The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


March 15, 2009

Chicken night at Eischen’s

Bar has served area since 1896

OKARCHE — For more than 100 years Eischen’s Bar has been a stop-off for everyone from territory pioneers to locals looking for the bar’s famous fried chicken and cold beer.

The family owned bar and restaurant opened its doors in 1896, 11 years before Oklahoma was a state, said Ed Eischen, great-grandson of founder Peter Eischen.

But with statehood came prohibition, closing the bar. Eischen’s Bar re-opened shortly after the end of prohibition by Nick and Jack Eischen, son and grandson of Peter Eischen and Ed’s grandfather and father.

Along with the bar, the men also opened a small lunch counter, serving sandwiches, which Ed credits with keeping the bar going before it began serving its famous fried chicken.

“That lunch counter kind of kept us alive,” Ed said, noting there were several other bars in town at the time.

In the 1950s, a massive, hand-carved back bar — made in Spain in the early 1800s — was installed in the bar, making it the oldest bar in Oklahoma.

What’s on the menu

The tale of the bar’s famous fried chicken began when the Eischens tried to make money for the now-defunct family grocery store.

Ed’s brother, George, began a shuffleboard tournament for two reasons: to make money for the bar and the meat department of the grocery store, which George ran at the time.

“We used to cook them in old cast iron skillets,” Ed recalled. “He (George) served it with the same thing we serve it with now — sweet pickles, dill pickles, marinated onions and bread.”

With the recipe in place and the Wednesday tournaments gaining popularity, patrons began showing up more for the chicken than the shuffleboard.

“It just got busier and busier,” Ed said. “Then the word got out. He was only trying to make money for the meat department, and look what happened.”

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