Braum’s Ice Cream & Dairy Store
10920 N. Rockwell Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
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 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 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 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
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.
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.
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.
What I would recommend in terms of flavor is the Milk Shake, although I have found better ones at other restaurants.
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
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
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
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 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).
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
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).
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).
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).
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).