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  1. #101

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    What’s cooking on NW 23rd? New eateries in the works as corridor makes comeback
    By Brianna Bailey
    Journal Record
    Oklahoma City reporter - Contact 405-278-2847
    Posted: 09:27 PM Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    OKLAHOMA CITY – Wedged between the state Capitol, downtown and the Paseo Arts District, a stretch of NW 23rd Street is quickly becoming home to a bevy of new restaurants.

    Several hip new eateries and pubs have opened there in the past few months or are in the process of opening.

    Renovation plans are gearing up at NW 23rd Street’s historic Tower Theater, some five years after brothers Marty and Mike Dillon purchased the vacant property.

    The project stalled when the economy went south a few years ago, but has found new momentum. At the same time, several new restaurants have sprung up in the area.

    Construction that will transform the old movie house into a special events center is slated to begin within the next 60 to 90 days, Marty Dillon said.

    “I saw this area as something poised to come back, although maybe I got in about four years too early,” he said.

    Local restaurateur Deep Fork Group has leased 45,000 square feet of retail space next door to the theater and is developing two restaurant and bar concepts there, Marty Dillon said.

    After working for several years in the restaurant industry, Oklahoma City resident Greg Seal has plans to open what he envisions as a low-key, no-frills neighborhood bar called Grandad’s at 317 NW 23rd St., in a historic building that most recently housed a drapery business.

    Seal has always been fond of NW 23rd – both he and his wife attended Oklahoma City University.

    “Thanks to the bravery of people like Big Truck Tacos and Cheever’s Cafe getting back there and starting redevelopment in the area, I thought I would take this opportunity to get in on the ground floor and help turn that area into a destination,” he said.

    The bar is named in honor of Seal’s grandfathers and will feature homey touches like framed photographs of his customers’ granddads.

    The 28,000-square-foot bar will include a stage that will feature old-school country, bluegrass and rockabilly musical acts. Seal hopes to have Grandad’s up and running by the end of September.

    Bubba’s Buba-A-Q, which used to be near N. Portland Avenue and NW 39th Street, is in the process of moving to Mike Tharasena’s NW 23rd Street Court at 715 NW 23rd St. Father and son David and Zac Farris hope to open the 17,000-square-foot barbecue restaurant in August with a menu of traditional barbecue favorites, as well as a few salads and sandwiches.

    “This area has really come a long way,” David Farris said. “It’s one of the busiest streets in the city. I’ve been looking at the area for quite a while and saw an opportunity.”

    The parking lots of NW 23rd Street favorites Big Truck Tacos and Mutts Amazing Hot Dogs are packed at lunchtime. Chefs Cally Johnson and Kathryn Mathis, the same team behind Big Truck, opened Mutts in May in a long-empty A-frame building at 1400 NW 23rd St.

    East of Big Truck, there are plans to open Aviano’s, an Italian gelato and sorbet shop at 520 NW 23rd St.

    A Good Egg co-founders Keith and Heather Paul were some of the first of a new generation of restaurateurs to stake a claim on NW 23rd. The Pauls opened Cheever’s Café at the corner of NW 23rd and Hudson Avenue in 2000. A Good Egg acquired a vintage Phillips 66 gas station around the corner from Cheever’s in 2008 and opened the gourmet prepared food shop Market C there; the business morphed into Cheever’s Catering & Events earlier this year.

    A Good Egg is in the process of overhauling another old gas station building across the street from Cheever’s Catering called Tucker’s Onion Burgers at 324 NW 23rd St. The menu will feature milkshakes, hand-cut french fries and traditional, Oklahoma-style onion burgers. The building was most recently Palmas Pizza & Deli Market, but has been vacant for the past few years.

    “We love the area and we kind of have our roots there as well,” Keith Paul told The Journal Record in an interview earlier this year. “We’ll keep doing things in that area as long we are able to – there are a lot of things brewing over there right now.”

