Oklahoma Stories

Best of OKL 2021

By Hayley Leatherwood January 2022

The readers voted and the results are in. Discover the best of the best

best of oklahoma 2021

Oklahoma Living magazine readers voted for their “best of the best” places, businesses and foods in Oklahoma! OKL is proud to feature readers’ local favorites.

Photo by Amanda St. Clair, St. Clair Photography

Best BBQ | Mac’s BBQ

1030 W Rogers Blvd | Skiatook, OK
(918) 396-4165 | Mac’s BBQ website

Tennessee native Adam Green is part of a family legacy at Mac’s BBQ. Green’s father-in-law, Mike McMillan, was the original owner. He followed his father-in-law around “like a puppy dog” until the day McMillan drew up the paperwork and sold Green the place. Green and his wife Holly quit their jobs, had a baby and owned a restaurant for the first time all in the same year.

“I don’t know what else I would do,” Green, a Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative member, says. “I love being a part of this legacy.”

The rub and sauce are made from scratch as well as the dressings. The family trims their own ribs and uses giant rotisserie smokers with all pecan wood and no artificial heat.

“The way we do BBQ isn’t inspired by anyone else other than family,” Green says. “We make everything the old-fashioned way without any short cuts—nothing fancy and no frills.”

Altogether, this Oklahoma BBQ Hall of Fame inductee has been serving up premium meats for more than 35 years. Although the food speaks for itself, Mac’s has also received many awards including the prestigious American Royal and the Jack Daniels invitational.

“We want people to come and have some BBQ with us,” Green says. “This is not my and Holly’s restaurant—it’s everybody’s place.”

From a nominee:

“I love everything about Mac’s BBQ: the mouthwatering smoked meats, the variety of sides, the consistency of service, and the hearts of the owners. Adam Green is a tremendous ambassador for Skiatook. We’ve been customers since 1988 and we would drive miles for Mac’s BBQ, but we are lucky we don’t have to,” Sheila Pruitt, member of Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative, says.

man running in marathon
Courtesy Photo

Best Race to Run | OKC Memorial Marathon

620 N Harvey Ave | Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 235-3313 | OKC Memorial Marathon website

The OKC Memorial Marathon is “not just another marathon.” The run brings life to a city that was decimated by a horrific act of violence and honors those who were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. The core mission of the run hasn’t changed, but it has expanded as the event works to illustrate the senselessness of violence to those who were not alive in 1995.

“What we learned and how we responded is a model for people around the world,” Kari Watkins, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum executive director, says. “People look to us, and that is a credit to so many working together.”

There are more than 35 different areas to plan for each year, from signage to security to volunteers and the course itself. Funds raised from the run support the memorial and museum operations. In the early years, the race garnered about $50,000 per event. Now raising up to $1 million per year, the race is vital to providing maintenance and programming to the memorial that does not receive any government funds.

“The great thing is it’s a race anyone can get involved in. You don’t have to be runner; just get up off the couch and start,” Watkins says. “It’s something we can all do to remember and teach future generations.”

This year will mark the 22nd OKC Memorial Marathon. To register, volunteer, or donate, visit the OKC Memorial Marathon website.

inside of a bookstore with shelves of books
Courtesy Photo

Best Bookstore | Paper Pages

117 N Grand | Crescent, OK
(405) 888-1069

When word got out that Karen Payne and her husband, Russell, were planning to open a local bookstore, people were questioning their sanity.

“I love that books enable me to experience worlds I wouldn’t otherwise get to see,” Karen says. “I feel so strongly that a gathering place is something every community should have.”

Karen acts as a personal shopper, learning what genre each person enjoys. She and Russell watch all the best-selling lists and keep an eye out for new reads.

Paper Pages offers more than just books for sale. Clubs for adults and children and community events keep the store thriving and active. Karen attributes their success to the community and the customers.

“The more love we show to Crescent and surrounding towns, they can’t wait to give that love back ten-fold,” Karen says.

From a nominee:

“I nominated Paper Pages Bookstore because they are the definition of hometown hospitality. Not only do they have something to offer everyone, they are also genuine and welcoming to all. They deserve it,” Dannelle Barker, member of Central Rural Electric Cooperative, says.

inside of a restaurant
Courtesy Photo

Best Romantic Dinner | Ranchers Club

H103 Student Union | Stillwater, OK
405-744-BEEF | Ranchers Club website

The Ranchers Club is an upscale fine dining restaurant located in the historic Atherton Hotel on Oklahoma State University’s Stillwater campus. Josh Barnard, general manager of the hotel, highly recommends the filet and finishing the meal with the homemade bread pudding.

“The setting is amazing here, and we strive for excellence in all that we do,” Barnard says. “It’s a fantastic experience for people to immerse themselves with the students and remember their own college days.”

From a nominee:

“I nominated the Ranchers Club because the menu offerings are elegant, the decor is very interesting and upscale, and the ambiance provides a special romantic experience,” Joyce Hise, member of Central Rural Electric Cooperative, says.

2 women smiling in a field
Courtesy Photo

Best Florist | Fisch & Hitch

123 N Main | Guymon, OK
(580) 338-8084 | Fisch and Hitch website

Fisch & Hitch grew from an idea sown by best friends Camra Fischer and Charity Hitch. The Guymon natives locally source whenever possible, whether that means recycling seed sacks for floral wraps or foraging for yucca blooms in the pasture before the cows get to them first. The shop’s goal is to create beautiful floral arrangements and showcase Oklahoma creators. Having a store together in their hometown is a dream come true.

“We are two proud Guymon Tiger alums whose families are actively involved in agriculture and showcasing that background is part of what makes us unique,” Hitch says. “We have had tremendous support from our community and it has been fun to share the things we love with them.”

From a nominee:

“Fisch & Hitch produces some of the most beautiful arrangements I have ever seen. Each arrangement has such character and you can truly see how much work is put into each piece. The store itself has so much personality and is full of a variety of plants and fun gifts. It is also evident this is a business that cares for its community,” Amy Laird, member of TCEC, says.

vet holding bulldog on table

Best Veterinarian | Dr. John Whitesell

1014 N Country Club Rd | Ada, OK
(580) 279-1041

From a nominee:

“Nominating Dr. Whitesell of Southern Oklahoma Veterinary Center was an easy choice. My husband and I moved to Ada from St. Louis, Missouri, last year. We come from a family that has a vet and a vet tech in it so finding a capable vet was important to us and our seven pets. We’ve seen Dr. Whitesell for everything from routine checkups to end-of-life decisions. Our pets have been treated with professionalism, compassion, kindness and as if they were one of his own,” Suzie Hibbett says.

Woman holding a box with plants in her hands in garden center. Close up

Best Garden & Nursery Center | Sanders Nursery

20705 E 161st St S | Broken Arrow, OK
(918) 486-1500 | Sanders Nursery Website

From a nominee:

“They have the best selection and variety when it comes to trees and plants. Their employees provide exceptional customer service and are very knowledgeable about their products,” Kim Wysong, member of Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative, says.

tall building
Photo by Lance Shaw

Best Hotel | Skirvin Hotel

One Park Ave | Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 272-3040 | Skirvin Hilton website

From a nominee:

“I nominated the hotel because the ambience and opulence of the hotel are unrivaled in Oklahoma. The staff are caring and helpful, and the location is convenient when visiting Oklahoma City,” Lisa O’Donnell, member of Central Rural Electric Cooperative, says.

Category: Oklahoma Stories

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