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Lunch plans: A look at five Tulsa sandwich spots

Julianne Tran / Public Radio Tulsa

In Tulsa, we’re spoiled with great sandwich options.  Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite between meetings or have your heart set on the Platonic ideal of sandwiches, stopping into a local lunch spot is always a good idea in Tulsa.  


Generations of Tulsans have visited Bill & Ruth’s to enjoy a classic sub sandwich and familiar company. Each shop in the local franchise is individually owned and operated, with many locations run by immigrant families. You might order a turkey-and-cheese alongside a gyro platter, baklava or sushi at Bill & Ruth’s.

In midtown Tulsa, owners Samih and Anita Saiymeh opened their sub shop on 15th Street and Lewis in 1980, after getting involved with Bill and Ruth Meredith (yes, that Bill & Ruth!). During their 28-year tenure at that location, the Saiymehs served faithful customers, so loyal that when they announced the location’s closure, people asked to buy signage and chairs from the beloved lunch spot. (The business is now in the hands of their daughter and son-in-law at 15th and Columbia!)

You can find Bill & Ruth’s peppered throughout Tulsa and its surrounding suburbs, each with its own bunch of lunch devotees and cultural menu additions.

J.C. via Yelp
The Roscoe sandwich from Felini's Cookies & Deli.


A sweet treat is a welcome addition to your lunch at Felini’s Cookies & Deli. This comfortable neighborhood spot first opened in 1986 at downtown Bartlett Square. Vikki Martinus operated Felini’s with restaurateur and friend Harry Schwartz as a cookie shop. Harry named the joint after his cat, who was named after filmmaker Federico Fellini.

In 1993, the shop moved to its current location at 36th Street and Harvard. With an expanded menu of cold and hot sandwiches, soups and homemade cookies, Vikki built a devoted customer base with the help of her husband Jim, son Seth and daughter Jeannie Reed.

Jeannie took over the business in 2018, carrying on her mom’s legacy and attitude of “keep doing what you’re doing and do it well.” She says the shop has become part of the family. She even serves customers who have known her since she was a little girl.

Jeannie stays true to her mom’s recipes, keeping Felini’s menu of sandwiches and desserts. Colorful iced sugar cookies, warm muffins and homemade baked goods line the Felini’s case, ready to cap off your meal.

Lambrusco'z To Go
A Reuben from Lambrusco'z To Go.


Lambrusco'z is a familiar and beloved name around town. What started as a catering business has now blossomed into a thriving shop for sandwiches, market meals and dips aplenty.

Owner Nancy Bruce and her mother Barbara (Roxie) Lamer opened Lambrusco’z in 1985 after they catered many events for friends. The business opened in an office building in what was then considered a food desert at 61st Street and Yale. Nancy started serving sandwiches during lunch to the building’s workers while prepping catering meals for larger events.

No matter how much catering she did, Nancy found that it was sandwiches that paid the bills.

After some location changes, Lambrusco’z moved to their current retail space near 41st and Peoria in 2000. Alongside catering gigs, Nancy built out her sandwich menu with Boar’s Head meats and cheese and from-scratch sandwich stuffings.

The store’s Reuben, Guido with beef tenderloin, garlic cheese melt and tomatoes and homemade jalapeño pimento cheese sandwiches are popular lunch orders. And you can’t visit Lambrusco’z To Go without taking a few things with you on the way out — whether it’s a repeat sandwich order or ready-to-heat meal for later.

Jeremy K via Google Reviews
A sandwich from Trencher's Delicatessen.


With house-made bread, smoked meats and a perfect ingredient-to-ingredient ratio, this shop has more than enough to make your sandwich dreams a reality.

Zach and Melinda Curren, owners of the local coffee favorite Shades of Brown, opened Trenchers in 2013 at 27th Street and Harvard with the goal of creating great food, all from scratch. They named the deli after the medieval “trencher,” a piece of hollowed, stale bread loaded with ingredients.

The long, narrow shop is situated like a classic deli, where you can watch the cooks pile ribbony meat on hand-sliced bread while you wait in line. In 2022, the Currens expanded the shop to the next-door space, lining it with booths and building out a bar along the wall. Trenchers is now open until 1 a.m. for a late-night bite and drinks.

Stacked Reubens, Cubans and their vegan counterparts await at Trenchers, ready for your sandwich needs at all times of day.

Patrick N via Google Reviews
The Meatloaf sandwich from PJ's Sandwich Shoppe.


Peggy Jo (P.J.) Harrison opened PJ’s Sandwich Shoppe more than 40 years ago in Utica Square. She opened with a small menu of chicken, tuna and egg salad sandwiches along with the classic ham- and turkey-and-cheese in a tiny store with just three tables and a bar.

After some location changes and time living in Massachusetts, P.J. reopened her shop in 2006 in its current location tucked into the corner of the Midtown Shopping Center on 31st Street between Harvard and Yale.

Jan Dunn, who helps her mom run the shop, says they’ve never advertised throughout all these years. It’s just word-of-mouth. “You walk in, and you feel at home, like you’re in your mom’s or your grandma’s house getting fed good food,” Jan says.

PJ's serves their original menu items along with salads and Jan’s sandwich additions like her bacon, avocado and cream cheese. All desserts are free with the purchase of a sandwich.

This story was originally shared in PRT's arts-and-culture newsletter Our Town. Subscribe here to get these stories first.

Julianne joined Public Radio Tulsa in June 2022 as Development Associate. She wear many hats at the station — connecting with listeners, writing PRT's newsletters, planning events and doing digital behind-the-scenes.