Road Trip 2017: The Merc

Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook imageThe Pioneer Woman Mercantile Store is one of the two essential destinations on our road trip agenda. Ree Drummond, a.k.a. the Pioneer Woman, is a well-known blogger, cookbook author and Food Network cook. I’m a fan, not only of her detailed recipes, but also of her self-deprecating humor. When Ree and her husband renovated the old brick mercantile store in their Oklahoma town, I wanted to see what they’d done with the place.

PW Line
The restaurant line.

We rolled into Pawhuska at 9:15 Monday morning, and already the line to the restaurant stretched halfway down the block. The wait for a table was estimated at 90 minutes. During the three hours we spent in Pawhuska, the line was never shorter and sometimes longer.

My new salt and pepper shakers

Luckily, there was no line for the shop. We spent a happy hour sifting through the rumored 4000+ items of merchandise, including dishes, kitchen accessories, clothing, toys, and random things that caught Ree’s fancy (an Einstein finger puppet, anyone?) When we began to get shopper’s stare, we headed upstairs to check out the bakery.

The second floor was our favorite find. Wide open and window-lined, it maintains the feel of an old town ballroom. At one end, the bakery counter sells a variety of sweets. The rest of the space is devoted to seating: tables and chairs or comfy couches, depending on your needs. Becca and I each bought a pastry for now and a cookie for later. Everything was delicious.

PW Candy Counter
The candy counter is part of the second-floor bakery.


  • The Mercantile is closed on Sunday.
  • If you want to eat at the restaurant, go early (it opens at 7 a.m.) or plan to wait a long time for a table.
  • Don’t miss the bakery. It’s lovely.
  • The shop is fairly pricey. Think Williams Sonoma, not Walmart.
    1. In terms of kitchen items, the inventory is heavy on dishes and textiles. I hoped for pots, pans and specialty gadgets, but it’s not that kind of store.
    2. I was happy to buy one of her cookbooks at a discount from list price.
    3. If you just want a souvenir tee shirt or pencil, they can fix you up for a reasonable amount.

For more information and better photos, check out these websites:

But wait! There’s more to see in Pawhuska!

Salt Creek GallerySalt Creek Gallery. Downtown Pawhuska is on the rise, with building renovations underway and new businesses moving in. One such business is Salt Creek Gallery and Marketplace. Owner Barbara Jacques has filled her shop with beautiful things: handcrafted silver jewelry; clothing and handbags; local gourmet foods. But the star of the show is the fine art. We were captivated by oil and watercolor paintings, Indian ledger art, and sculptures that reflect Jacques’ impeccable taste. Don’t miss this gem of a shop! Learn more on their Facebook page.

Grill 125Grill 125. The line for a table turned us off to eating at the Merc. Instead we headed down the street to Grill 125. Every small town has a restaurant like this, with a straight sandwich menu and great customer service. Becca ordered the BLT with pub chips, and I asked for a kiddie burger (4 oz instead of 8) with fries. My burger was flat and juicy with crisp, lacy edges, and it was topped exactly the way I wanted it. Our bill came to $11 and change. I’m pretty sure they couldn’t match that at the Merc.



  1. The girls and I went to the merc over spring break on the way to Texas. We waited in line 3 and half hours! Loved the food, but would not wait that long again. We got to meet Ree Drummond; real down to earth! To continue on your tips, we found they give military discounts and sweet tea is only 25 cents! We hope to make it back again soon, but maybe just do the bakery this time:)

    • Thanks for sharing that, Danielle! It makes sense to want to eat the Pioneer Woman’s food, since that’s what she’s known for. We just didn’t have as much patience as you did. How fun that you got to meet her! She seems like a lovely person.

  2. When we went to the Merc this past spring I was looking for a souvenir mug but they had sold out. I was sad but happened to talk to an employee about it. She said that she happened to have one held for herself in the back room and that I could buy it instead! Great employees there too and made my day!

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