TULSA — Going out for a special dinner can actually be a history lesson when you enter Jamil’s in Tulsa.
As the city’s oldest steak house, Jamil’s has been serving superb Lebanese food for 65 years.
Originally opened in Bristow, it was moved to a location on 11th Street and then to 27th and Harvard.
In 1957 Jamil’s was relocated by owner James Elias to a house on 51st Street. There was considerable controversy and years of litigation about the zoning for a business in an area that was zoned for residences. The publicity afforded by the news stories just served to increase clientele.
Elias continued to serve the classic Lebanese-style menu — including tabouli, hummus tahini, barbecued ribs and bologna, and cabbage rolls — with his hickory-grilled steaks.
After more than 50 years in the same location, the restaurant moved to a new site in September 2008 due to future highway construction. It didn’t go far, however, just 10 blocks farther east on 51th Street.
The Elias family continues to operate Jamil’s and along with the family history is that of Robert Antoine Jones, who began as the only employee when he was 18.
Jones still shows up on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to serve customers.
Jamil’s customers have included such celebrities as Mickey Mantle, Danny Thomas, Roger Staubach, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Muhammad Ali.
Décor at Jamil’s new location continues its tradition of historical family photos and lots of photos and mementoes of Oklahoma University, Oklahoma State University and Tulsa University. The dining room is larger, less crowded than at the old location. That is a plus for the customers and the efficient staff.
Step across the threshold at Jamil’s and enjoy history and an excellent, reasonably priced “date night” dinner. Bernard Elias, son of original owner James, will show you to your table and make sure you have a wonderful dinner, serving a side of history with your juicy filet.
4 to 10 p.m. Monday to Sunday