It takes chutzpah to jump feet first into Tulsa’s well-established and fiercely competitive burger scene. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what Society has done. For the folks behind the scenes, this isn’t their first rodeo. The polished resto-burger-bar is the brainchild of Rib Crib owner Bret Chandler and president Marc Chastain.
They spent more than a year honing the entire concept and it shows. The dining room — with its vintage-y leather booths, industrial accents, and liberal use of stone and poured concrete — feels sleek, modern, and upscale but not uppity.
You’ll come for the burgers and stay for the on-point local craft beers tap.
The menu options look deceptively simple. But, Society makes every sandwich to order, tops it with mostly locally sourced ingredients, and serves it on a housemade bun. You’ll find the mainstays like the Classic (American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and house sauce) which you can upgrade with an egg or bacon.
But, deeper into the menu, things get creative and it’s clear this isn’t a typical roadside burger joint. The Sweet Cheesus, for example, is an unabashedly sloppy mess (I say that with affection) of melted brie, sweet cherry compote, and caramelized onions. The Everything burger stacks twin patties with cream cheese, candied jalapenos, pickled onion, and mayo on an “everything” bun. Every burger comes standard with two patties, so come hungry.
Other options include a Turkey BLT, Clubhouse (chicken club), and even a Seared Tuna sandwich. But, honestly, go for the burgers.
The craft beer selection is top-notch with 16 rotating taps from five Tulsa breweries and another in Stillwater. Most local favorites are represented, including Renaissance Brewing, Prairie Artisan Ales, Cabin Boys Brewery, Marshall Brewing Co., and Dead Armadillo, plus Iron Monk Brewing from Stillwater.
Society sources much of their meats, produce, and desserts from local vendors, including Walke Brothers Meat Co. (Claremore), Rose Rock Creamery, Pancho Anaya Bakery, and Frontier Produce.
We arrived before 5 p.m. on a Thursday, and had the place almost entirely to ourselves. By the time we left less than an hour later, it was already humming with most of the seats filled. The crowd was a mix of all manner of burger lovers, from couples on a date to singles holding down the bar stools, to families with kids.
The vibe is a pitch-perfect modern burger bar — perhaps a little too perfect. It’s a matter of opinion, of course, but I like my restaurants to feel a little “lived in.” Society was no doubt meticulously put together by a team of very skilled professional restaurant designers. But the atmosphere is almost too polished, too tack sharp.
That said, the service was excellent — our waiter was attentive and got everything we ordered spot-on. The twin patties on my Spicy Turkey burger were thinly sliced (think McDonald’s-style), juicy, and very well-seasoned.
We had only two gripes. My date was surprised to find fake “cheese flavored product” (I believe that’s what they have to call it for legal reasons) on her burger. For an elevated burger joint, that hardly seems acceptable. The second: the truffle fries were no bueno. We love French fries and truffle-anything makes just about anything better. But Society’s version tasted overdone and artificial — so much so that we couldn’t even finish them.
The Bottom Line
Overall we enjoyed our visit to Society though, and we definitely plan to go back. If only to try a boozy milkshake flight (I have to assume that’s a thing …). ¬TiOK
The Second Opinion
From the burger section, I chose the Cubano ($9). The ground beef patty was thin but somehow didn’t seem to be too overdone. It was paired with a slice of ham, Swiss cheese, house-made pickle slices, spicy mustard and Dijon mustard on a local Pancho Anaya Bakery bun. The combination was delicious.