Within minutes of arriving at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, a young woman with a cheerful smile and a gift for hospitality greeted us. 

Her name was Meg.

Meg Kane hands out cold bottles of water and umbrellas to people in line at The Mercantile.

Meg’s job is to welcome visitors to The Merc and ensure they are as comfortable as possible while waiting in line (sometimes for hours) to taste Ree Drummond’s recipes.

It was obvious to us that Meg loved her summer job and that she was just the right person to welcome people to Pawhuska and make them forget how long they’d been waiting in that line for a chicken fried steak.

I asked her how she got this gig, suspecting she’d stopped by a job fair or applied online. Nope. Ree texted her. Turns out, Meg is Meg Kane. Daughter of Hyacinth Kane – who, if you’ve watched Food Network’s The Pioneer Woman at all, you know is Ree’s BFF.

“My family is good friends with the Drummonds and Ree just texted me and asked if I needed a job for the summer,” Meg said. “I told her, ‘sure.’ I could talk to people all day.”

And that’s exactly what she does.

We returned to The Merc our second day in Pawhuska to find Meg walking up and down the line of visitors, handing out icy cold popsicles and sidewalk chalk and answering questions.

We loved the sidewalk chalk that they handed out to people in line at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

Her younger brother, Phillip, sometimes hangs out in the line with her, giving people complimentary bottled water or passing out umbrellas to help block the blazing Oklahoma sun. Can you believe the hospitality at this place? Who does this?

Meg’s brother Phillip sometimes hangs out with her as she tends to people in line at The Mercantile.

They also do what they can to keep people occupied and focused on something other than the homemade cinnamon rolls waiting for them inside.

The Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls which were absolutely drowning in frosting. Yum!

They lead Pioneer Woman trivia contests and play minute-to-win-it challenges with people who have traveled from near and far. And if you’re wondering if the winners get to advance in line, the answer is no.  Everyone’s a VIP here.

The line for lunch at the deli at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

I was curious about the questions Meg gets asked each day and sure enough, she was kind enough to share them with us. Here are the nine questions she said she gets asked the most, along with her typical answers.

Q: What’s this line for? (Meg says this is the #1 most-asked question, by far)

A: The line is for people waiting to be seated for a meal inside The Pioneer Woman Mercantile deli.

Steve visiting with Meg Kane while waiting in line at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

Q: Is Ree here?

A: Depends on the day but she’s usually here every two or three days when she’s in town.

Q: How long is the wait?

A: The wait can be anywhere from a few minutes to four hours. We measure the length of the wait by looking at the lines in between buildings on the block. Sometimes when I tell people it might be three hours I’m shocked at how nice they are and how willing they are to wait. You’d think they’d be throwing a fit, but they don’t.

The Grab and Go menu at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile included slow braised beef pot roast and comfort meatballs.

[Note: The line seemed to move very quickly at the “grab and go” counter where you can purchase prepared hot or cold meals like Ree’s chicken spaghetti, a turkey sandwich, or her Asian beef salad.  Just before noon, we were able to get through the line with our “grab and go” purchases in about 10 minutes.]

Q: What’s that building across the street?

A: It’s called the Triangle Building and it has been around since 1913. During Osage County’s oil boom, it is said to have housed offices for as many as 180 lawyers.  It is currently under renovation.

The Triangle Building across the street from The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

Q: What are your favorite items on the menu?

A: I love the queso dip and the chicken parm is amazing.  

The Pioneer Woman queso dip was amazing, especially with the charred cheese on top.

Q: Do they enforce the two-hour parking out front?

A: I probably shouldn’t say this, but not really.

We were so excited to snag a great parking spot right in front of The Pioneer Woman Mercantile. And there were no parking fees!

Q: Are you from Pawhuska?

A: Yes, I was born and raised in Pawhuska. In fact, I’m one of the very last babies born in the Pawhuska Hospital. There is still a hospital here, but they don’t deliver babies anymore.

Q: Where’s the bathroom?

A: There is one on the first floor of the Merc near the gift-wrap counter and one on the second floor near the bakery.

One of the beautifully decorated bathrooms at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

Q: Is there a bar in town?

A: Yes, but don’t go in there wearing your Chacos.

Q: Is Bre here?

A: Do you even know where you are?

