Steel popping up changes in the Rose.

Things are reaching upward in the Rose District. Solid growth, too. Solid steel.

Some folks commented on Saturday about the changes in downtown Broken Arrow. They’d moved away and had just returned. Another fellow was visiting from Edmond and said he wondered whether BA even had a downtown. He mentioned how impressed he was with it.


If it’s been a time since you’ve visited, you’ll spot changes once you get back here. (And that ought to be soon, by my reckoning!) On our block, things are up-to-snuff (there’s a grandpa-ism!) with the completion of the utilities at the sidewalk by the park on Broadway.

It’s a different matter from Commercial to Dallas.

You’ll encounter a road construction sign at the intersection, but no orange barrels or barrier fences. Most of the work is actually being done on Dallas and El Paso, with some detours required on some days. (Many days a single lane is kept open.) It also comes into play at night; the streetlamps have been dark south of Dallas Street for the past couple of evenings while the utility work is completed.


Going up between Spoke House (bicycle shop) and the In the Raw, Rooftop, and Pinot’s Palette building are some sturdy-looking grey columns and girders that will be the supporting structure for what will amount to a skyscraper here in the Rose District. My small-town upbringing still keeps me marveling at any structure with multiple stair-landings. (I won’t go into my fear as a kid, riding up the rickety elevator at Diamond Hardware in McAlester, while delivering early morning newspapers to above-the-store apartments.)

The steel supports here in the Rose will provide the structure for upstairs apartments, which will be located above the ground-floor commerce. At street level will be Andolini’s Italian, with an anticipated opening next year.

Between Dallas and El Paso there is a similar crop of grey steel, as well as a wide staircase near the center of the project. The bank building will also feature a tower similar to a clock or bell tower, and if the completed structure looks anything like the architect’s rendering on posters at the bank-front, it’s going to be a beauty. That part of Main is going to be busy for quite some time, since voters approved funding to change the old bank building into a district Arts Center.

Exciting stuff.


I was personally excited to get an invitation to the pre-opening of the Rooftop from Jason Scarpa, whose Main Street Tavern continues to attract crowds. Unfortunately, I had a previous commitment that kept me from attending. (Work related, you know, as my social life is as fictional as the stories I read…) It’s good to see the lights on up there, and I’m in hopes of paying a visit before too long.

Great to see Stogies, Fiesta Mambo, Pinot’s Palette, and Main Street Tavern open on Sunday. I’d love to be able to keep the bookstore open on Sunday, but there are things I can only finish while the door is locked, since I don’t have a clerk to tend the front counter. I know that Sunday is typically a slower restaurant day, but there are plenty of people looking for a place to eat, and the more businesses that remain open on Sunday in the Rose, the better it will be for everyone. (Goes for Monday, too. I can’t tell you how many apologies I’ve made to customers on behalf of my fellow merchants who remain closed on Monday. I have never been able to understand the logic, although it could have something to do with family or social lives, I don’t know.


We’ll have the street blocked off next Saturday for Grills and Grilles, a car-show and food event that brought out some beautiful automobiles for the inaugural edition of the event. You can make a plan now to work in a visit in between your football games or pumpkin patch visits.

Chef Dustin is back in the continental US after his tropical vacation. The bistro will be open for business again on Monday after the short break, with fresh soup, stew, sandwiches, and specials prepared just for you.

Come visit!


Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District
122 South Main St. Broken Arrow OK!

New headlines, familiar stories.

A lot of talk and a lot of worries about Ebola. Misinformation and fear are the words used by the Center for Disease Control. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins made a point of appearing without protective clothing when visiting the family of the Liberian man currently battling the infectious disease.

But this isn’t the first go-round.

Twenty years ago, Random House published a book by Richard Preston – a non-fiction effort – titled The Hot Zone. Above the author’s name on the front cover, in red letters, are the words “A Terrifying True Story.”


Preston points out that “none of the living people referred to in this book suffer from a contagious disease,” and that his work covers events from 1967 to 1993. He writes about the history of the African virus and associated strains, and also provides details about the discovery of an Ebola virus-relative in Reston, Virginia – less than 15 miles from Washington, DC.

