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Juneteenth is a national holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States while also shining a light on African Americans for their accomplishments in enriching the country. However, the recognition of Juneteenth extends beyond the United States, as many other countries celebrate this momentous day in history.
In cities across America, individuals of different ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, and religions are uniting to appreciate and acknowledge Juneteenth, a date in history that has shaped and continued to impact society.
When it comes to Juneteenth, everyone loves a good meal, and what better place to go than Tulsa, Oklahoma. Food serves as a gateway for learning about Black history, as customers become enlightened on Black food and culture. Soul food has always been an essential part of Juneteenth, from dishes like fried chicken, sweet potatoes, cornbread, and collard greens to red foods such as strawberry soda and watermelon, signifying perseverance and resilience.
In Tulsa, these five Black-owned restaurants display what Juneteenth is all about from their meals, warm hospitality, and inclusion.
Sweet Lisa’s Cafe
Sweet Lisa’s Cafe is a soul food restaurant that people love to visit when in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The place on 1717 N Peoria Ave is open Tuesdays-Sundays from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The food is made from the heart, as some customers believe it is the best soul food they have ever tasted. According to Kourtney J on menupix, “Sweet Lisa’s is the best soul food restaurant in Tulsa! No one can compare to their finger-lickin’ cuisine. I have been SEVERAL times and have never been disappointed.
If you are looking for great southern cooking, this is your stop! Enjoy!” The soul food place serves catfish, tilapia, chicken breast, hamburgers, pork chops, and many more options. Because of their delicious, flavorful food and welcoming etiquette, customers love coming back to Sweet Lisa’s Cafe!
Wanda J’s serves up flavor during Juneteenth
As soul food is a significant element in Black culture, it is the staple factor of Wanda J’s, located in the historic Greenwood District, 111 N Greenwood Ave. Wanda J’s is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Since 1974, the restaurant has been serving the Greenwood community. Many customers are astounded after first tasting Wanda J’s, like Madeline on Yelp, “Something I have learned in my twenty-five years of life-if you go to a restaurant where they serve food on plastic plates and styrofoam cups, you KNOW it’s going to be good.
This local restaurant needs nothing except the food to speak for its incredible quality. Whether customers come for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, they are in for a good treat with the delicious food, hospitality, and great environment at Wanda J’s.”
Evelyn’s Soul Food
Evelyn’s Soul Food is one of Tulsa’s hidden masterpieces, as many people do not know about this soul food sensational place. This restaurant is intertwined with Wanda J’s, as Wanda J named the business after her mother, Evelyn. Serving southern-style comfort food that every Tulsan enjoys, the restaurant is located at 3014 N 74th East Ave. Evelyn’s Soul Food is closed on the weekends but stays open from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A popular dish is the chicken fried steak, lightly breaded and crisped to perfection, paired with macaroni and cheese and fried okra. Meg R commented on Yelp, “My only regret was not finding this place the day I moved to Tulsa…And as soon as the food arrived, it was obvious I had been missing out. My chicken fried chicken was beyond my wildest dreams, well-seasoned and perfectly cooked. The whole place was a hug from Grandma and memories of Sunday suppers. I want more.”
One thing is sure: Evelyn’s Soul Food is home to the best authentic soul food, having customers coming back for seconds.
Mack’s Wings is a local Black-owned business on 782 East Pine Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The place is open Tuesdays to Saturdays and closes on Tuesday to Thursday at 8 p.m. while staying open till 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Many customers consider Mack’s Wings to be home to the best wings.
Along with the variety of flavorful wings, the place offers sides: regular fries, sweet potato fries, seasoned fries, cauliflower bites, and Hawaiian rolls. Brett W on Yelp stated, “Holy cow!!! I will never have chicken wings anywhere else again! The food is amazing. The flavor combination of the dry rub was by far the greatest thing ever! The twist, though, was where it is at! I didn’t need ranch at all to enhance that flavor. They also have cauliflower for those who don’t do meat! We will be back over and over again!”
Whether you like bones or flats, Mack’s Wings offers it all and has various flavors for the customers to choose from on Juneteenth and beyond.
Big Daddy’s BBQ
Big Daddy’s BBQ brings back new flavor to Tulsa, proving that they are more than just a BBQ. The restaurant is located at 2303 West 41st Street. The restaurant is open every day besides Sundays, as the hours from Monday to Wednesday are 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., while from Thursday to Saturday they stay open until 7:30 p.m.
From pulled pork and brisket to baked beans and okra, the restaurant offers southern-style comfort food to Tulsans. However, the goodness doesn’t stop there, as they also serve fish, potato salad, turkey legs, cheeseburgers, cole slaw, loaded fries, loaded potatoes, and many more beautiful options. Liberty Meavita left a Google review, “Been all over the country, and nobody’s bbq can even come close…If you haven’t tried it, you are definitely missing out and need to fix that. Great prices, big portions of food. If I was on death row, this would be my last meal.”
In addition, they have affordable deals for customers, such as “Little Daddy Potato and drink for $5”, “Little Daddy Sandwich and drink for $5”, and “Cheeseburger Combo for $6.99.” Not only does the restaurant offer low-priced deals, but wonderful tasting food that leaves customers speechless.
Although Tulsa has many great Black-owned restaurants, these five are highly recommended by Tulsans, proving that their impeccable food is the best of the best. All these restaurants provide customers exceptional comfort food to indulge in Black culture and history in every bite.