Harden’s Hamburgers is a place that’s been on my radar since I bought my first copy of Hamburger America. And then a couple of folks, from Tulsa, gave it to me as a recommendation over the last couple of years, when I asked about “great burgers” from their hometown. We were heading to the bluegrass festival and hit Tulsa about lunchtime. This seemed like the perfect occasion to give Harden’s a try.
I put the name into Google maps and it pulled up a location that was different than the one I had in my notes, on South Sheridan. They must’ve moved, I figured. So we hit “start directions” and off we went. And there we were towing a camper, in circles, around a complex of big-box stores. Maps kept saying we “had arrived”, but there was no burger joint to be found. So we circled again, until we had arrived. It turns out, they had moved – inside Mathis Brothers Furniture.
Doing a little web-diving, I found that Harden’s Hamburgers was originally called Johney’s Jip Joint, owned by Johney Harden, and has been around since 1939. Johney’s became Harden’s and then the old-fashioned burger recipes were passed on to the second owner, Rick West, who “kept the tradition going”. Searching further. I found that Tony Rodriguez purchased Harden’s in August 2014.
I will say this is the first time I’ve ever ordered a hamburger inside a furniture store. In talking with the young man behind the counter, it seems that the owner of Harden’s had decided to close, but had found this location serving the same burgers. I ordered a cheeseburger with tater tots. I mean you can’t go wrong with tater tots.
It was a griddled burger, with bacon underneath and melted cheese on top. It was surprisingly good, for where we were. Heck – it was a good burger, regardless of where it was. Apparently, it used to be one of the places to go.