One edition of the book features a cover-blurb from Stephen King, who states that The Hot Zone was “one of the most horrifying things I’ve read in my whole life.”

Maybe that’s one of the reasons that folks are feeling a little bit nervous about the idea of such a disease landing on US soil.

The outbreak that Preston discusses was contained, but the last four words of the book text are: “It will be back.”

He was right.

If it is possible to have an up-side, the current US distress over the possibility – however remote – that the virus could have an outbreak here, may provide the attention needed to focus on relief for those areas in which the virus has its origin. History is filled with stories of those who won’t concern themselves with the problems of others, until they are caught up in the problems themselves.

I haven’t read The Hot Zone. Used to read scary books, but no so much any longer. Scary books that are non-fiction, even less. Having scanned through the text of a paperback copy on the shelf, I have reassured myself that it has plenty of information that would be of interest to someone, even if I pass.

That kind of Scary I can get enough of in the daily headlines. And I suppose that’s one of the reasons that last night I completed my revisiting of David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens. Mr. Murdstone and his sister are the scariest things in that book, and even they get their comeuppance from David’s Aunt Betsey. The Hot Zone is a little more open-ended.

You’ll find both sorts of stories on the shelves currently, un-quarantined and ready to go, so –

Come visit!


Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District
122 South Main St. Broken Arrow OK!

Aye! It was another time, then…

Before Ronald there was a big hamburger-headed guy in a chef’s hat holding a placard that read: 15¢ (I had to Google the method for inserting a cents sign “¢” – Sheesh. Not on the keyboard anymore.)

I was doing a little research in a newspaper database when I ran across the ad from 1959. The little hamburger-man has on his sign: I’m Speedee.

And I guess that was his name.


As you can see, some things have changed from that year. The BIG TRIPL-THICK extra heavy MILK-SHAKES aren’t 20¢ any longer. And the dinner suggestion? (The fine print in the ad that didn’t reproduce so well from the newsprint archive.) That reads:

And don’t forget our wonderful hamburgers! Tender, juicy all-beef on toasted buns. Only 15¢. Bring the whole family in TONIGHT… a full meal of a hamburger, a milk-shake, and French Fries for only 65¢

Look for me at Speedee McDonald’s drive-ins, he says.

Since there is little risk of dating myself further than I already have on these webpages, I’ll admit that my earliest memories of McDonald’s were of a location that looked like the one in the image. 15¢ burgers.


We were late to the McDonald’s location club when I graduated high school at McAlester. More than likely, Tulsa had the nearest location. As an underclassman in high school at Joplin, one of the seniors bet another that he could easily eat a $50 meal. I’m sure he was thinking prime rib or Surf & Turf, and the idea that the bill for such a meal could easily run to that amount.

His wiseacre buddy (you guessed it) stopped the car at McDonalds. As you might imagine, there was no way that he made it through even ten bucks worth of burgers. (That would have been about 65 of those tender, juicy, all-beef jobbers.)

Another thing I’ve learned as a result of researching over the years. You can’t always believe what you read on the internet. A McDonald’s WIKI listing says that the Golden Arches date to 1962, but they are clearly visible in the 1959 newspaper ad background.

Something you may not have known – the restaurant was founded in 1940 as a barbecue spot, by Maurice and Richard McDonald. It was Ray Kroc that took them nationwide and later bought out the brothers.

Speedee was retired in 1967 when Ronald McDonald donned his red nose and baggy pants.

The clown has long-outlived the 15¢ hamburger and the 20¢ Tripl-Thick Milk-Shake.

Don’t have burgers here, but we have some tasty, hand-prepped sandwiches made to order. Don’t even own a heat lamp. And Dustin’s Chalkboard Special today – quesadillas with handmade guacamole and salsa and borracho beans… South of the Irish Border, and… Delicious!

Come visit!


Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District
122 South Main St. Broken Arrow OK!