A Dodson’s cafeteria in Yukon?


Back in the early 90’s, I was visiting with Spanish Cove marketing director Jerry O’Hare about us pooling our resources to recruit a Wyatt’s, Luby’s, Furr’s or Dodson’s cafeteria into Yukon.

Jerry always talked about how family-oriented Yukon was and that he really wanted to see a cafeteria near Spanish Cove or out on I-40 for all the families who visited their relatives from Spanish Cove, to be able to gather together.

At the time, there was a Luby’s cafeteria in Bethany along NW 39th and MacArthur that was pulling considerable business from Yukon. A family could go get in that line, choose a meat, 2 vegetables, a hot roll and a dessert (LuAnn Platter) pay $8.99 each, all sit together without staring at cell phones and enjoy a meal together as a family.

During that time, I was fortunate enough to finally visit with the site selection manager/marketing director for Wyatt’s cafeteria. I asked her what it would take for them to build a cafeteria here in Yukon. I mentioned that Jim Crosby and Frosty Peak were working with the Albertson’s people to help us land a new interchange off Cornwell that would bring thousands of potential customers into Yukon and that we could get them a prime spot near that interchange. The bottom line she told me was that Yukon needed to have 40,000 population for them to even consider a location in the area.

That phone call has always stuck with me. I just knew I could sell Yukon to her and land us a cafeteria. Since then, I have watched Yukon add more than 20 unique national/regional restaurants that pull much of their business right off I-40 from the 88,000 cars that are tracked each day at exit 136. I have eaten at every one of these restaurants. They all have their niche. But I still wish we had that cafeteria-style buffet just like the old Dodson’s cafeteria I used to go to as a kid.

If I get a chance to work with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe and they end-up relocating a casino to the far west side of Yukon, I hope to convince them to add a giant buffet like the one in Riverwind casino. I still like to see our senior citizens choosing a cup of carrot-jello salad, a veal cutlet, scoop of mashed potatoes and a small serving of butterscotch pudding for dessert.

I know many of my readers are 50-plus years old. If you are not aware of it and would like to read an interesting book, go on Amazon and order Classic Restaurants of Oklahoma City by Dave Cathey. You can get it for about $20 and it will really take you back in time. Or, try the book Life on the Line: the Dodson’s Cafeteria Story. You should be able to buy it for about $10. It is really fun to read.

At one time, Oklahoma City was called the “Cafeteria Capital of the World.” They were an early version of “fast food” before McDonald’s or Sonic franchises sprouted. This book will tell you the story of the Dodson family and their beloved Dodson’s cafeteria, an Oklahoma treasure.

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I spent last Sunday night at our Yukon Louie’s watching the OKC Thunder/Portland Trailblazer game. I had just finished a tough workout at the gym and needed to go get my fix of blackened Tilapia, fresh fruit cup and fried green beans. I never even look at the menu when I go. They know me and know how predictable I am.

However, I was more surprised that they had taken my beloved fish off the menu than I was that Russell Westbrook continued to take 17 shots he should have never taken. What was I going to do now that I had no fish? I ended-up ordering a meat lovers pizza as I again watched our basketball team struggle. I struggled to eat the entire pizza so I guess it was just not anyone’s night.

During their run to the NBA finals in 2012, the OKC Thunder was about the only bright spot for me as I went through a painful divorce. Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha and Nick Collison’s efforts gave me something to be happy about.

That basketball team’s accomplishments came at the perfect time for me and I will always remember that special run to the finals. I have grown up with the Dallas Cowboys and have made them a big part of my life. I’m glad we have the OKC Thunder right down the street.

They have really brought our state together and I think we will ultimately see an NBA championship here.

The whole world was watching us in 2012 and I think they will all be watching us and visiting us again real soon. I just wish we had more cafeterias here for them to really get a taste of our “Oklahoma Standard.”

Thanks so much for reading. I will see you next Saturday. Would you like a Progress?