The success of these trials helped convince the Johnsons to open their own restaurant.
“I had been thinking about doing the same menu we had in Pennsylvania, with the boiled seafood,” Johnson said. “But the cost of the crab more than doubled, so we decided to rework the menu.”
Although crab boils may not be on the menu at Tulsa Chippers, a variety of other aquatic proteins, such as catfish, salmon, tilapia and shrimp, are available, in preparations ranging from the simplest to the most extravagant.
For example, the New Orleans tilapia ($19) is grilled or fried fillets served on a bed of rice and generously drizzled with a “Cajun Shrimp and Crab Alfredo” sauce.
We chose the grilled option; the fish was well cooked, although some bites tasted muddy where the fillet had not been properly trimmed. The sauce, however, was richly flavored, lightly spiced, and topped with tender, juicy shrimp.
This sauce is used to top a number of items, from chicken tenderloins to baked potatoes to one of Chippers’ most unusual creations, stuffed smoked turkey leg.
“It’s something I encountered in Texas, and I thought it would work well here,” Johnson said. “It was always a popular thing when we were at Mother Road Market, and it’s quite popular.”