You’re on an interstate blander than soggy bread. You turn left six miles east outside of Tulsa city limits, and suddenly the magic begins. You’re on Route 66 now. Off to the left you see a big ol’ swimming hole, and a long and gaily painted bright blue whale is smiling at you. Just beyond that is a wide, lazy river. You turn in a driveway, cross an 80-year-old steel bridge, and there, beyond a bright , somewhat shaggy garden, is the sort of rambling wood and stone-faced house a hobbit would be proud to own. It’s a product of luck, sweat and chance.
“There was never a long-term plan,” says Molly’s Landing manager Russ White. “One thing came after the other.”
White’s family owned barges on the river, and about 30 years ago his mother, Linda Powell, saw a large parcel of land for sale. She decided a log cabin would look just fine on her new land, so she and her family built one. They worked nonstop through seemingly incessant rain. It took two years. The cabin was too big for a home, so, she thought, “Why not open a restaurant?”
Inside it’s all dark wood and whimsy, and the bare-raftered, peaked ceilings are high. On the walls are animal heads – one is from one of the largest moose bagged in Alaska – hanging plants and miscellaneous memorabilia. It’s remote and romantic; many marriage proposals have been made here. But people come back for the food. The mouth-watering steaks are aged 45 days and seasoned (except in winter) with herbs grown in the garden. Also popular are quail, pork chops, prawns and walleye. If you need a toothpick, get some from the big, stuffed alligator that stands upright near the cash desk and wears a red bandanna. 3700 N. Highway 66, Catoosa. www.mollyslanding.com