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Good Taste: Johnnie’s Theta

The classic burger lives on



 



OKC’s culinary landscape has steadily grown broader and more cosmopolitan over the past couple of decades, providing diners with possibilities from ramen shops to a Brazilian churrascaria to really excellent Irish pubs. But with Independence Day lighting up the calendar, this seems like a good time to concentrate on the iconically American hamburger, especially a variant with local roots. Let Philadelphia have its cheesesteaks and New Orleans its muffulettas – central Oklahoma gave the world the Theta Burger.
 

It’s a standard beef patty – although for authenticity’s sake, it should be cooked over charcoal rather than on a griddle – topped with pickle chips, mayo, optional shredded cheese and the semi-secret ingredient: tangy hickory sauce.

Both eateries that helped introduce this innovation, Norman’s Town Tavern and the Split-T on Western, have since gone to the great Restaurant Row in the sky, but the Theta Burger (which is commonly agreed to be named for an OU sorority) lives on. In fact, Johnnie Haynes managed the Split-T for nearly two decades before founding his own restaurant, and Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler has been dishing up Thetas since 1971. There are now eight Johnnie’s locations metro-wide, give or take the one on the NW Expressway that’s closed for renovations and classier spinoff Urban Johnnie’s in downtown, and each one has the flavor combination that helped make them an Oklahoma institution.

Even emigres continue craving the Theta taste: Photographer Shannon Cornman said her sister moved to Seattle years ago, but Johnnie’s is still her first stop when she comes back to town, and she routinely takes a container of the hickory sauce back to Washington with her. Since you’re already here, grab a #9 with onion rings and savor a classic.

 

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Calendar

November 2018

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The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

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Where:
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1700 Northeast 63rd Street
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View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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600 Museum Way
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Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
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Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
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View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
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View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
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More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
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Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
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View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

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Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
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View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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Where:
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1 Nature Place
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View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
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Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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Where:
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1 Nature Place
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View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Don’t miss this timely exhibition charting the development of contemporary Indigenous art from the US and Canada. Presenting over 80 artworks including paintings, photography, video,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way
Bentonville, AR  72712
View map »


Telephone: 479.418.5700
Website »

More information

A pop-up shop village & Christmas tree lot in Midtown, OKC for the Holiday season. Shops rotate weekly!

Cost: Free

Where:
Holiday Pop-Up Shops
399 NW 10th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.514.5205
Contact Name: Cleo Rajon
Website »

More information

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is proud to host an exhibition by members of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA).   The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni Shrum
Website »

More information

Come enjoy live, local comedy in Oklahoma City's Plaza District. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., and the 2nd Saturday of every month also has a family -friendly show...

Cost: $5 - $15

Where:
OKC Improv
1757 N.W. 16th St.
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Improv
Telephone: 405.456.9858
Contact Name: Kate McLain-Snipes
Website »

More information

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Cost: $5 to $25

Where:
Carpenter Square Theatre
800 W. Main
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View map »


Sponsor: Carpenter Square Theatre
Telephone: 405.232.6500
Contact Name: Rhonda M. Clark
Website »

More information

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