This blog was done during the year of the fire. It’s a very detailed account of the fire and the year and 9 days it took to rebuild it.
This blog was done during the year of the fire. It’s a very detailed account of the fire and the year and 9 days it took to rebuild it.
So no one can say the employees of the Rock Cafe don’t LOVE Halloween!! We really hooped it up and had a great time! And to all those that got squirted in the face by my flower hat ~ I’m sorry!! It was fun though. The best part was Michael Jackson stopping in to dance to Billie Jean for us.
See Michael’s Dance Here!!
More on Halloween Later. I just had to show off this video
What a crazy summer its been!! Weird to sit here and think that last October I was still unsure of how the Rock Cafe was going to be rebuilt!! Just take a look at the September blog entry! Yes it has pictures of where we were a year ago!!! The Rock is up, running, and serving food and hospitality to all despite the restaurant “Yelp and Urban Spoon” critics!! I am so proud of my crew whom I think of more as an extention of my family! We are pulling this off despite our everyday issues! Which I will be blogging more about as I get back into the groove of writing more frequently. I think you all will be able to relate.
Today is about the excitement on my upcoming book release!! Whew hooo!!! I have had some wonderful people helping compile my ideas on shopping and cooking. I think this book can help everyone out there whether your an individual or a family. Everyday at the Rock we find a way to either stretch food or turn food into some other delicious item. This cookbook and new blog shows everyone how to do this in your own home!!
The reason why this cookbook is different and you want it on your shelf is because all of my life people have told me I can’t do something. My very first boyfriend’s family told me I wasn’t good enough for him; they continue to visit me at the Rock Cafe today. My high school track coach told me I would never be able to work on cruise ships; and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line hired me on the spot. And the list goes on!! Many many told me the Rock Cafe could not be rebuilt!! And it is….
My point is that this cookbook is my inspiration to everyone saying YOU CAN DO THIS!!! Never Never let anyone say you can’t! Not even yourself. The god’s honest truth is that the day I opened the Rock Cafe, I could NOT cook! I did not let that even faze me when I opened the doors. So please!!! Whether its because you want to learn to cook or you simply need an inspiration at this time in your life! Get this book….Because I believe in people and I want you to never give up on your dreams!
Check out this blog www.myd2d.com
Definetly, check out this video
GET THIS BOOK
And if you for some reason need an autographed copy.. Call the Rock Cafe at 918 968 3990
Stay tuned for more great stories here!!!
The morning after the fire after I had realized that it was a great possibility that the walls of the Rock Cafe seemed to be relatively stable, I began to fear for the Rock Cafe grill. This 48 inch solid piece of steel was an anchor to the flavor and quality of the food at the Rock. I had a teensy bit of hope that under 5 tons of tar roof system and debris that the grill may just be salvagable. Call me optimistic. I had been told by several Stroud fireman that there was absolutely nothing salvageable inside. But with childlike optimisism, I kept the faith! Something I get my nature. A few days later when I finally braved entering the building this area was where I most wanted to get to. Of course, it was in the middle of the building!
Reaching the wall, I decided to be brave and stick my arm through the window and feel for the grill surface to check if it was smooth! Although, covered in ash and debris the surface was smooth and the butter wheel, something used to easily apply butter to bread and one of my favorite pieces, was in tact.
Looking at the devastation, most would not have seen the positive of this but, it seemed to me that this grill was absolutely in tact! This was a happy happy day for me in spite of everything. The grill had been spared!! The venthood fell upon a microwave stand on one side and a stand up freezer on the other side. I had replaced the freezer at least 5 times in my 15 years at the Rock Cafe because of its closeness to all the hot equipment and this was the first stand up freezer ever bought! WOW what luck!
The picture above shows Martin and Matt Thomas preparing to drag this grill out from under the hood. The wall had been torn down.The grill had never been moved in the over 70 years it had been in the cafe. We had no idea how it was assembled or how we would move it. As it turned out, the top comes off relatively easy and although the heaviest part we were able to get it out. Once the top is off, one can see the gas jets and that is when I discovered the name Wolf etched onto the gas jets!! I knew this piece of equipment was well made but had no idea it was a Wolf. The grill was stored until just a few weeks ago when I decided to drag it out and begin working on cleaning it up. I did very little work with it until David became interested and took over my project. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this grill was capable of becoming this clean. Armed with only oven cleaner, David wrestled this grill into a state it hasn’t seen in over 70 years. It truly does look like a brand new grill. I do believe that as he worked on it as well as Terry who also couldn’t help but assist in some of the scraping found the same bond I have with this truly alive piece. It certainly is a positive to have it restored. It tells a great story of its own! This grill has cooked burgers for men heading to and coming from WWII, family’s like the Joad’s running towards Cali and from the great depression, for the giant new era of the 50’s when car travel became so popular carrying happy new family’s to vacations, for the bands of the new found Rock N Roll movement who traveled the country on tour, and for the hippies of the 70’s traveling like gypsies!! These and so much more have found there way to have a famed burger either; indeed this grill has a story to tell!!
