By SCOTT CHERRY World Scene Writer
Published: 5/24/2012 2:28 AM
I remember when Schlotzsky’s opened its first Tulsa store in the late 1970s, it seemed like a hip, funky place, well-suited for young adults and college students from the nearby University of Tulsa.
It was in a small building at 11th Street and Pittsburg Avenue, which today houses a Tacos Don Francisco.
I also thought the Schlotzsky’s original sandwich with the distinctive sourdough bread was unique and wonderful.
I recently visited two Schlotzsky’s locations – one in Broken Arrow to eat and one in Tulsa for an interview and photos – and found that original sandwich still rings my bell.
I ordered a medium ($4.99), plenty big enough for most appetites. It was loaded with smoked ham, Genoa and cotto salamis, melted cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, black olives, red onion, lettuce, tomato, mustard and a light dressing.
While the combination of flavors is pleasing, it really is the thick bread that makes the sandwich special.
I have a co-worker who goes ga-ga over Schlotzsky’s pizzas, so we ordered an 8-inch grilled chicken and pesto ($4.99), made with a thinner version of the sourdough bread.
I found I would prefer a more traditional pizza crust, but the toppings were impressive. They included big chunks of grilled chicken, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, basil pesto, green onions, black olives and tomatoes, and the pesto gave it a zingy flavor.
We also had a turkey avocado Cobb salad ($7.99) and a medium hand-carved turkey sandwich ($7.99), one of three special sandwiches that will run until June 1. The others are braised beef and mushrooms with fire-roasted vegetables, and hickory-smoked ham with havarti cheese, bacon and honey Dijon dressing.
Our roasted turkey sandwich also had havarti cheese, along with big slices of fresh avocado. We must have been on a turkey-avocado kick because they were in the salad that also included crisp mixed greens, chopped bacon, diced avocado, goat cheese, diced boiled egg, diced tomatoes, black beans and garlic focaccia croutons, topped off with a good house-made ranch dressing.
Schlotzsky’s has undergone some big changes over the past year or so, beginning with ownership. The Ramsey family sold their Oklahoma restaurants back to the corporation, Fancy Foods, according to Scott Mullen, manager of the 71st Street store. Shane Ramsey still is district manager over nine Tulsa- and Oklahoma City-area restaurants, and his brother, J.J., works in the Austin area, where Schlotzsky’s was founded in 1971.
All of the stores have been remodeled with a brighter, more modern look and have been co-branded with Cinnabon and Carvel ice cream, two other Fancy Foods properties. Cinnabon makes classic cinnamon rolls and pecan rolls.
“We open the drive-through at 8 a.m. for Cinnabon items and beverages,” Mullen said. “And ice cream sales are picking up with the warmer weather. Having the three brands in one spot has been popular.”
Source: Tulsa World