View Full Version : John Paul on Bachelorette will open new restaurant

02-20-2005, 02:16 AM
John Paul Merritt, one of the two finalists on ABC's the Bachelorette, will be opening a new restaurant soon on Western Avenue.


"Western wagers: A new restaurant and tony garage bet Western is where it’s at

By Ja’Rena Smith

There are many districts -- Bourbon Street in New Orleans, the West End in Dallas -- that conjure up images of fine foods and entertainment, and real estate investor John Paul Merritt said he hopes those same images come to mind when people think of Western Avenue, north Oklahoma City’s growing one-stop-shop area.

Merritt is preparing to bring a new restaurant to the district.
Magnolia on Western, scheduled to open around late February 2005, will give diners the convenience of Western Avenue with the culinary atmosphere of big cities, a characteristic he said is sometimes hard to find.

“The food on Western Avenue is just really one of a kind, and the only place you ever find that is in big cities like Dallas or Chicago or New York,” Merritt said. “That’s one thing that I see (Western Avenue) growing in to.”

Located at 4308 N. Western, the former site of Shoe Gypsy and Tigger’s Body Art, the nearly 4,200 square-foot Magnolia will serve up American cuisine and live music. It will also offer a floral shop.

Carl Milam, president of the Western Avenue Association and owner of various Western businesses, said Magnolia on Western will be a nice addition to an area that is like no other.

“People want to have their businesses on Western Avenue because of the character this area has,” Milam said. “There’s just a lot here that you can’t duplicate anywhere else.”
Like the flower the restaurant is named after, Merritt said he wants Magnolia to be fresh, complete with a crisp, clean metropolitan look.

The design process for the restaurant is scheduled to begin next month. Ross See of Sees Design will be doing the interior, which will consist of curved bars, elevated levels and a private dining area. Merritt said that visitors will receive personal attention all the way through dinner.

“The chef will be very involved with the actual dining experience, where he will come out and meet you,” Merritt said.

Fred Langford, managing partner of Western Concepts LLC, said the personal attention Western Avenue business owners give to customers is a result of the type of businesses the district attracts.

“Businesses here are owner operated,” Langford said. “They are locally owned, not a corporate group. It’s local owners and operators who have their heart and soul into what we’re doing here. They have stronger interests.”
Langford said one of the key concepts of the Western Avenue Association is the support the businesses in the area.
“We are owner-operators and over a period of time, we get to know other business operators in the area and the obvious part of the association is to do business with each other,” Langford said.
Merritt said supporting other businesses in the area played a big role in Magnolia’s plans.
“We looked at Sushi Neko, Musashi’s and VZD’s,” Merritt said. “We felt that we didn’t want to compete with them.”
Merritt said he thinks Magnolia will increase traffic at other Western restaurants.
“Everyone should be happy we are coming,” he said.
Merritt said that at approximately $100 per square foot, Magnolia’s property was on the high end of the market value, but will be worth it.
“I believe in five years, that’s going to seem like the steal of the century.”
Merritt is not the only business owner happy about having a piece of Western Avenue.

Jeff Beck, owner of Beck’s Garage, said he remembers admiring the auto garage at 4217 N. Western. Beck, who has owned his business since 1993, said he was always fond of the building and jumped on the opportunity to lease it. The garage was located at 308 W. Britton for 12 years.

After weeks of 14-hour cleaning days, Beck opened his new location Sept. 1. Although the garage has a strong interest in hot rods, vintage and custom cars, Beck said the garage handles all services.
The transformation the garage has made in the past months may be evidence that Beck’s is versatile. From demolition to painting to pressure washing the floors and walls, Beck said the work and nearly $5,000 worth of materials put into the location was well worth the sweat.

“The layout of this property is better than our previous location,” Beck said.
Beck said the Western location feels like home.
“We’ll probably retire out of this place,” he said.
Beck said the garage, which can often be identified by the vintage cars parked in the lot, will be different from other auto shops.

“We want it to be more of a show place,” he said. “The shop will have a clean, tidy look that shows we take pride in what we do.”

02-21-2005, 12:48 AM
Well that's one more piercing parlor down, and another fancy schmancy restaurant up. I guess that is good, maybe once they completley "refine" Western Avenue, city leaderes will promote like they do Bricktown or atleast Capital Hill.