2233 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK
Swadley’s has expanded recently, and now the locations include Mustang, El Reno, and this one in front of Quail Springs Mall in far north Oklahoma City. I have been a frequent visitor to the original location in Bethany, and my expectation was that the Memorial Road restaurant would largely reinforce my previous experiences (and this largely turned out to be the case). Although I like to write reviews of each restaurant based on its own merits, I know that the meat for all Swadley’s restaurants is cooked in a central location, and there is quite a bit of continuity from one location to the others.
I have come to expect a certain level of inconsistency at the Bethany Swadley’s, as is the case with almost all barbecue restaurants (especially the chains). Swadley’s is good enough that I never feel that I have a bad meal, but I feel that certain details are inconsistent. At times some of the meats are dry, the vegetables are off, etc., but fortunately this is the exception rather than the rule.
At the Memorial Road restaurant I ordered a two-meat platter with Pulled Pork and Chicken (meats that are normally good at the Bethany restaurant and that were good here). In fact, the chicken seemed better than usual, while the pulled pork was as good as usual. Both were moist and flavorful (but I thought the pork had a better flavor).
The “inconsistencies” here were mostly with the vegetables. The Okra here was at a point that I would say was far better than I have been getting in Bethany recently (although in the past the Bethany restaurant had very good okra). It came out at the right temperature, was not too greasy, and the breading was crunchy.
The Green Beans here were noticeably spicy, and I just did not care for them as much as at the Bethany location. Overall I thought the restaurant demonstrated a very good cooking technique for the vegetables, with the green beans being a possible exception. The cole slaw was good (maybe better than in Bethany), and overall I thought this location matched the original in overall quality.
My experience over time has been that the ribs, pulled pork, chicken, and turkey are probably the best meats, but I would say really the first two. These are the same meats I would recommend from almost all the city’s barbecue restaurants (except that most others do not have turkey as good as at Swadley’s). Swadley’s also has a larger choice of meats than at most restaurants, for those who want to try something different.
Over time I have gone from considering Swadley’s sauce as a negative to thinking it is OK (although not as good as at Billy Sims or some other restaurants). The thick and juicy sauce is my preference at Swadley’s.
Like the Bethany restaurant, the Memorial Road Swadley’s has good service and a comfortable “family style” dining room. This sets it apart from many other barbecue restaurants, and is one of the reasons I really like Swadley’s. I think if you get the ribs, pulled pork, or some of the other meats (depending on your taste) you will be getting a real taste of Oklahoma barbecue.