VINITA — Clanton's Cafe is the oldest continuously owned family restaurant on Route 66 in the state.
“Sweet Tatar” Clanton started the restaurant. His great-granddaughter, Melissa, and her husband, Dennis, run it now.
“We are still home of the 50-cent cup of coffee and friendly service,” Melissa said.
Clanton’s is a tradition in Vinita. The restaurant has been here since 1927 and at the same spot for the past 62 years. It was closed for three months because of a fire in 1999, but re-opened after repairs.
All of the Clantons who have owned the restaurant have worked side by side with the employees.
They serve a variety of homestyle meals, such as chicken fried chicken, chicken from steak, hamburgers, homemade French fries, creamy mashed potatoes and calf fries.
Clanton’s walls are lined with photos of the famous and infamous. One photo is of “King Tut,” a bull from Vinita that was in the movie “Giant,” starring Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor.
Clanton’s daily specials on weekdays include: Swiss steak or chicken nuggets on Monday; liver and onions or chicken and noodles on Tuesday; ham and brown beans on Wednesday; meatloaf or chicken nuggets on Thursday; and catfish or chopped barbeque beef on Friday.
In 2007, Guy Fieri and the Food Network visited Clanton's Café as part of their “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
Gourmet Magazine columnist Michael Stern was traveling through Vinita in search of the best chicken fried steak on Route 66 when he stopped at Clanton’s. This led to a story in the February 2006 edition on outstanding chicken fried steaks.
Clanton’s chicken fried steak is a 5-ounce beef patty dipped in an egg and buttermilk mixture and then dredged in seasoned flour. The flour beef patty then is fried on a flat grill and served with mashed potatoes and white peppery cream gravy.
A chicken fried steak is $6.39 during lunch hour and a dollar more for dinner, Melissa Patrick said.
5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday
7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday