Eskimo Joe's Is a Stillwater, OK, Institution

April 29, 2011 at 3:40 am EST


In the college town of Stillwater, even the sports bars have degrees. Like local legend Eskimo Joe's, which has been summa cum laude on lists including Sports Illustrated's "Perfect 10 College Sports Bars" Sporting News' "Best College Post-Game Hangout" and's Top 10 College Sports Bars and even got a presidential shout-out from George H.W. Bush.

Located a block east of Oklahoma State University's campus, Eskimo Joe's is famous for its fresh-cut cheese fries (the kitchen uses more than 6,000 pounds of potatoes a week), casual atmosphere and coveted T-shirts, which are reputed to be one of the most collectible shirts in the country.

Two college friends at OSU founded Eskimo Joe’s in the summer of 1975. From there, the enthusiasm of the business’ young owners propelled the bar into popularity as it soon became known as "Stillwater's Jumpin' Little Juke Joint.".

“The key to success in any field or endeavor is enthusiasm,” says co-founder and sole owner since 1978, Stan Clark. Designed by an OSU art student, Eskimo Joe’s logo features a grinning cartoon Eskimo Joe and his friendly dog, Buffy.

Clark began selling the shirts from behind the bar and with a new design every year, today the shirts are considered one of the most collectible in the country. Eskimo Joe’s offers a complete clothing line on-site and online. It is no coincidence the iconic smile is central to Eskimo Joe’s logo.

Clark says he’s in the “business of sharing smiles” through quality food and excellent customer service, and every time “you put on Joe’s Clothes, you’re puttin’ on a smile.” Those commitments have created unprecedented customer loyalty. Each July, the company holds a week-long anni­versary celebration that since its beginning in 1985 has become the largest single attraction in Stillwater, except for OSU football. The block party celebration includes live music, an OSU reunion of all ages and, of course, a collectible T-shirt.

See our video interview with the owner of Eskimo Joe's. Find Eskimo Joe's on Facebook. Shop for Eskimo Joe's merchandise.

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