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The legend of Krebs begins with Pete's Place

The Oklahoman's Food Dude visits Pete's Place, which has served Italian favorites, steak and fried chicken in Krebs since 1925.
by Dave Cathey Modified: October 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm •  Published: October 9, 2012

In 1925, Pete Prichard made it official, converting a portion of his home into Pete's Place, serving homemade spaghetti, meatballs, ravioli and sausage, family-style, with Choc beer.

Pete Prichard eventually added salad, lamb fries, veal, fried chicken and grilled steaks. He also began making red wine to better pair with Italian dishes. Prohibition put a damper on some of the wine and beer sales, but a sturdy bathtub in the basement soon became the place where Choc was brewed, though never officially.

In 1964, Pete Prichard turned the operation over to his son Billy Joe. Bill saw the restaurant grow into an even bigger tourist attraction and begin drawing a celebrity clientele that included politicians, musicians and noted actors. Pete, meanwhile, continued hand-rolling raviolis every day until age and health wouldn't let him.

Bill Prichard put the steering wheel to Pete's Place in the hands of son Joe Prichard to run for mayor of Krebs, which he did successfully.

Joe Prichard was only a year out of college at the time, having graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1983 with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. But Joe grew up in Pete's Place and probably had more to teach than learn in his Stillwater years.

Modern times

Under Joe's guidance, the menu has expanded from the original four items to its current 17 for dinner. Choc beer, which has zigzagged in and out of the boundaries of law over the years, is now brewed on the up and up by a fourth-generation Prichard, Zach.

Krebs Brewing Co. brews a variety of beers that changes with the seasons and the whim of the brewmaster. It's served on top at the brand-new Choc Room, which opened inside Pete's Place in April. Guests can belly up to the bar and sample various beers on tap brewed just outside the window.

Joe Prichard said he serves about 100 people a day during the week, but on Saturdays the number can swell up to 800.

“If people are coming from a long way away, they're best advised to call us and make arrangements.”

Family legacy

Joe and Zach Prichard took me on a tour of Pete's Place on Oct. 4. The two hours we spent, could've easily turned into 10. The two Prichards imbue a sense of pride that can only be measured in how genuinely they smile as they spin yarns about their predecessors.

After some research, I found our visit came on the same date Billy Joe Prichard died in 1994. It made wonder what Bill and Pete would think of the city-block-sized bright yellow house that's become of the tiny place where Pete first started peddling Choc. Impossible to do anything more than guess, but it would be hard to be anything less than proud of one of Oklahoma's most successful restaurants and a state-of-the-art brewery preparing to take on larger distribution.

But family businesses aren't immune to disputes. Perhaps Pete and Billy Joe would have some suggestions. If they did, rest assured they'd make them over a hot plate of pasta and pitchers of cold Choc beer, because those are the only things that run thicker than blood in Krebs.

by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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Pete' Place

Where: 120 SW 8 Street in Krebs.

When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Online: petes.org.

Phone: (918) 423-2042.

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