Eskimo Joe's Stillwater Reviews
Jun 11, 2007
About to enter its 32nd year of bringing big smiles to Oklahoma and the world, Eskimo Joe's is one of the most famous college restaurant/bar hangouts in all of the United States.
Opening up as a straight-up bar in 1975, Eskimo Joe's has grown both literally and figuratively into a hugely-popular place to go eat with your family or drink with your buddies.
"Stillwater's Jumpin' Little Juke Joint" got its start in a modest-enough way, as a small, single-room bar. Serving only beer and alcohol, the name of "Eskimo Joe's" was chosen to let the town of Stillwater know that they had the coldest beer in town.
Originally, it was planned for Joe's to be a college bar hangout, with students hanging out for cold brew and good times. But then they added a food menu and the place started to really take off. Along the way, they added a fun t-shirt and clothing line, but more on that later.
This is a great place to come to if you're looking for a unique hang-out with good food and drinks. They serve a traditional American fare menu, ranging from burgers to chicken sandwiches and on up to steak. But what it is famous for food-wise are the Cheese Fries. If you go, you HAVE to get these. It's a rite of passage of sorts, as they're the most talked-about item on the menu.
While it's a restaurant by day, after 10:30pm it morphs into a bar, with the focus becoming alcohol and music. Over the years Joe's has become a great place to catch a show, as they book a lot of great midwest US talent to play during the evenings. They stick mainly to rock-oriented acts, but mix in country and pop for good measure. If you're there for a show, you need to get a "Little Joe," which is a draft beer in a plastic Eskimo Joe's tumbler. A tradition is to drink as many Little Joe's as you can and then you'll have new drink glasses for your house, since you can take home every tumbler you get a drink in.
The building itself is old and new. The original structure is covered with stone walls, but it has been added onto many times. It's now two-stories tall and probably three times as big as when it originally opened. A cool note about Joe's is the "Joe Dome." That's the section of the bar that has a retractible roof over it, which can be opened whenever the weather is good. The music acts play on the first level under the Dome.
So while it's a place to eat at and drink at, it's also a place to clothe yourself at. Along the way of its life, Eskimo Joe's started making t-shirts with the smiling Eskimo Joe and his husky friend, Buffy, on them. They became very popular items, as the EJ shirts are now the No. 2 most-bought t-shirts for a restaurant just behind the Hard Rock Cafe. From the traditional logo shirt to the themed shirts, there is a shirt there you'll likely want to take home with you. They also sell other trinkets, from key chains to sweatshirts.
All in all, EJ's is a fun place. It's pretty basic, but that's what makes it great. It's an institution that has managed to keep its small charm even after outgrowing its original building, requiring several expansions to keep pace with the popularity. It's definitely THE place to check out if you're ever in Stillwater, America.
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