Visiting the Food Network’s “Pioneer Woman Mercantile”
It was an easy drive from Ada, Oklahoma to the Tall Grass Prairies – home of “The Pioneer Woman Mercantile” in the sleepy town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma.
Ree Drummond started out as a blog writer and gained many followers including the producers at the Food Network. In 2011 the Food Network started taping “The Pioneer Women” television series which star Ree and in 2016, the Drummond’s opened The Mercantile, a restaurant and retail space located in a 100 year old downtown Pawhuska building.
When we arrived in town we were warmly welcomed and enjoyed lunch at the Merchantile. Typically 6000 tourists a week flock to the Pawhuska in order to visit the Drummond’s Mercantile.
Our lunch was exceptional (I ordered the chicken parmesan with a side of carrots in a whisky glaze) and afterwards I took my passengers to the 2nd floor bakery and they could pick whatever they wished for dessert.
The Drummond’s have also opened an 8 room Inn which is at 100% occupancy for the entire year! They also run a banquet space, pizza restaurant and are currently renovating a space for a Steakhouse!
A few entrepreneurs have opened additional shops around the Merchantile – Western Clothing Shop, Western Interior Shop and Ladies Clothing Store.
Dennis Brown and his staff at the “Frontier Hotel” treated us like family. This exceptional boutique 20 room western themed hotel is located in an historic flat iron building – the first one built west of the Mississippi. In its heyday the building was filled with over 100 law offices. At one time this western town was booming.
We were joined by 2 locals after lunch who proudly showed us around the tall grass country side.
Those that live in these parts contend with wild weather patterns, tornados (May-Sept) and at times Thunder Snow.
This is cowboy ranch land. There are over 27,000 buffalo that roam the Tall Grass Prairies – we saw a couple herds from a distance. Fencing for cattle is 5 ft tall and for Buffalo 6 ft tall. Some of the best hay in the US is grown here.
At one time this was one of the richest parts of the USA due to its oil. The Osage Indians benefited greatly then. A Tiffany Jewelry store and Rolls Royce delearship opened in town.
For 20 minutes we drove alongside the Drummond Ranch – they own 100,000 acres, raise 10,000 cattle and look after 2700 wild horses for the US government. Their main lodge is off the main road – and then 8 miles down a gravel one. This picture shows the start of that gravel road.
With the success of the Pioneer Woman Television Show, retail is now in their mix. They purchased a closed Walmart on the outskirts of town and its the distribution headquarters for their retail mail order business and it employees 35 locals.
In peak season up to 10,000 retail items every hour are moved between the distribution Centre and their Merchantile store!
Other than the Merchantile and their Pizza Restaurant, there is only one other restaurant in town. It attracts the locals and that is where we enjoyed a casual dinner. The staff from the kitchen all came out to meet us before we left. They were excited to chat with some Canadians.
We were back at the Merchantile for breakfast this morning. Most order the pancakes – with various butters and 3 types of syrup. The staff at the Merchantile wished us a good journey.
Dennis Brown the GM at the Frontier Hotel showed up extra early to wish us a good journey home too.
Southern Hospitality has shown through during this western journey to Texas and Oklahoma.
Its sad to start our journey home (where freezing rain is in the forecast)!
Thanks to my amazing passengers – everyone is sharing email addresses this morning. They wonderful folks will keep in contact – they’d like to travel together on another future “Travel With Bradley” journey and are already trying to decide which one!