I had my doubts when Ann told me she wanted to visit The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Okla. For me, I couldn’t see how this would be time well spent. I envisioned a crowded store with mostly middle-aged women roaming around, oohing and aaahing at spatulas and cast iron skillets with the same starry eyes that middle school girls have at a Justin Bieber concert. As it turns out, I was not wrong.

A view of The Pioneer Woman Mercantile from the staircase leading up to the second floor.

But men, listen up, here are six good reasons why you should go:

1. Real butter.

Cinnamon rolls, pecan sticky buns, blondie bars, and cookies, all made with real butter. Just go to the bakery and settle in. You can thank me when you wake up from your carb-induced food coma.

The Pioneer Woman Mercantile Sticky Bun

The Pioneer Woman knows how to bake, and this pecan sticky bun proves it.

 2. Happy wife, happy life.

Let’s be honest for a minute, guys. Our wives do some great things for us and visiting The Merc (as Ree calls it) gives us a chance to do something nice for them. When we visited, we hoped to enjoy an early supper there. We pulled up and found a line stretching about 3/4 of the way up the block. I told Ann that she could go inside and have fun looking around the store and I’d stand outside in the line for a table in the deli. She took me up on it, and so I stood there for nearly two hours, gaining quiet hero status among my wife and the dozens of other women who comprised 88% of the people in line.

And the best part? At the end of my wait, I sat down to a tall glass of blackberry tea and a plate of Ree’s chicken fried steak. It was a fork-tender, thinly sliced ribeye, breaded and fried to perfection, served with a side of delicious mashed potatoes, all smothered in creamy country gravy. I ask you, who came out the winner on this one?

PW Mercantile Country Fried Steak

The chicken fried steak at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile tastes even better than it looks!

3. You’ll feel truly welcome.

We pulled up in Pawhuska about 3:10 p.m. on a sunny, Oklahoma day in June. About two minutes after pulling my hero routine and telling Ann to go inside while I waited, I began to regret that decision as the sun relentlessly beat down on me and my bald spot. But then a nice young lady named Meg came along and offered me an umbrella and a bottle of water.

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

And I stood, out of the worst of the sun, thirst quenched, chatting with others who were waiting, and had a really pleasant afternoon. All of this made me wonder, ‘What business does this sort of thing?’ This was not normal. It was far better than that — it was humanizing. The Drummonds actually care about the people who come to their store, and that’s pretty special.

PW Mercantile greeter

We asked this greeter if she were there to open the door if it got windy. She said, “No. I’m here because Ree and Ladd want people to feel welcome.”


PIN FOR LATER

 


On the show, the Drummonds appear to be fairly normal and down-to-earth people that you think you’d probably like to get to know. While we didn’t have the chance to meet them, after visiting Pawhuska I’m convinced it is not just an act you see on TV. People in line told us they’d seen Ladd come out of his office which is upstairs near the bakery (lucky man). They said he doesn’t use a secret door. Instead, he walks up and down the stairs like everyone else, chatting with people and stopping to pose for pictures along the way.

Corinne Nuss and her twin sister, Connie Scism met Ladd Drummond at The Mercantile on their visit to Pawhuska this summer.

4. The prices won’t break the bank.

In creating The Merc, the Drummonds created a business to which hundreds of people flock daily. They could charge whatever ridiculous amount they wanted for the food and merchandise. And visitors would pay. In fact, this is what I expected — after all it happens nearly everywhere we go these days. But that was before I realized they believe their customers are people.

The Pioneer Woman Mercantile Merchandise

The merchandise at the PW Mercantile is reasonably priced.

The prices are completely reasonable. Ann, Meghan, and I each had dinner, some extra sides, and a bottomless glass of the best iced tea any of us had ever had for $64. Likewise, we picked up a few new things from The Merc that were also in line with pricing we see in other kitchen stores. It was obvious to us they are in this to share with their fans, not take advantage.

5. Charmin in the bathrooms.

They have Charmin toilet paper in the bathroom. Real Charmin. I could go into details on why that’s a good thing, but I think we all know.

The Pioneer Woman Mercantile toilet paper

When was the last time you saw Charmin in a public restroom?

6. You’ll love the food.

Chances are, if your wife wants to visit The Merc you are already an unknowing fan of Ree Drummond’s. More than once I’ve complimented Ann on a delicious dish, only to find out that it came from one of our Pioneer Woman cookbooks. Spicy queso dip, warm tomato soup with parmesan crisps, chicken enchilasagna, and pan fried pork chops are some of Ree’s dishes. Yum.

