By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Other | Issue: March 2013
Owner Jim Rice and server Carrie Burr have enjoyed long associations with Knotty Pine Barbeque.
If you lived in northeastern Oklahoma during the 50s, 60s, or 70s, when you hear the word barbeque the first name that most likely comes to mind is Knotty Pine. This institution established roots in Sand Springs in 1952 by founder Paul Woodard. The Knotty Pine first opened doors as a beer joint that served some barbeque. In 1962 Mr. Woodard decided he needed to change the image of the establishment and changed the name to Knotty Pine Barbeque. It became a premier barbeque restaurant that served some beer and met the community’s need for a place to sit down for some great food and fellowship.
It was not uncommon “back in the day” to see the county sheriff, the mayor, or even the state governor at the Knotty Pine. It seemed that everybody went there during the years the restaurant was establishing itself as the local landmark, which would burn to the ground in May of 2010 due to a fire started by a faulty smoker.
Knotty Pine Barbeque reopened its doors on November 5, 2012 at 1424 W. Kenosha, across the street from the Rhema Fitness Center in Broken Arrow. Owner Jim Rice said that the foundation of Knotty Pine’s success has always been its select, choice meat. “Paul Woodward insisted on buying the best beef and pork available, and it’s the principle we follow today at our restaurant in Broken Arrow.” Rice buys corn-fed beef from Arkansas and travels there personally to make periodic inspections to assure the quality stays at the highest level for his restaurant.
“We were taught that to be successful, we must maintain our standards of great food and great employees,” Rice said. Nine of his 15 servers previously worked for Knotty Pine in the Sand Springs restaurant. Prices are very competitive, from the basic sandwich to full-order dinners. The Broken Arrow restaurant is decorated with lots of Harley Davidson memorabilia, and you never know who you’ll see there. “Come for the food, stay for the ambiance,” says Jim. “We’re famous for serving up the best of both.”
Jim says he feels the menu and the food are better now than ever before, and his high-tech smoker is near failsafe with dozens of devices that will shut down the system if ever a potential fire-causing problem is perceived. Longtime friends of Knotty Pine tell Jim that they believe his food is better than the original served back in the early days and that their mouths still water whenever they think about the Knotty Pine menu.
Carrie Burr, whose husband is a Tulsa police officer, started working for Knotty Pine in Sand Springs 24 years ago. “Customers tell me all the time that this is the best barbeque they’ve ever eaten,” she said. One Oklahoma native who now resides in California notified Jim on Facebook that he was traveling back just to eat at Knotty Pine.
The menu features beef, bologna, chicken, ham, hot links, pork, sausage, ribs, spare ribs, chopped brisket, sliced brisket, sandwiches, slaw, potato salad, beans, spuds, sides, salads, desserts, and catering for all events. If you savor barbeque with all the fixin’s, Knotty Pine has it. And the best part of eating there is that it’s delicious and guaranteed to fill your stomach without emptying your pocketbook.
Knotty Pine Barbeque is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Many of you already know owner Jim Rice. If you don’t, stop by and introduce yourself while you enjoy some of the best barbeque in Oklahoma. Once you enter their doors, you’ll be hooked.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.