  2. #102

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    Bubba’s Buba-A-Q, which used to be near N. Portland Avenue and NW 39th Street, is in the process of moving to Mike Tharasena’s NW 23rd Street Court at 715 NW 23rd St. Father and son David and Zac Farris hope to open the 17,000-square-foot barbecue restaurant in August with a menu of traditional barbecue favorites, as well as a few salads and sandwiches.

    an extra zero in there?

  3. #103

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    Yes, I'm sure they meant 1,700 not 17,000 and same with the Tower Theater restaurant/bar; should be 4,500 instead of 45,000 square feet.

  4. #104

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    Quote Originally Posted by blangtang View Post
    Bubba’s Buba-A-Q, which used to be near N. Portland Avenue and NW 39th Street, is in the process of moving to Mike Tharasena’s NW 23rd Street Court at 715 NW 23rd St. Father and son David and Zac Farris hope to open the 17,000-square-foot barbecue restaurant in August with a menu of traditional barbecue favorites, as well as a few salads and sandwiches.

    an extra zero in there?
    David started out in an old service station on NW Highway & May area where the Sonic is currently located before that property sold and he moved to the NW 39th & Portland location.

  5. #105

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    I am excited about the Dillon brothers' endeavors along 23rd Street. They have purchased at least one other building near the Tower Theater building...even flipping just two shops along that corridor could really start to turn things around...

  6. Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    More untapped COOL commercial frontage than anywhere in town that I can think of.
    NOTICE: I WORK FOR A DOWNTOWN TOURIST ATTRACTION

  7. Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    I really do think that if the Tower can find a stable use, the rest of the street will fill in quickly. Investment in Will Rogers was integral in the redevelopment of Western, in my opinion.
    NOTICE: I WORK FOR A DOWNTOWN TOURIST ATTRACTION

  8. #108

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    If the Tower is going to be a "special events center," ala Will Rogers, color me seriously disappointed. Perhaps "special events" is a euphemism for live music, in which case, color me enthusiastic.

  9. #109

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    It would be awesome if it could become our version of Cain's Ballroom. I am not sure how big it is, but it is a great location to bring in various types of singers.

  10. Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    I'd be more excited about the Farmer's Public Market becoming our Cain's Ballroom. It basically IS Cain's Ballroom already, except without all of the cool rock and roll music.
    NOTICE: I WORK FOR A DOWNTOWN TOURIST ATTRACTION

  11. Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    A local eatery supporting local farmers and local bakeries? I'm in.

  12. #112

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    Quote Originally Posted by soonerguru View Post
    If the Tower is going to be a "special events center," ala Will Rogers, color me seriously disappointed. Perhaps "special events" is a euphemism for live music, in which case, color me enthusiastic.
    Agreed. Will Rogers has been kind of wasted. I know the Lobby Bar is popular and all, but I really miss the days of going to concerts at Will Rogers. The loss of Will Rogers as a venue left us without a true small/medium live music theater and it really seems like we miss out on a lot of shows for that reason. I was really hoping the Tower would be our Granada.

  13. #113

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    Quote Originally Posted by EBAH View Post
    Agreed. Will Rogers has been kind of wasted. I know the Lobby Bar is popular and all, but I really miss the days of going to concerts at Will Rogers. The loss of Will Rogers as a venue left us without a true small/medium live music theater and it really seems like we miss out on a lot of shows for that reason. I was really hoping the Tower would be our Granada.
    The Lobby Bar may be "popular," but it would be more "popular" if it had a bartender/waiter who could successfully take your drink order and serve it to you within half an hour of your arrival.

  14. #114

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    I just found this site again! Seems to be a great wealth of info on here. Anyone know of any other coming attractions to the 23rd street area?

    BTW, how is Bubba's BBQ coming along? Is there an open date set yet?

  15. #115

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    Tucker's and Bubba's will be the two new additions along Uptown, both should be opening very soon. It really is a shame that Prohibition Room wasn't able to move into the Tower Theater strip area, would have been a very nice fit.