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

And, because of Ree Drummond, we always use real butter, and we always grate fresh cheese. Men, this is something you want to cultivate. Ree can flat out cook, and everyone, (women and men) can learn something from her.

I’m sure I’ll likely return to Pawhuska someday. [Author’s note: we now own a house there.] In fact, just writing this blog post reminds me of those cinnamon rolls and makes me want to get in the car right now. I guess what I want to say is, men, if your wife says she wants to go to Pawhuska, don’t be afraid. Trust me — pack some loose-fitting pants and go!

And more…

There are plenty of fun things for men to do while your wives shop. Click HERE to see the list. And if that isn’t enough, here’s a more complete list of 70 things to do in Pawhuska after eating at the Mercantile. Y’all just better plan a few days because the town is awesome!

As always, thanks for sharing (especially with the men you know and love)!

  • Steve writes: When I first set my eyes on the outside of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, I was unimpressed. In fact, I thought it was plain ugly. Construction continued, and I returned several times over the years, each time finding more to like about it. Finally, on a visit with Ann, the inside of the Cathedral was open for a visit. So we went inside.⁣
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Architect Antonin Gaudi's creation is brilliant. The way he uses stained glass to bring color to the stone inside, combined with the shadows created by the shape of the stone is breathtaking. Truly, this cathedral might be the most impressive one I've seen anywhere. This place should be on your bucket list. It's worth a trip to Barcelona to see it.
  • We've been going to the @PWMercantile for a couple of years now, especially since we bought a house in Pawhuska. Over that time, we've seen a number of changes both to the restaurant and to the merchandise they have in the store. But one item has remained constant: these turquoise beads.
  • One of our favorite stops on our hosted food tour of @visitkansascityks was the @403club. Sure, they offer a great selection of locally crafted and larger production domestic beers. But they also have pinball machines. In fact, they even have a pinball league.⁣
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We spent about an hour in this fun spot, sipping, playing, and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. It will definitely be on our list of places to go again, someday. Beer and pinball are a pretty good mix.
  • On our visit to Italy, we visited the Prosecco region. While we toured a number of wineries, we actually stayed at an inn run by the Roccat winery. ⁣
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Prosecco is a sparkling wine, and people often see it as intergangeable with champagne. This isn't the case at all. Champagne is made from the Chardonnay grape, while Prosecco comes from Glara. Because of this, the two wines are completely different.⁣
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We enjoyed a tasting at Roccat, where they served us glasses of crisp, clear, delicious wine alongside some crunchy breadsticks that were just the right thing to enjoy with the wine.⁣
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If you ever have the opportunity to go to Italy, make sure you include time to head to Valdobbiandene and try some Prosecco.
  • Located in @clearlakeiowa, the historic Surf Ballroom has hosted some of the biggest names in music. It was on this stage that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson performed their final show on February 3, 1959. After the concert, they boarded a plane for their next town on their tour. That plane crashed shortly after takeoff, and the date has been remembered ever since as "the day the music died."⁣
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@traveliowa
  • Set in Millennium Park in Chicago is one of the city's most iconic art installations. It's a giant, shiny bean which reflects everything in sight. It's fun to walk around (and under) the bean and see how the shape distorts what it reflects.⁣
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Folks come from all over to see this art installation and take it in. Children love running around it and gazing into it, not realizing they are learning about convex and concave shapes. ⁣
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Standing here you'll hear a multitude of languages and see people from all walks of life there to enjoy the art. And that's why we love public art so much--it brings people together.
  • On our cruise from Italy to Greece, we made a stop in Mykonos. There, we had the chance to take part in a Greek cooking class in a woman's home learning from her.⁣
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We spent an afternoon with lessons about Greek cuisine, and how they waste nothing, not even excess juice from a cucumber. We also saw how to make incredible dishes like this spanakopita, or spinach pie. Sitting in her dining room, enjoying the light, flaky crust and delicious filling is an experience we won't soon forget. ⁣
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While traveling, we try to find opportunities to experience local culture. It's amazing how similar people in the world really are if you just take some time to see what life is like.
  • Do you remember that song from "The Music Man" about trouble? You know the one about the kids in the knickerbockers, shirt-tail young ones, peekin' in the pool hall window after school. ⁣
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Well, we got to peek in a replica of that pool hall on a recent visit to The Music Man Square on our hosted to Mason City, Iowa. It's the town where "The Music Man" creator Meredith Willson was born and raised and his legacy lives on. ⁣
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Before you go see @thehughjackman and @suttonlenore in this Broadway favorite, consider a visit to the real River City.⁣
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Click on the link in our bio to see our latest blog post about why fans of "The Music Man" need to visit Mason City, Iowa. ⁣
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@themusicmanbway

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