Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, has built an empire around her enviably comfy life in the country, which she chronicles across her blog, cookbooks, and Food Network show. Recently, Drummond expanded her portfolio to include a sprawling 25,000-square-foot restaurant/marketplace in Pawhuska, Oklahoma where fans can fully immerse themselves in the country-chic Pioneer Woman lifestyle. This is the media star’s first-ever brick-and-mortar business, and it’s a whopper.
Drummond and her husband purchased the massive, century-old building five years ago, with plans to open “a mercantile store in the vein of its original identity, as well as a restaurant/deli and gathering place for both locals and visitors to our area.” And true to that vision, the Pioneer Woman Mercantile opened last fall as a bi-level space with a restaurant, a bakery, a fancy coffee shop, and shelves upon shelves full of country-cute housewares, apparel, and tchotchkes. Here are some impressive facts about Osage County’s wildly popular Pioneer Woman-themed food/retail complex:
• The Pioneer Woman Mercantile serves an average of 6,000 customers per day, and sometimes as many as 15,000 people, Sprudge reports. Those numbers are especially impressive when you consider that only 3,500 people live in Pawhuska. People have been traveling from all over America to visit the Mercantile — the first customer made a 420-mile trip from Missouri to be there for the grand opening. The complex’s homepage has extensive information about how to plan a trip to Pawhuska to visit the Pioneer Woman Mercantile.
• The “deli” is an all-day sit-down restaurant serving up hearty Pioneer Woman dishes like fried pork chops, chicken parmesan, and a “Marlboro Man” steak sandwich — a nod to Drummond’s husband, who is a cattle rancher. Everything is priced under $20. The bakery is stocked with house-made bear claws, croissants, sticky buns, and cookies. On opening weekend, Drummond told a local news channel: “I see the iron skillet full of the same cinnamon rolls I’ve made my family for years and years and people are enjoying them for breakfast this morning and there’s just no greater pleasure for me.”
• Both floors have coffee bars with top-of-the-line equipment, and beans supplied by Topeca Coffee Roasters, which is based in Tulsa. The downstairs space is a grab-and-go operation with a gold La Marzocco Strada machine that matches the vintage Nabisco mural above the bar. The upstairs coffee bar has espresso drinks and pour-over, served in an open-air space that looks a bit like a vintage candy store. Drummond recently told Sprudge: “Never underestimate small town coffee... You never know where you will find the best cup you’ve ever had.”
• Drummond’s daughter Paige sometimes works as a barista, and her father-in-law is the store’s official greeter. The Marlboro Man occasionally works the door too, and judging by the Mercantile’s Instagram page, Ree is often found milling around the shop, as well.
• Fans have literally been lining up outside the Pioneer Woman Mercantile since day one. Here’s what the scene looks like during the middle of the day:
Tulsa World critic Scott Cherry describes the scene around lunchtime: “We arrived at 11 a.m., and the line to the restaurant-deli stretched down the sidewalk about as far as the eye could see. We were told it was about a two-hour wait, and best as I could tell, it stayed that way until about 3 p.m.” Apparently, breakfast, which kicks off at 6 a.m., is not that busy.
• To keep all the merchandise in stock, Drummond purchased a separate facility that formerly housed a Walmart for storage.
Over on the Pioneer Woman blog, Drummond has extensive notes about the construction of and opening of this dining/retail behemoth.
• Small Town, Great Coffee At The Pioneer Woman Mercantile [Sprudge]
• You've Got to See Pioneer Woman's New Bakery and Restaurant [Delish]
• Diners stampede to Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska [Tulsa World]
• The Pioneer Woman Mercantile [Official]