Meg told us at the end of the summer, she plans to return to the University of Oklahoma where she is studying to be a nurse. As for summer jobs, she was quick to say this has been her best job ever. 

“I used to work across the street at the Prairie Dog (a local hot dog shop),” Meg said. “It was a good job but my mom always went around town calling me the wiener girl.  I’d say, ‘really, mom?”

So, for now, Meg will keep answering questions, handing out water, and meeting new people from all over the world, who might never have come to Pawhuska, if not for The Pioneer Woman. “I meet the most incredible people in this line,” she said. “The people who are from here and the people who come here are just real genuine. “

And as far as we can tell, Meg is as genuine as they come.


Note: Thank you, Meg Kane, for taking the time to visit with us and for allowing us to publish your comments. YOU ROCK!

As always, thanks for sharing (and Pinning)!

 

  • Just over two years ago, we stopped in Pawhuska to have lunch at Ree Drummond's @PWMercantile. From the person opening the door for us to the folks tending the line giving us water, we felt welcome from the moment we set foot in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.⁣
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But it turns out it wasn't just @thepioneerwoman and her husband, Ladd, who went above and beyond to welcome visitors. No, it turns out what they did was just par for the course in this town that's home to some of the friendliest and most welcoming people we've met in all our travels. ⁣
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So we bought a house there. We got it in part, so we could be a part of the community we've come to love. But we also got it so we could help welcome folks to town and let them know how glad we are they came to visit. Come and see Pawhuska. And when you do, stay awhile.
  • Fried dill pickles are a little different in North Dakota than they are in most other places we've been. Instead of just dipping some dill chips in batter, dropping them in the fryer, and then serving them in a basket with ranch, the folks there take their time and make a dish to remember.⁣
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They start with a dill pickle spear, wrap that in Havarti cheese, then put a wonton wrapper around it all. Then, they fry it, and slice it open just so before serving them alongside a spicy aioli dipping sauce. We had these at a complimentary meal at Outlaws Bar and Grill in @visitwilliston, North Dakota.⁣
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Let's be honest, these pickles are just one of many reasons we look forward to our return to @northdakotalegendary next year.
  • Have you ever had the chance to watch a cruise ship come into or leave port? These massive ships, often 1,000 feet or more long, can maneuver themselves by the dock so gently that you don't even realize you've stopped (or started) moving.⁣
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In Bermuda, we had the chance to watch the Norwegian Escape depart. We watched as she pushed away from the dock, then spun 180 degrees on a point before heading out to sea.⁣
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We've seen ships do this dozens of times. In fact, we've been on ships and have been part of this type of maneuvering dozens of times. And yet, given the sheer size of the vessels, it never ceases to impress.
  • You know you want to. Do it. Just book the ticket and go. At the end of your life, you likely won't remember most of the stuff you bought in 2019, but you will always remember the journey you took and the experiences you had. So enrich your life and go. We've never regretted spending money for a trip.
  • This just might be the sweetest, best pecan roll we've ever had. At the @PWMercantile, they bake these delicious treats daily. Covered in a luscious caramel and finely chopped pecans, these rolls are the stuff dreams are made of. Have you had one?
  • Smack in the middle of Portland, Oregon, we found the International Rose Test Garden. Set on 4.5 acres of land, the garden offers visitors a chance to see 10,000 rose bushes from about 650 different varieties. ⁣
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We spent more than an hour walking the carefully tended paths, snapping photos, and just enjoying the beautiful flowers. Our visit here made us glad that we literally scheduled time on this trip to stop and smell the roses.
  • Set in a renovated middle school in Grinnell, Iowa, Hotel Grinnell is one of our favorite boutique hotels. The owner thoughtfully designed the space and included touches from school including “Hall Pass” key card sleeves, and a bar cleverly named, “The Periodic Table.” We wrote a story on this hotel, you can read all about it on our blog. Link in bio. @hotelgrinnell #hosted @traveliowa
  • Everyone has a happy place, a spot where the world melts away and a sense of relaxation and calm settles in. For Steve, this place is on board a cruise ship, out on open water. He can spend hours sitting and watching the water, the ship's wake, and looking out for other ships. He loves soaking up the sun and fresh ocean air while cruising along on the sea. ⁣
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What's your happy place? ⁣
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