write-up I found that they probably have more locations in Dallas than in Oklahoma City, and every major city with a Braum’s seems to have multiple locations (check their web site for details).


RATING: N/R

Cuisine: Ice Cream/ Sandwiches
Cost: $
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No
Additional Locations: Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas

Most Recent Visit: Jun. 29, 2017
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Ice Cream, Sundaes, Raisin Bread, Pimiento Spread

Special Ratings
star 5 Ice Cream
star 4 Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Hatch Green Chile
star 2 Crispy Chicken Sandwich
star 3 Pork Tamales
star 4 French Fries
star 4 Milk Shake
star 5 Brownie Fudge Sundae
star 5 Molten Lava Cake
star 5 Strawberry Mix

Oklahoma Station–Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma Station Bar B Q (Closed)
4331 N.W. 50th St.
Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma Station BBQ

Oklahoma Station BBQ


Although Oklahoma Station is one of the oldest barbecue restaurants in Oklahoma City, a change of ownership in 2015 not only prompted me to start over with a new review but more importantly, I think the food is quite different than before. The menu is the same and on the outside everything looks the same, but I have noticed marked differences in the items I have ordered.

In some cases these differences are good. For instance, the smoked turkey not only seems better than before, it is also my current choice as the best in Oklahoma City (this has been the case the three times I have gone to the new Oklahoma Station, so I don’t think this is likely to change).

The outside smoker

The outside smoker

Some items are about the same as before, and this is a good thing. Included on this list are the okra, sweet beans, creamy cole slaw, and most of all the incomparable banana pudding (at least I have not found any others that match the pudding at Oklahoma Station).

Some other meat items pose quite a mystery to me as to why they could be so good before but so forgettable at the current restaurant (especially when the turkey has been consistently good).

The Barbecue
The first thing I should point out is that there are more meat items available than are listed in the review, and as is the case with most barbecue restaurants, I have not been able to try them all. You can get a head start, though, with the three meat combination dinner (shown in the next two photos). Both of these served as a meal for two people with leftovers to take home, but your appetite may vary.

Three meat dinner

Brisket, turkey, ribs, creamy cole slaw, Texas toast, okra

The Smoked Turkey has seen a marked improvement over the ones I tried at the “old” restaurant. The gentleman in the serving line included it in his list of recommendations, and based on this I would say asking the employees is a good starting point if you are not sure which items to order.

I thought the turkey had everything required of good barbecue– it was cooked well, it had a good smoky flavor, and the meat was high quality. I recently had the opportunity to order the turkey at Swadley’s (another contender for the best turkey in the city), and I would say Oklahoma Station was the clear winner.

Three meat dinner with pork tenderloin, ham, and turkey

Pork tenderloin, ham, turkey, creamy cole slaw, okra, apple cobbler, sweet beans

The Pork Tenderloin was one of my favorite items before, but the one I had recently was dry. In fact, dry meat was a common theme with many of the meats I have ordered here. The Brisket had the added problem of being tough, but it had a better flavor than many of the others.

The Pork Spare Ribs have been my biggest disappointment at the new restaurant, with the texture and flavor of the meat seeming so wrong I was wondering if they just had a bad day.

Ham is an item I have only tried at the new restaurant, and I thought it had an excellent flavor but was dry. Somewhat inexplicably a piece I took home as a leftover was much better, so based on this I am rating this as one of the better items at the restaurant.

Side Dishes
The creamy Cole Slaw was one of the best in the city at the old restaurant, and I think it is the same now. They have two types of cole slaw, and I have always found it best to stick with the creamy one (rather than the vinegar based version).

The Sweet Beans were excellent.

The fried Okra has been excellent two out of three times, with a good flavor and texture. Like all the side dishes they frequently put out fresh batches, but if you happen to be there when they do not look fresh out of the oven I would advise ordering something else.

Several other vegetables and side dish choices are available, and I think the selection here is unmatched by any other barbecue restaurant in the city. Generally the items are fresh, but in the case of the okra they will tell you if it is not right out of the oven (and therefore you may not want to order it).

Be sure to check the “relish bar” in front of the restaurant for pickles or other appetizers (customers can take whatever they want).

Desserts

Banana pudding and cherry cobbler

Banana pudding and cherry cobbler

The Banana Pudding was my favorite dessert at the old restaurant, and is still available. Somehow they have found the secret to making the best banana pudding I have found anywhere, but I think the secret is just keeping it simple but making sure everything is fresh and follows the recipe correctly.

There was a great variation in the cobbler, though. The Apple Cobbler was excellent, but I thought the Cherry Cobbler was bland.

Additional Comments
I have discovered that high quality iced tea is an integral part to the full enjoyment of a barbecue meal, and the fresh brewed tea here is among the best (sweet tea is also available).

The trouble with the new Oklahoma Station, compared to the old one, is that only a few items have impressed me as being standouts. If you are looking for turkey and banana pudding, I would say this is the best restaurant in town. Some other items are solid, including the ham and several of the side dishes. I had one fairly good experience with the pork tenderloin, but it was not up to the standard I found at the old restaurant. The brisket and ribs are certainly letdowns compared to what the restaurant served before (in my opinion, of course, but I do owe it to readers to give you my best judgment).


RATING: 18

Cuisine: Barbecue
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily except Sun. Evening
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No

Most Recent Visit: Jun. 24, 2017
Number of Visits: 3
Best Items: Turkey, Sweet Beans, Cole Slaw, Banana Pudding

Special Ratings
star 5 Turkey
star 4 Ham
star 4 Pork Tenderloin
star 3 Brisket
star 3 Ribs
star 4 Okra
star 5 Sweet Beans
star 5 Cole Slaw
star 5 Banana Pudding
star 3 Cherry Cobbler