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Tulsa World ArticleHappy Days Are Here Again
By SCOTT CHERRY World Entertainment Writer 6/21/2002
Arnold's specializes in old-fashioned hamburgers and real malts served in a frosted mug with a dollop of whipped cream on top. JANAE GIVENS / Tulsa World
Arnold's serving up burgers and malts
Sixteen years ago, Frank Arnold came to two realizations: He wanted to get back into the restaurant business, and he wanted to return to his roots in west Tulsa.
He achieved both when he and wife Vicki opened Arnold's Hamburgers, located just west of Union Avenue and just north of I-44.
"It was modeled a little after the Arnold's in the `Happy Days' television show, but it's also our name, so it worked both ways," said Arnold.
With photos of the Fonz, Elvis, Lucy and James Dean; pictures of old motorcycles, models of old cars, chrome chairs and music from Dion and Lesley Gore, there's no question what era we're shooting for here. A lighted but non-working '53 Wurlitzer Hi-Fi Stereo adds to the motif.
This all seems perfect for a restaurant that specializes in old- fashioned hamburgers and real malts served in a frosted mug with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
"A lot of places serve shakes but don't go that extra step to serve malts," said Arnold. "I wouldn't be surprised if there are kids out there today who don't know what a real malt is."
Malts come in two sizes and three flavors -- chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Two other old favorites, cherry limeade and root beer in a mug, are $1.09 to $1.29.
Hamburgers have that old-fashioned flavor found only in "real" hamburger joints. The only other choices are three sandwiches -- grilled chicken, fried chicken and chicken club. Side choices are fries and onion rings.
That is pretty much it.
"We felt most people like a good, old-fashioned hamburger, so that's what we have stuck with," said Arnold, who estimated his kitchen kicks out 400 to 500 hamburgers a day.
That's a believable number. After Arnold's opened at 11 a.m. on a recent Thursday, 20 customers were in the 56-seat restaurant by 11:15, and a steady flow continued through the lunch hour.
Arnold said he plans to expand the restaurant to about 68 seats and remodel much of the store sometime this fall.
"Most everything except the carpet is original, so some things are showing some wear," he said. "It's time to refresh it a bit."
Arnold, a Webster High School graduate, got his start in the food business by working at Carl's Coney Island in Crystal City Shopping Center when he was in high school. At the age of 21 he purchased his own coney place in Catoosa and operated it for five years.
"That was a learning experience," said Arnold. "I didn't make any money, but it was educational. I was out of the restaurant business for a couple of years before I realized I missed it and missed west Tulsa. That led to Arnold's."
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