Grilled cheese, you’ve come a long way baby. The beloved grilled cheese sandwich has, in reality been around for longer than we know in one form or another. In the 1920′s however with the invention of pre-sliced bread and processed cheese, it really started becoming a staple. Flash forward to today where it is now becoming an art form. And here in Oklahoma City, no one does grilled cheese sandwiches better than The Mule.
Grilled cheese is so beloved by all, it not only gets its own National day (April 12), but an entire National Month (April) as well. I saw a million recipes for gourmet and classic versions alike floating around the net, in magazines and newspapers during the month of April.
Fortunately, we get to go to The Mule without having to slave over a hot griddle when we want a fantastic form of grilled cheese sandwich. And it’s right here in the City on the corner of 16th and Blackwelder in the up and coming hip Plaza District.
I’ve been to The Mule several times now and have enjoyed sampling all the different sandwiches, sides and even the desserts. Everything I’ve tried has been delicious, with a well thought-out menu that is hard to choose from!
Owners John Harris and Joey Morris met as kids. Their parents were friends, and quite awhile later they headed off as college students to Oklahoma State University where they met co-owners Cody Rowan and Roger Eleftherakis. Joey and Cody worked together at Eskimo Joes while John was working at the original Hideaway Pizza in Stillwater and as John puts it “Roger was training to be our CPA”. They graduated in 2008 but the slumping economy wasn’t ready for a English, Spanish and History major so they just kept working in restaurants in Oklahoma City where, during those four years they dreamed up a grilled cheese eatery. All four are native Oklahomans hailing from Stillwater, Owasso and Edmond..
I asked John who had the grilled cheese fetish and he told me they all did. Many late nights together birthed up some of the recipes you’ll get to try at The Mule today and the possibilities are endless due to the limitless variations that can be used.
So, on to The Mule!
I would say the ambiance of The Mule interior is rustic diner meets hipster bar.
This week, we went early, around 11 a.m. to try to beat the Saturday lunch rush. The place wasn’t empty for long.
By the time we left, the eatery was packed with diners, the tables and bar counter were full of eager folks waiting for their sandwiches as others lined up in the small waiting area and outside in the gorgeous weather.
The bar is a long beaten golden stretch of counter with stools. Featured prominently behind the bar is the “Leave A Drink” chalkboard.
The Mule invites you to use this colorful “Leave a Drink Wall,” where you can buy drinks for your friends to redeem on a future date. Apparently, many folks have taken full advantage of this offer as it is covered in brightly colored pastel chalk names and cocktails.
The Mule also offers many local craft beer as well as others and there is also a long list of liquors as well as some old fashioned cocktails.
We started off our meal with two appetizers. These both were divinely good.
First up was an order of the Fried Cheese Curds. Watonga Cheese Curds battered and fried with a side of Marinara and Ranch.
The batter on these is light, airy and crispy and the inside is like a gooey-warm piece of heaven.
We also had an order of the Okie Poutine.
Poutine is native to Canada and typically is served there as french fries covered in brown gravy and melted cheese curds. The Mule’s southern version switches out white (and really good white!) gravy for the traditional brown and then tops it with more of those delicious Watonga cheese curds. They are gooey, savory-deliciousness in every bite. I know I keep using the word “gooey” but at The Mule, gooey is prevalent, and in a really good way.
On a side note, the regular fries at The Mule are delicious, beer battered, crispy and sprinkled with some kind of savory curry spice…I adore them.
Next up, and I appreciated this healthy option on the menu after consuming cheese, gravy and fried bits – The Beet.
This fresh and delicious salad comes with Roasted Beets, Chili Peanut Brittle, Goat Cheese, Arugula, Strawberry, and Orange Tarragon Vinaigrette. Yes I did say Chili Peanut Brittle and it was really fun to crunch into in this salad!
The Mule also offers, what else, but Tomato Bisque and if you want it as an appetizer, you can get it surrounded by 2 classic, cut, grilled cheese sandwiches to dip in it. And of course, it comes topped with sprinkles of …cheese.
Now, onto the sandwiches (or Sammies on the Mule menu)!
The Mule features specials each week, and here is where Chef Ryan Walters gets to play creative. Running while the they remain in the playoffs, is a sandwich honoring and built around our beloved Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team starting five (they’re in the playoffs!). This, ladies and gentlemen is “The Rumbler” .
The Rumbler is packed with bison meatloaf and also the following:
#0 Russell Westbrook (currently injured) – from southern Cali – avocado,
#2 Thabo Sefolosha-from Switzerland, Swiss cheese.
#5 Kendrick Perkins – from Texas, short ribs.
#9 Serge Ibaka – from the Congo, pilipili aioli. (African hot sauce)
#35 Kevin Durant -from Baltimore, Old Bay Seasoning.
Bison is delicious by the way if you haven’t tried it!
I believe this was the favorite of the two guys at our table. The Macaroni Pony.
The bread here is a jalapeño cornbread, and it is packed with Chipotle BBQ Pulled Pork, and 3 Cheese Mac and Cheese and a pickle. This is glorious. I don’t know how they toast these sandwiches (and the other sandwiches), but they are super crisp and delicious. Tim, my daughters friend, was in love with this sandwich. Just in love with it.
Ladies, there are sandwiches to please you as well. This is one of my favorites. The Portacatoosa.
This time there is sourdough bread, roasted Portabellos, Fontina and Goat cheese along with sundried
tomato pesto, and the top of the crispy sandwich is drizzled with a balsamic reduction. I. Love. This.
Think you can’t eat a special needs diet at The Mule? Think again. They not only offer gluten free bread and even a vegan sandwich. Kayla, my part time vegan child got this. The Herbivore.
This meatless, dairy-less sandwich involved Vienna Wheat, cashew cheese, roasted beets, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, avocado, grillied japaleños, grilled onions, and chipotle aioli. If you want it pure vegan, ask!
There is dessert at The Mule and it comes in the form of yet another grilled sandwich, this time in the sweet way. The Grand Lake Monte Cristo.
This is a crispy sandwich of white bread, peanut butter, raspberry preserves, dark chocolate. The grilled sandwich warms the peanut butter and chocolate and it’s gooey and delicious; and did I mention? It’s all capped off with a heaping scoop of local food truck Roxy’s Salted Caramel Ice Cream.
1630 N. Blackwelder
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
website & menu
Here’s a map to help you find The Mule!