Murphy's calls itself a steak house, but to us it looks more like a diner: counter and stools, bare-tabled booths, and a staff of superquick waitresses who git 'er done. The menu does include steaks, and those that we've seen on other people's plates look huge and good. Nevertheless, it's not for steak that we recommend a visit to this 1940s-era eatery just east of the Osage Indian reservation. It is for a hot hamburger.
If you have pictured in your head some sort of beef patty in some sort of bun, erase that picture and consider this: pieces of toasted white bread spread out on a plate topped with a large hamburger that has been hacked into pieces, the burger topped with a mountain of French fries, and the French fries topped with a large spill of dark, beefy gravy as rich as a Mexican mole. It’s a magic combination, especially the way the crisp logs of fried potato soften in places where the gravy blankets them, imbibing a rich beefy savor for which squiggles of onion (an optional component) are an ideal accent. Even folks who come for steak instead of chopped-up hamburger know to order a side dish of fried potatoes with gravy.
Variations on the theme include a hot cheeseburger, hot beef, hot steak, and hot ham. Extra gravy is available at 35 cents per bowl.
The front of Murphy's menu is emblazoned with a motto that is one of our favorites: "Gravy Over All." When anyone orders a hot hamburger, the motto becomes a question. The waitress asks, "Gravy over all?" We can't imagine saying no.
"The 'hamburger' part of this hot hamburger is completely eclipsed by French fries and gravy. You will find it underneath the spuds and on top of the toast that is visible peeking out at the bottom."
"We are big fans of any restaurant that that advertises itself using an image of the animal whose meat they serve. Need we mention that Murphy's is not a vegetarian enclave?"
"See what we mean when we say that Murphy's has the feel of a diner? At the back of the photo, towards the right and behind the cash register you can see one of the staff taking an order at the walk-up window."
"The white bread in the cracker basket comes in handy for mopping gravy from a plate or dipping into separate side orders of gravy. Also note the Country Crock. Butter is a rarity in Oklahoma cafes."