Just a couple of hours by car from OKC or an hour and a half from Tulsa, Krebs shines as a dining destination, a foodie stock-up spot, a historical beacon and an overall entertaining trip for Oklahomans and out-of-state tourists to boot. 

Once a mining town with more than a dozen coal mines in the 1870s, Krebs drew a mix of English, Irish, Mexican and Italian immigrants, many of whom were recruited to work in the Indian Territory mines near the city of McAlester. 

Following Oklahoma statehood, the town reached its population peak with 2,884 in 1907, and today, a little over 2,000 residents make their home in this small town. 

You can learn more about its history at Krebs Heritage Museum, a quaint destination filled with local lore. Explore the town’s beginnings in great detail, peruse early coal mining gear, and enjoy extensive collections of military equipment and even some rare brass instruments. The museum also houses collections of 30 local family histories, complete with antique portraits. 

Perhaps Krebs’ largest draw is its designation at Oklahoma’s Little Italy, welcoming tourists and day trippers with its Italian grocery store, several Italian restaurants and, nearby, the McAlester Italian Festival held every May. 

For many foodies, beloved Italian dishes can be made right in their own kitchen – and Krebs offers Lovera’s Italian Market to help in the effort, a family-owned and operated joint since 1946. There, you can purchase on-site produced caciocavallo cheese, as well as see the USDA-inspected sausage plant that creates authentic sausages and cheeses sold nationwide. The store also carries olives, vinegars, oils and other goodies. For locals and those in the know, Lovera’s is also home to a shady gazebo for casual dining and sells a house-created panini sandwich to eat onsite or take to-go.

For many Krebs visitors, it’s all about the restaurant dining experience – with variations of Italian stops that offer both classic dishes and creative twists with a local flair. 

A beloved Kreb’s Italian mainstay, Pete’s Place offers classic dishes with local flair. Photo courtesy Pete’s Place

Among the eateries is the multi-generational Pete’s Place, founded in 1925 by Italian immigrant Pete Prichard. Pete’s is known for family-style platters of the classics – including spaghetti and meatballs and chicken Parmesan, as well as an unfiltered wheat home-brew called Choc Beer, named after the Choctaw Nation. Brewery tours are available.  

Family-run Roseanna’s Italian Food is another comfort food icon, drawing in hungry Oklahomans since 1975 with top requested dishes including gnocchi, monthly specials and, for those with a sweet tooth, cheesecake made from scratch. 

The Compass is known for its house-made sauces and fresh dough to create its wood-fired pizzas, while Modo Mio Italian Restaurant offers house specials including the calamari fritti – fried squid with house marinara.

Other area attractions include scenic drives around Lake Eufaula on Highway 69 and the cluster of antique shops in nearby McAlester. Stick around for the Whispering Meadows Vineyards and Winery and Urban Wineworks for boozy souvenirs as a last stop on your way out of town.

For More Information:

Lovera’s Italian Grocery

Krebs Heritage Museum

The City of Krebs

Pete’s Place

Roseanna’s Italian Food

The Compass

Modo Mio Italian Restaurant

Previous articleScene
Next articleMitigating Risk