Local author diving into the history of Tulsa's restaurants

    Local author diving into the history of Tulsa's restaurants (KTUL)

    Restaurants like Pennington' Drive-Inn, The Metro Diner, Villa Venice and many more stir the memories and emotions of many Tulsans.

    "It wasn't just about having a place to go, it was about having a place to meet your friends and know everyone's name," said Rhys Martin, author of "Lost Restaurants of Tulsa."

    If you're lucky, a piece or two of your favorite restaurants may have been preserved, like the signs at Stokley's. For the most part though, those stories were just lost in history.

    Martin was born and raised in the Tulsa metro and has spent the past two years learning everything he can about Tulsa's famous restaurants.

    "A lot of people came to Tulsa for the oil business, natural gas, things like that," he said. "Everyone needed a place to eat. You had all these people that came to Tulsa from different places and they brought things with them."

    You won't find the current legends like Weber's and Claud's in the book, only restaurants now relegated to the literal pages of history.

    "The earliest restaurant I have is Bishop's, which opened in 1930, and the newest is the Metro Diner, which opened in 1984," Martin said. "I had to make a decision really early not to include any franchises because we have so many great local restaurants. Casa Bonita is one of those exceptions along with Crystal's Pizza."

    The most rewarding part of the book for him has been meeting with and telling the stories of families whose lives revolved around those dining hotspots.

    "People are very passionate about it," Martin said. "People are excited when I mention the book is coming out and I'll end up having half-hour conversations with people about the Brown Derby at Bishop's or the black bottom pie. That's the part I'm looking forward to is sitting and having conversations with these people."

    "Lost Restaurants of Tulsa" is up for pre-order on Amazon now and will be released on Dec. 3.

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