    As for other new projects; there was a rumor of a gelato shop and one or two other bars. Haven't seen or heard anything lately about any of these rumors.


    Here are a two ideas if anyone is interested in adding to the Uptown 23 area;

    I think a small pizzeria type place would do well here, nothing fancy just quick and easy pizza, something like the original Falcones on N. May.

    Also a 24 hour 7 day a week, doughnut shop. Both of these types could fit well in the open buildings around Big Truck Tacos.

  16. #116

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    Or better yet, a REAL pizza by the slice place, something OKC is still lacking.

  17. #117

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    metro, not sure what you are getting at, please clarify?

  18. #118

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry OKC View Post
    metro, not sure what you are getting at, please clarify?
    Seriously? We need a pizza by the slice place, just a small, skinny stand up or bar seating only restaurant with an outside walkup window like you'd see in any dense city.

  19. #119

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    That is what I am referring to as well. Every city I go to has one of these and I always frequent one to get a quick bite and be on my way. I can't think of one here in Okc, a place that is small, skinny, with barely any elbow room, but lots of tasty pizza by the slice.

  20. #120
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    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    Those places rely on heavy pedestrian traffic, and not just at designated eating times. I don't know of anywhere in the city that yet qualifies for it. We need more foot traffic concentrated on certain streets and/or areas. Here, eating establishments are destinations. Closest thing we have are food courts at malls.

  21. #121

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    Quote Originally Posted by metro View Post
    Seriously? We need a pizza by the slice place, just a small, skinny stand up or bar seating only restaurant with an outside walkup window like you'd see in any dense city.
    Yes, seriously. We already have some places that sell "by the slice" as an option and your emphasis was REAL pizza. Now I know what you mean by REAL. Has nothing to do with the quality or style of pizza. You have noticed OKC isn't exactly a "dense city"? maybe that is why we don't have a place crammed into a skinny space? Going along with what Rover said.

  22. Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    Does JJ's Alley count? It's small, skinny, and serves pizza. Lol.

  23. #123

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    Quote Originally Posted by Architect2010 View Post
    Does JJ's Alley count? It's small, skinny, and serves pizza. Lol.

    Ha ha. I actually thought the same thing.

  24. #124

    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry OKC View Post
    Yes, seriously. We already have some places that sell "by the slice" as an option and your emphasis was REAL pizza. Now I know what you mean by REAL. Has nothing to do with the quality or style of pizza. You have noticed OKC isn't exactly a "dense city"? maybe that is why we don't have a place crammed into a skinny space? Going along with what Rover said.
    No my emphasis was on a REAL PIZZA BT THE SLICE PLACE. We have NONE? Don't be confused with places that sell pizza by the slice as one menu option. Falcones is the closest thing we have and that's not what I'm talking about. OKC could support one in the CBD and in Bricktown.

  25. #125
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    Default Re: Uptown 23rd Development.

    The secret to quality pizza by the slice is the turnover. If the pizza has to sit for any time at all then the crust and cheese get tough. Places like the mall pizza places use a different kind of cheese to prolong its shelf life, but it doesn't taste as good. And, because you need turnover, you are restricted to basic ingredients, kind of a "least common denominator" as you cannot afford to have expensive ingredients go to waste on pizza you have to toss when it has been under the heating lamp too long. That is why it will be difficult to put such a store on 23rd or downtown until foot traffic improves quite a lot. What cities like us have though is the truck food which can go where the people are at any given time. Or, street vendors with carts.

    And, because my credentials are often challenged here my disclaimer is I do not own any pizza restaurants. However, my brother has been regional mgr. for both Dominoes and Little Ceasers and now is operations manager for a company owning 100s of fast food stores. My bro in law is VP operations for a large Pizza Hut franchiser. And, my cousin was President of the Macaroni Grille chain. I couldn't help but learn a little by osmosis. LOL.

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