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)!

  • This is our Airbnb, Postcard Place. It's located right in Pawhuska, just a two and a half minute drive from the Pioneer Woman's Mercantile. It even has its own Instagram account, @postcardplce. ⁣
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Postcard Place can accommodate up to six people. With comfy bedding (including clean duvets for each new guest), USB ports by every bed, make-up remover wipes, comfy blankets for tv viewing, complimentary coffee/tea, creamer, full kitchen, soap, shampoo, hand lotion, and even a luggage scale, we've tried to think of everything you might want when spending a night away from home. Of course, we also provide stamped Pawhuska postcards so you can send greetings to those who couldn't come along on the trip.⁣
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Find Postcard Place on Airbnb and book it for your next trip to Pawhuska and come @visittheosage.
  • Perched high on a hill in Tuscany is the medieval village of Montepulciano. In the center of town is the piazza grande paved with bricks laid in a herringbone pattern in the 14th century. ⁣
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Standing in the piazza, looking at the bricks, we were filled with a sense of awe at the history these bricks have seen. They've been there for 700 years so have seen times of war and peace, celebration and sorrow. Generation after generation of townsfolk were born, lived and died, and all have walked on these bricks. ⁣
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This is one of the things we love most about traveling. It gives us an authentic feel for history, one we wouldn't have if we just stayed at home.
  • We were so tickled when @thechefandthedish reached out and asked us if we'd like to take a complimentary cooking class with them. They offer private cooking classes with chefs from all over the world that you can take right in your own kitchen. ⁣
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For this class, we Skyped with chef Paola who taught us to make strawberry risotto, traditional bruschetta, and a delicious poached pear dessert that blew our minds. ⁣
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Risotto always seemed like a difficult dish to make, but Chef Paola explained it so well that it wound up being pretty easy. We spent a great afternoon with friends, learned something new, and enjoyed a great meal after. A class with The Chef & The Dish is a great gift idea, as well. Follow the link in our bio, and you can read more about our class on our blog.
  • The world is a big place, and there's so much to discover. Go places, and see things. It doesn't matter if you don't have a detailed itinerary, either. Sometimes, it's more about the journey and what you see and experience along the way, than it is about the destination.
  • During our trip in Tuscany with @italyunfiltered, we stopped at a small family winery. After learning about the organic methods they use to produce high quality Chianti Clasico wines, we had a tasting. ⁣
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Wine tastings in Italy are nothing like those in the US. They are glorious affairs complete with delicious foods paired with the incredible wines. This particular winery brought us samples of homemade, organic jams made from fruits grown in the family's garden. We dabbed these on locally produced pecorino cheese. Yum!⁣
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We're so glad that we had a local driver and guide. Stopping here was a highlight of our Italian adventure, and we never would have found it on our own.
  • The village of Marsaxlokk, Malta, is famous for these brightly painted fishing boats. The design is rather ancient, possibly dating back to Phoenician times, though it's still used today because it is very strong and holds up well in rough weather. One feature of each boat's decorations, are eyes painted on the bow of the boat. These eyes are said to protect the people fishing while they are at sea.
  • The blue cobblestones of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, are actually part of a recycling project which started 500 years ago. Iron foundries in Spain produced huge piles of waste, called slag. Rather than throw these piles away, the slag was made into blocks which was placed into ships as ballast. The ballast was offloaded in Puerto Rico when they loaded products bound for Spain. The blocks were then used to pave the streets. ⁣
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Pretty good idea, and 500 years later, they are holding up well!
  • The Overseas Highway connects Key West and the Florida Keys to the mainland U.S. While the entire road is a marvel of engineering, the centerpiece is the Seven Mile Bridge, which runs over water for, well, seven miles.⁣
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The next time you're driving, reset your trip odometer and wait until it gets to seven miles. You'll see that's a pretty long distance. And then think about the fact that people built a bridge over water with no land to support them for that distance. Pretty incredible-especially since the first one was built in 1912.

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