Selling and buying cattle in Oklahoma can work up an appetite. With the hustle and bustle of livestock auctions, sale barns enter a whole new realm of intensity on market days.
Folks participating in the sales, as well as spectators, are sure to need some sustenance. That’s where sale barn cafes come in. Many sale barns throughout Oklahoma include cafes, offering customers a place to grab a hearty breakfast, lunch or supper, featuring down-home cooking prepared by top-notch chefs.
Rockin 9 Grill & Deli
In Woodward, Rockin 9 Grill & Deli serves meals on sale days at Woodward Livestock Auction, and also to hungry patrons most days of the week.
The Rockin 9 serves everything from tri-tips and ribs to a wide range of vegetables and desserts, and features a salad bar with over 20 items, including plenty of choices for kids.
Jerry Nine, who runs the Woodward Livestock Auction on Tuesdays and Thursdays since opening in 2000, took over ownership of Rockin 9 in January 2016. The restaurant stays busy on the two sale days, but it gets enough business to also be open every other day (except Saturdays). This includes a family buffet on Friday nights and brunch on Sundays.
The cafe is open its normal business hours or “until sales are over on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” says Susan Priori, who helps run Rockin 9. “On a recent day, we were here for 21 hours,” she says.
Ranch House Cafe
The menu is simple yet certainly mouthwatering at Ranch House Cafe, which has been a part of OKC West Livestock Market since Bill Barnhart opened it in El Reno in 1989. Longtime professional chef Ed Strawn runs the establishment.
“Strawn does a great job; he keeps the place clean and everybody likes the food,” Barnhart says. “You can get a chicken-fried steak, or a big, juicy hamburger or rib-eye steak. We have sales every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and he stays very busy those days.
“It’s just a downhome cookin’ kind of place,” he adds. “It’s simple, but good, food.”
Seating is offered, but perhaps more importantly, there is also service for on-the-go folks.
“When you get in the middle of a cattle auction, it is one transaction after another and busy all day long,” Barnhart says. “Within a few steps of the arena you have a place to eat, and the cafe will serve you while you’re sitting there buying cattle.”
Mondays are sale days at the stockyard, which is owned by Joe Don Eaves. Hochstetler says the rain seems to add to what already is a busy place.
“Rainy days are best for business,” she says. “It just seems if it’s rainy outside, all the farmers come to the sales.”
Sunny Mondays aren’t too bad either. Cowboy Cafe opens early in the morning and doesn’t close until after the day’s last cattle sale. The only other day the place is open is the first Thursday of each month for horse sales. Cowboy Cafe serves hearty, homemade foods, such as hamburgers, fries and chicken- fried steak, among other offerings.
“But what we’re really known for are our desserts,” Hochstetler says. “They’re all made from scratch.”