When I first entered the building, I couldn’t believe that David and Terry were able to resurrect the grill to this glory! It really got me pumped to get the gas hooked up and start cooking! It is truly one of the things I’ve been most excited about!
I turned 40 on January 30 and in celebration of this occasion (that David, Terry, and Mark had been reminded of everyday since their arrival on the Rock Cafe project) they had a cake, homemade Birthday card and Coke sign ready for the special day! So ladies, I suggest that a daily reminder of what days are important to you can certainly pay off in the end. Espicially, if when doing so you expect nothing to come of it! It was quite a surprise since I hadn’t even planned on being at the Rock for the day. But they somehow knew I’d pop in!
So progress on the Rock Cafe is coming along nicely. For those marking calendars, we hope to be open by Memorial Day weekend with the Grand Opening day of Friday, May 22. Details to be added as we come to decisions.
One of the last jobs Mark had as our esteemed rock mason was to install a new pass thru window for the new kitchen. It is actually through the back wall of the original Rock Cafe building. We had some temporary electric lines(the yellow ones you see in the picture above) installed and Mark had forgotten they were there. He just masoned around them like they were suppose to be there. We took this picture to make fun of his fine work! Mark finished most of his work here at the Rock Cafe and we are so pleased with his craftsmanship!
This is a front view of the Rock and its rock work! Yea its shaping up!
We have installed a new roof system using a vinyl single ply and we love it! We used Coates Roofing which has been freinds of ours for years and they did a great job. We’ve been workiing on the pent roof which has been a difficult job to say the least. Terry has been doing a great job.
We have had the inside Rock walls insulated with foam spray insulation which not only additionally sturdys up the wall but also should keep those customers warm in the winter and cool in the summer!! Yea a bonus!!
So as you can see we are getting alot done! I will be posting again soon as I have a great story about the fire! But it deserves its own post!!! Stay tuned!
Never in my mind has walking away ever been an option. But it seems that most of the public have had a bit of doubt as to the reality that the Rock Cafe would actually be rebuilt. I discovered this yesterday as the crew with the help of Jimmy Miller’s boom truck and the experience of the operator, David Henniger were lifting the trusses into place. We had several of my friends and others st0pping by to express their excitement and voice their concern that they didn’t really think this was going to happen. I’m thrilled to say the day was extremely easy and we even squeezed in some time to celebrate Martin Luther King day! David, Terry, & Mark have been working on the trusses for a few weeks. They are built extremely tough!! Not to bore everyone with details, lets just leave it at the trusses are up making the Rock that much closer to being ready to open by late spring.
As revelers across Route 66 have done for years and years, Stroud has a NYC style celebraton where they close down their 4 block stretch of this famed road where at Midnight a ball drop of a mess of wrapped chrismas lights with little to no organization falls from the sky elevated up by the local Fire Truck! There is no other way then this to ring in a New Year!! So much so that several local familys and their out of town friends are sure not to miss. This year my best friend’s family joined us as did Fred’s local best friend. It was fun except that we had some Teenie Drama that won’t ever be forgotten. Hence the red faced Alexis that missed out on her first New Years Kiss due to an average teenie miscommunication! Something that will surely haunt her every year from here. I’m happy she bravely posed for this picture at a moment when she felt like it was the end of her world. Besides that small snag, What a Year its shaping up to be!!
I know so many have sent cards and such to express concern and support for the Rock Cafe progress. Many have contacted me and wanted an update on this blog! As of my last blog, (laughing) a big blow to the project happened when I realized that although I appreciated the quickness to the stabilization of the building upon the first few days. The construction company was not as good a fit for this project as I originally thought. The Rock Cafe has always been about unexpected superior quality at an affordable price provided by individuals willing to share their life and experience with liberties to intergrate their talents and very fabric of who they are into the work they are providing. In most cases, that was food and service. It was my dream to have that type of work in the rebuilding process. Therefore, I set out interviewing individuals in hopes to find this person or group of persons!! I went into sort of a introvert type of personality during these weeks because it was difficult for my family, banker, friends, over-concerned individuals(Jerry Murfin), and press to understand what I was trying to achieve. Its difficult to even write about. By any means Idid not want to trash this construction firm who had been there when I needed them. At any rate, I would make phone calls on Mondays and meet with people throughout the week and got alot of No’s, Maybe’s, and Yes’s but could not find that special person until a lead finally paid off. A historic preservationist, David Burke of davidshistoricpreservation.vpweb.com, was recommended and I hesitated on calling because of his title “Historic Preservation”. I felt he may be out of my price range. Once I contacted him a match was made! David and his wife, Linda, had an immediate impression on me and my children and I knew we had our team leader!
