Located in the heart of Tulsa’s bustling Arts District, Prairie Brewpub is a mainstay of the city’s beer-centric restaurant scene. The low-key vibe attracts a mostly young crowd who keep the place humming from lunch till well after dinner. Like most T-Town eateries, it’s a casual yet elevated atmosphere that’s equally suited for a business lunch, a pre-game beer flight, or a relaxed first date.
Inside, it’s a textbook example of the designer look popular in many of today’s higher-end brewpubs. Exposed stone and overhead piping, and liberal use of wood combine to create a modern, industrial, rustic aesthetic. It’s clear someone put serious thought into the design which is beautiful without feeling contrived.
For lunch, Prairie Brewpub offers an abbreviated version of its dinner menu. This includes a few salads and hearty soups/stews. The entrees are limited mostly to handhelds (like burger, fish tacos, and chicken wraps) and several heartier plates like Chicken Fried Ribeye.
The expanded dinner menu offers two dozen options including appetizers, soups, salads, and entrees. Save for the obvious lighter fare (the Caprese Spring Salad or Chicken Noodle Soup), almost everything is hearty, comfort food with a subtle twist. Shareable plates include a Pickle & Cheese Platter and nachos, plus more inventive options like Candied Bacon Baby Poblanos. Ditto the list of entrees which features Chicken Fried Ribeye, Beer Battered Fish & Chips, and Chef’s Ramen (with optional pork belly).
What immediately caught my eye was the featured beers: big, bold, and inventive.
Before looking at the dinner menu, it was obvious that Prairie Brewpub offers a solid beer menu. Like any great brewpub, they rotate the taps frequently while a few mainstays are always available. What immediately caught my eye, however, was the featured beers. They’re big, bold, and inventive. Their Oh Fudge, for example, is described thusly: “We brewed our Imperial Stout and added brownies for a smooth and sweet beer that would make a perfect dessert after dinner.”
But, their Barrel Aged Birthday Bomb! seriously ups the ante: “We took our Birthday Bomb! and tucked it away in bourbon barrels for the past year. Coffee, Cacao nibs, vanilla beans, chili peppers, caramel, and toffee are all amplified by a subtle booziness we’ve all grown to love.” And, it’s a whopping 14.7% ABV.
Even if you’re not hungry, Prairie is a great place for craft beer lovers looking to sidestep the typical lineup of “ordinary” styles. Fortunately, we showed up hungry …
This visit, my date and I kept it simple with a dual order of Prairie Burgers. The patties were juicy, well-seasoned, perfectly cooked, and full of flavor. Ours were a slightly different take on their standard burger offering with Swiss cheese, bacon, grilled mushrooms & onions, and Sriracha mayo. They came piled on dense, lightly buttered buns giving the sandwiches a good bun-to-burger ratio. Given Tulsa’s densely packed burger scene, competition is fierce. Prairie’s burger ranks better than average in my opinion, and I mean that as a sincere compliment.
The side of “crack fries” was good, but not great. With the promise of truffle oil, sea salt, and Parmesan cheese, I had high hopes. Sadly, the latter was noticeably absent from both of our orders. Plus, the promise of crack fries probably set our expectations too high.
The Bottom Line
Prairie Brewpub is worth a visit based on the consistently awesome beer list alone. Plus, the attentive service and a solid menu of hearty, creative comfort food will keep us coming back. ¬TiOK