The Hungry Horny Toad Station

A former gas station on historic Route 66 has found a new life refueling hungry travelers—and it’s quickly becoming a classic.

The Hungry Horny Toad Station

The Hungry Horny Toad Connection sandwich is a staff original.  Photo by Hayley Leatherwood

Story Highlights

The Townsend family relocated to Chandler, Oklahoma because of the tight-knit community. They fed their friends and family, catering off the tailgate of a truck before buying a space on America’s highway.


The Hungry Horny Toad Station is known for its nostalgic atmosphere and decor, which includes local and national highway signs and Route 66 memorabilia.


The station offers unique staff-created menu items as well as barbecue classics and burgers.

Before stepping inside the distinctive, original-bricked building, automobile fans may be lucky enough to be treated to some colorful eye candy. Today a Ferrari and a Porsche bring the garage parking lot back to its glory days.

The dining room decor is an instant spark for conversation. Local and national highway signs, license plates and Route 66 memorabilia are artfully displayed on all the walls. The first greeters are, of course, a pair of horny toads who have a happy home in their zoo-approved terrarium.

The namesake, and the garage restoration, have been a labor of love for owner Floyd Townsend. Townsend fell in love with the small-knit community of Chandler, Oklahoma, and 16 years ago he and his wife Kristina made the decision to relocate their family.

The Townsends have always enjoyed feeding friends and family, but a few years ago that started expanding. They began catering off the tailgate of a truck for local businesses, and that quickly grew into a 27-foot-long concession trailer.

When the opportunity came to purchase their special spot on America’s highway, the family jumped at the chance, even knowing the road to success would be filled with a lot of hard work. The 1940s garage was filled floor-to-ceiling from years of lack of use. In one year, Townsend had taken the building down to its most basic form and restored it with brand new water, electric and a state-of-the-art kitchen.

“The first time we got to sit on our patio and look inside and see people enjoying themselves,” Townsend pauses, touched by the memory, “that was a feeling I’ll never forget.”

As far as the unique name, the Townsends didn’t have to look further than their own coffee table. Growing up, Floyd always played with horny toads. To remember those days, a metal sculpture of the desert creature graced their living room. Kristina suggested they name the restaurant “The Horny Toad,” and their son added the word “Hungry.” Since then, the name stuck and the sculpture found a new home at the front register.  

“It’s been a heck of a ride,” Floyd says.

The station is a gathering place, filled with friends and neighbors enjoying ice cold classic Cokes and talking not only with their table but also the folks around them. Tourists have filled every line in the second sign-in book in eight short months. A quick glance will show locations from Alaska, Canada, Japan and Korea to name a few.

 


Travel Tip: Bring the kids! Owner Floyd Townsend often brings one of the horny toads out to visit young travelers. He provides a science lesson for the family, and youngsters even get the chance to gently rub the toad’s belly.


 

“It’s not fast food,” daughter-in-law and server Chelsea Townsend says. “But it is great quality food brought to your table fast.”

Floyd credits his hard-working staff for excellent and friendly service.

“I believe in all of them,” Floyd says. “I tell them to run this place like they own it, and if they are inspired to make a new item, it could make it on the menu.”

One of those staff creations is “The Hungry Horny Toad Connection.” The sandwich begins with a generous helping of tender pulled pork topped with two kinds of cheese, onion straws and bacon. The finishing touch is a hearty drizzle of the house-made Chipotle Aioli.

In addition to the staff originals, the station offers barbecue classics with their East Texas style spin. Three perfectly smoked dry rub pork ribs with two side items, like bacon macaroni and cheese and hand cut fries, will fill the hungriest of travelers for just $11.99.

One of the few charbroiled grills operating in a 50-mile radius yields juicy 1/3 lb., hand-patted lean ground beef burgers, like the Mushroom Swiss, Toads Gone Wild and the Plain Jane for those who like to keep things simple.

The station even puts its touch on healthy salads, topping crispy greens with smoked chicken. There are days when it’s so popular they run out of it.  No matter the menu item, patrons can always be guaranteed everything has been hand-cut that morning.

“If it’s not prepared fresh, it’s not worth doing,” Townsend says.

“I’ve been in every burger joint from Tulsa to Woodward, and this is the best burger I’ve found,” Steve Austin, Central Electric Cooperative member says. “We came here mainly for the name, because I thought, with a name like that, they’ve got to be good.”

For a taste of history, plan a trip to The Hungry Horny Toad Station and be assured you’ll head home with a full tank.  OKL Article End

Hayley Leatherwood