David and Linda are from Perry, Oklahoma and know all to well about the exciting life in a small town. They restore antiques and have some amazing stories about this venture. They both are activists for preservation and lead lifes that will be shared throughout the rest of the Rock Cafe history. They are now a part of this building and its lore forever more. As far as my working relationship with him, its been a typical adventure as is my style. We work side by side making decisions on how to progress with the building. He keeps me informed as to his way of doing the restoration but always asks for my opinions and concerns. He even lets me and the kidos help around. Mainly, I sweep!! And the kids have done very little but have been there very importantly standing. David even came to the job with his own wooden handled straw broom!! The only kind one needs to work on this site. Everyone knows how I love straw brooms! He has made some great discoveries in the history of this building and we will be sharing those with you as we progress. David has a friend he works with by the name of Terry! We also found a friend of both of ours through different avenues-mine being local friend and his being fellow antique dealer-his name is Mark!! These 3 men,David-Terry-Mark, should be sent thank yous and salutations as well because they are going to be responsible for literally breathing new life & soul into this historic structure! They work together like family & friends not holding anyone more important than the other and recognizing that my family is their family and visitors who stop are shown around as if they are also decision makers and family as well!!
Terry is a skilled carpenter who works on new construction while David is the preservationist. Terry knows all the newest products and is a big help in finding ways of doing things. He is a family man who is always talking about his wife and children!! We love that and I know he’s a great dad because he is great with my kids. He teases Alexis alot and always tries to get her out of doing some of the heavy lifting I ask her to do. (of course, she owes him a few batches of cookies for this) He is also always getting Paul to help him and teaching him how to use the tools. Not to mention, keeping tabs on where Paul is at! You know that is his responsibility as construction manager! Just kidding! But this lets you know that the same feel you received for food & service is also taking place in the reconstruction!
Mark, well what can you say about him. He seems to be 7 ft tall and has what seems to be 6ft long dreadlocks! Mark is a friend of mine from the Rock Cafe. We both migrated back to our family roots in Lincoln County from far off worlds. Myself from the adventures across the globe on cruise ships and he from the fast lane in Los Angeles. His father is jazz producer, Miles Grayson. So its easy to understand his laid back Rasta Man attitude. Some Route 66’s may remember his mother, owner of PJ’s BBQ. Mark isn’t the sort of character one expects to be in Lincoln County and that makes him a perfect fit for the Rock Cafe and our family friend. He is married to Carol and she is also great. I thank her for thinking of me and sending me gifts from time to time. Mark is a wealth of knowledge so much so I sometimes question his grand stories but only in a joking manner. Its always the same story never judge a person on what you think someone should look like and always leave your heart open to all sorts of personalitys because one never knows when true friendship will be discovered and what that person may look like!
This team is working with my local suppliers therefore, my electrician, my heat & air guy, and who could forget the plumber are all getting to help in this process. The most famous and seen on site everyday and making decisions and suggestions alongside the 3 of us is local, Jerry Murfin. Most will know him and those who don’t have not been to the Rock more than once. He is a permanent fixture and invalued friend. We will save his story for his own blog entry!
Again your support is greatly appreciated and I can see light at the end of the tunnell! If anyone cares to venture out; gawkers are welcome and if you see one of these three men don’t hesitate to thank them and ask any question of them. They love it! They work Monday – Friday on site and do so almost as long as the Rock was open during regular business hours. I will leave you with a poem I discovered the last few days from The Route 66 Hip Pocket Trip! Poems by Joel Nash
The Rock Cafe
It’s a family affair
at the Rock Cafe
in Stroud, Oklahoma
running the place
and today the
was there, too.
Mr. and Mrs.
came in for lunch
being the master plumber and
restorer of magic cars
including a baby blue convertible
right at home
in front of the Rock
but before dawn
on this day
he had to put down
their dying dog
Mrs. had red teary eyes
Mr. was a little choked up, too
but he said
“You kno, I was raised on a farm.
I know how to do these things.”
