Duffy's: Diner builds great reputation over 24 years in Broken Arrow
BY SCOTT CHERRY World Restaurant Critic
Thursday, September 27, 2012
3/28/13 at 8:07 AM
Eddie Chamat said when he took over Duffy's restaurant in Broken Arrow some 24 years ago, the shopping center where it is located was new.
"Everything around here was new, and we were one of the only restaurants in the area where you could get breakfast, lunch and dinner," Chamat said.
"The original owner was here less than a year before he sold it to me. I own the name."
Chamat said as the area aged many customers have aged with it and still frequent the restaurant.
"Some people eat here all week," Chamat said.
I initially wanted to go by for breakfast (free coffee 6-11 a.m. Monday-Friday was a good enough excuse), but we wound up there for dinner instead, for no particular reason.
We had a 12-ounce rib-eye dinner ($13.99), a smothered chicken breast ($8.99) and an appetizer of fried green beans ($6.99).
The rib-eye was the highlight. It was wide and a little thin but a good 12 to 13 ounces, tender and cooked to a perfect medium-rare, as ordered.
The chicken breast had been pounded flat, probably 6 inches across, and was covered with a layer of two slices of melted Swiss cheese topped with sauteed mushrooms. The chicken was tender, and the mushrooms maintained a good texture.
I suspect it has a lot to do with what the customers want - after a quarter century, Chamat no doubt has figured this out - but all of the sides erred on the side of bland.
We had green beans, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, pinto beans, and spinach (which resembled the canned grocery-store variety), and all needed a little boost from the table condiments, in my opinion. Our server did offer vinegar for the spinach.
The crunchy fried green beans could have come out of the fryer just a tad sooner, but we still gobbled them up with a good ranch dressing dip. The dressing also went well with the standard dinner salad.
Duffy's has a wide-ranging menu of traditional breakfast items, along with sandwiches, burgers and typical diner entrees such as roast beef, country-fried steak, chicken strips, pork chops, spaghetti and beef livers.
A senior menu offers 10 items at reduced prices.
Chamat said this year will mark the 24th year he has offered free Thanksgiving dinners. Last year, the restaurant drew 1,000 Thanksgiving Day diners.
Chamat said he has franchised and sold some Duffy's locations over the years. He said two of his brothers operate two Duffy's restaurants in Tulsa.
Waitress turns 79, still going strong
Christine Madewell, who turned 79 last week, remembers her first job in the restaurant business.
"I've been working since 1956," she said. "I was a carhop at Wynn's Drive-In in Tulsa. I later worked at Cotton's Drive-In, Silver Castle, Hanson's, Valley Inn Motel and some others."
For the past 20 years she has been a waitress at Duffy's in Broken Arrow.
"When I first started here, I made all of the pies and cakes, too," Madewell said.
"I think the help started eating it all, and I stopped doing it."
She added with a sly grin, "I think Eddie (owner Eddie Chamat) was going in the hole on those pies and cakes."
Madewell has reduced her workload to three days a week. Her co-workers said her station always is full, and she never misses a shift.
706 S. Elm Place,
(on a scale of 0 to 4 stars)
6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days
a week; accepts all major
Original Print Headline: Tried and true
Scott Cherry 918-581-8463
The ham steak dinner comes with mashed potatoes, green beans, corn and a roll at Duffy's restaurant in Broken Arrow. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
Christine Madewell, who just turned 79, sits with Eddie Chamat, owner of Duffy's restaurant in Broken Arrow, where she has waited tables for 20 years. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World