View Full Version : Western Avenue District growing

10-26-2004, 02:23 AM
It's always nice to hear about a new addition to the Western Avenue District. I slowly see this area resemblnig Brookside in Tulsa, only with our own flavor.

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.”

10-26-2004, 05:23 AM
Yeah, I hope that area continues to grow into a unique area. Living just a few minutes from the area is nice. :)

06-27-2007, 08:52 AM
Here is an article from today's Daily Disappointment. Not sure if I would agree that Western Avenue is "unexpected" but whatever.

Western Avenue becomes unexpected hot spot

By Sara Ganus
Business Writer
Many Western Avenue business owners — those along the three-mile stretch between NW 36 and just past Wilshire Boulevard in Oklahoma City — are quick to brag about themselves these days.

Their pride doesn't stem from boosted sales, necessarily, though few can say they're suffering. Instead, they are relishing the fact that Western Avenue finally has become what some thought it would never be for Oklahoma City: a destination hot spot.

"As a retailer, becoming a destination point is definitely music to my ears,” said Teresa Wall, owner of 42nd Street Candy Co., 4200 N Western Ave. "It's not something that happens overnight. It's something that you have to really work towards, and you truly do not see it happen. It's a slow process, and that's what it needs to be, because that way it lasts.”

That process began in the mid-1990s, when areas like Memorial Road and May Avenue were thriving with bigger and newer national franchises and restaurant chains. Facing a "David and Goliath” scenario, some of Oklahoma City's restaurateurs decided to convene and develop a restaurant row concept for Western Avenue. Unfortunately, it never materialized.

But it wasn't until 2001, when that same group joined forces with some of Western's small-business owners and service providers to form the association that things really started taking off.

Forming the Western Avenue Association
Today, many business owners on Western credit the area's success and sustainability to the formation of the association that has attracted more than 110 members.
Mel Martin, president of the group and president of First National Bank of Oklahoma, said part of the association's growth can be attributed to the marketing incentives and business seminars it offers to merchants who wouldn't be able to promote themselves on their own.

"This is an organization that's only been in existence for five or six years,” Martin said. "Our growth has been exponential from 30 to 60 to 110 the first few years. In terms of actual businesses, businesses come and businesses go, so it's hard to say if we have more businesses on Western than we had five years ago, but I think the businesses are much healthier.”

Carl Milam, owner of Western Concepts, which includes Sushi Neko, Musashi's, Will Roger's Theater and Will's Coffee shop, agrees.

"We had pockets of extremely nice areas and pockets of not-so-nice areas,” he said. "Since that time, I think everyone in Oklahoma City who thinks of going out for dinner, they just drive down Western and figure out where they want to go. That's one of the things we wanted to accomplish: People get hungry; they think about Western.”

Milam, also one of the association's board members, said that when he opened Musashi's, 4315 N Western Ave., in 2002, he knew he was making an investment in Western Avenue.

"(Before) Musashi's was really a burned out bar that was a field with weeds growing up in it,” he said. "Starting off with that, it just needed a bit of a seed, and now we've got The Wedge that's come in. We've got Cafe Nova that's come in. I just think it's a better use of property.”

Welcoming new businesses
Wall, who has owned the 28-year-old candy shop on Western Avenue for about eight years, said she's also grateful to see those newer businesses on Western.
"It's great when you've got somebody that's across the street or next door that comes and they start a new business because you truly do pick up on their enthusiasm, and it's contagious,” she said. "It draws more new people, and it draws old people that may have forgotten you.”

One of the association's recent events was its first publicized sidewalk sale June 15-16. Like its annual October event, Taste of Western — which primarily benefits the restaurants — the sidewalk sale gave some of Western's retailers an opportunity to promote their business, said Heather Griswold, Western Avenue Association coordinator and one of the association's founders. This year, about 30 merchants participated.

Vince Scoufos, one of the owners of Antique Avenue Market, 5219 N Western Ave., said he saw sales increase by more than 100 percent over that weekend, and a higher ratio of out-of-town customers.

"That was, by our accounts, one of the best days most of us have ever had,” he said.

Griswold said the next project for the association is a three-component 10-year business improvement district for Western Avenue that includes marketing, security and beautification. She said she hopes the association can launch a streetscape project from NW 36 to NW 50 with additional lighting and continual sidewalks.

06-27-2007, 09:10 AM
I don't know what so new or unexpected.

Western has been a destination for local restaurants and shopping for quite a while.

06-27-2007, 09:41 AM
what type of bars/ restraunts are over there?

06-27-2007, 11:54 AM
Trendy local places. Pretty much no chains.

Flip's Wine Bar & Trattoria
Irma's Burger Shack
Coach House
The Metro
Hideaway Pizza
Deep Fork Grill
Cafe Nova
Sushi Neko
Will's Coffee House
The Wedge Pizzeria


06-27-2007, 05:38 PM
Also City Bites and Panera.
Also, there are great places to shop for food. Some of my favorites:
Kamp's Meat Market ( I'm vegetarian but my family is not)
Crescent Market ( great selection of MIO products)
Seasonal Cellars (best wine shop in town)
Big Sky Bakery

These are all north of 63rd

06-27-2007, 08:05 PM
Don't forget these:

Charlie Newton's
Cock O the Walk
Coco Flow - gelatto, expresso, etc.
Sipango's Bar
Camille's Sidewalk Cafe
Gourmet Deli
Mamasita's (63rd just west of western)
Tokyo Sushi
The Brown Bag Deli
Classics Bar - (far north end of western)
Saturn Grill
Iron Starr - Urban Bar B Q (36th east of western, but still in the area)
Split T Sonic - (the lone chain )

06-27-2007, 09:15 PM
Western Ave. is great, needs more "filling in" of the gaps though to make it a continous urban district, as well as more landscaping and lighting which seems to be planned. Very similar to Tulsa's Brookside albeit larger as it connects to Nichols Hills.

06-27-2007, 09:24 PM
Visit Western Avenue - Oklahoma City's Unique Shopping, Dining & Entertainment District! (