When you walk in the front door
of The Rock Cafe
you join the family
I really hate it when my teenager says that she is bored! So admitting, that my stage with the Rock Cafe is boring is extremely difficult. I’ve been looking at the 66 e-group and noticing that many have asked about the Rock. The simple answer is that we are doing great. In saying this, it is just boring great. We have made great strides and the place is cleaned up and Mike, the architect, is doing quick but awesome research and reports. He just completed a 42 page report that circulates to all close to the project. We have good feedback from the National Park Service so hopefully we are on track to staying on the National Register of Historic Places. Mike did suggest that we immediatly rebuild the wooden framing that will become the permanent inside walls and this will make the building safe for all to be around. I will keep you posted on that so if any are near they could come and feel safe about entering the building. I realize many of you have made trips inside and that makes me really nervous. But soon it will be safe and I’ll welcome all who would like to visit. Here are some interesting pics!
This is a where the bathroom was. Notice the corner how haphazard looking the rock appears to be in the corners. But Wow they really have done a great job standing under all the fire and Oklahoma weather!! I’m so proud of my rock!!
Closer picture of same thing!!
This is the first wooden frame wall that went up. This is just as it was built originally and they are using the same metal anchors to reconnect the rock facade back into the framing.
Close up of metal anchors!
We discovered these 1×12’s behind the recent wall coverings and will rebuild with these and as you can see originally they were stained then later painted over. We will go back to the 1939 walls which were a reddish-brown stain! I can’t wait to see it!
So as you can see in these pictures it is quite tedious and boring but such an important piece of the puzzle. It must be done accuratly and carefully and this stage really connects the past with the future of this building.
For those wondering, what I do with my time. Lots of paperwork and talking with those helping at this point. I have also volunteered to assistant coach my daughter’s cross country team and am really enjoying that. Even Paul, has started running with the team. I’m so proud of him he is in 2nd grade and competing with 6th graders!!! I have always been very hands on with my children and any teenager who says to keep away ~ I encourage you to just try harder to be more involved! Alexis has been so much fun to be with and they get used to you being around. I sacrifice my taste in music and I’ve had to learn to text but the payoff has been awesome~so far we have a great relationship although she is in what is referred as the rebellious years!
Again! I can’t wait to get back to the day-to-day of the Rock, I miss everyone so much you are all part of my family!! And I want it all back.
If road rumors are correct, Sir Paul McCartney and new girlfriend, don’t know name and I apologize for that, passed by the cafe on Tuesday. How dissapointing to have them see the Rock in such a state, but how great for this couple to pick Route 66 to begin their new relationship on. If legend is correct it was the girlfriends idea which makes her a sure bet because she must have good taste and great ideas!! I’ll bet a great new song or two will come from this trip!!
The progress on the cafe is we have a wonderful architect, and structural engineer, and construction company! And insurance company!!! By names in order are Mike Kertok, Garland Pendergraf, Hugh O’Hara, and Travelers Insurance Company!!! I feel very good about this team and let me tell you, we are moving. I should say they are. We should begin an intial phase of construction. The team feels very strongly about getting the building permanently stablized and this happens by constucting the inside walls with the same wooden framing and attaching that with metal anchors to the original rock facade. This construction should begin within the next week and half. It is a very scary process and once done we can begin inviting people closer to the property. This is exciting because we can also begin fundraising on site with some Route 66 gatherings of some sort. This is where you can be involved through some suggestions and visits to the property and the event. I am so thankfull to be involved with a group of people who truly hold American values that make us a force to be dealt with. Route 66 is representative of the America we all dream of and I’m proud of all of us and happy that Sir Paul and his girlfriend chose us to inspire their new relationship. It should be a rock solid bonding experience for them.
There is so much going on behind the silence of the past two weeks. Most of which I’m not able to talk about at the moment because mainly I don’t want to jinx it. I would like to say that I’ve met the nicest group of people and whether I get to work with them or not I’m glad to have the priveledge to have had the experience. I can say that I have a prelimanary meeting with a historic architect on Monday and I’m very excited. The walls are in good condition and seem to be holding their own. I can’t wait to hear the architects opinion and ideas on this project. Insurance is getting closer to being over and that has been quite an experience. Meanwhile, do not fear we are fiercly continueing to cook. Bev and I are taking this time to learn new things. Our familys are thrilled with the new choices and we think you will be to. The most exciting is that Bev is mastering her mother’s homemade yeast rolls. OMG–her mom, Bobbie, and I have a deal worked out where she makes bread for me and I trade her with my Quiche. I don’t know who is getting the better deal. I do know that both is the REAL DEAL;-)) !!
So Bev and I and our familys miss everyone so much. Our heart and soul can not wait to be back to what we do best which is serve you up delicious food while sharing our lives and yours!! Even you irritating ones!!!
We have so much to tell you!!
So do not think we are off track. We are putting together the best possible plan and with any magic at all it will be more exciting than any of us can imagine!!
I truly LOVE MY LIFE and can’t wait to get back to it!!