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The Mankin Tradition

Oscar L. Mankin was born in 1909, into a large family with a love of cooking. Six of the eight siblings translated this passion into successful restaurants in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. Each had his own specialty including Earnie’s Manifold Meatloaf served at the long running Wagon Wheel in Enid OK.  It could actually be cooked on an engine manifold! May’s yeast rolls were also in great demand at her place nearby in Oklahoma.

And here in Jefferson City, Earl was popular for his tasty barbeque and deliciously unique pork loin. It was roasted with a secret-recipe peanut butter baste, at the Missouri Blvd drive-in bearing his name. This was during the days when his sparse neighbors on the now congested thoroughfare, included the honkey-tonk “Hillbilly Village” and brother, Clarence’s stave mill across the road.

After serving in the war and a few years saving capital, Oscar and wife Lena Mae continued this notable tradition with the opening of Oscar’s Steakhouse on the east side. Their sons Jack and Fuzzy also mastered the craft and joined the popular business to continue this legacy.  Jack and wife Joyce, further expanded to create the popular J-J barbeque restaurant . And grandson Kurt has carried forward their skill and tradition into the present day with the award-winning menu at Oscar’s Classic Diner.