Northeast Oklahoma restaurant celebrates 150 years


CHELSEA, Ok. — A local restaurant is celebrating longevity.

Niecy Mayhew, Bowlin’s Bar-B-Que Customer, said, “That’s a long time I mean my grandfather used to sit there on the steps. They used to pump gas here and he’d sit out there.”

Niecy Mayhew is a resident in Craig County and has grown up around Bowlin’s.

“I grew up not too far from here and it’s always been here um they always help the community. If you had a project at the school or FFA program or 4-H they were glad to come out and support and different events by sponsoring it. Livestock shows and things like that, they’ve had family reunions. It’s just always been here.”

Bowlin’s was established in 1879 by the owners grandfather.

“They were here a long time, I mean they were here before statehood. It’s something you come home from college and know you can get a BBQ sandwich and if you had a wedding or a special event at work and they would come out and cater to those different events I mean it was just a staple in the community. They’ve always been here and always be in the future also.”

For being around for so long, it wasn’t just visited by residents and Indian natives.

Charles Bowlin, Co-Owner, said, “People that been here are well known also, Little Joe Washington of course he being from Texas. I don’t know if you remember he played against the University of Texas now but he was in Oklahoma. Grant Bergent who played on the national championship team he’s been here. Nick Cornet who used to be the Mayor of Oklahoma City has been here. Lots of folks, there are representatives and senators that have been here over the years so it’s well known.”

Back in the day, there wasn’t a Walmart or markets around and Bowlin’s would be the main stop for residents and local Indian tribes to get food and water while they traveled.

Oh gosh it’s very important. I mean, being a locally owned business in this community especially in this day and time being here that long, a hundred and fifty years. That’s longer than most grocery stores and schools that have been around this day. Schools have opened and closed for one hundred and fifty years and Bowlins is still here.”

The current owners will continue their grandfathers legacy and keep the establishment open as long as possible.

“Well you know I’m getting up in years but I feel fairly comfortable to hang on a few more. But I’m pleased with what we are doing here and enjoyed we’ve done this a long time and will continue a little longer,” said Bowlin.

If you are in the area, Bowlin’s Store and Restaurant is open on Friday’s and Saturdays at 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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