Nine prospective restauranteurs are vying for a spot in Kendall Whittier as part of an economic development and art initiative called Regenerate|Reimagine.
Regenerate|Reimagine (R|R) is a local program by Jackiez Gonzalez and Kendall Whittier Main Street, funded by the City of Tulsa’s Vision Arts grant. The ultimate goal is to provide enough support for one food-related business to be in a position to open its doors in Kendall Whittier in 2023.
The nine concepts were presented at Kendall Whittier Lights On, a community Christmas celebration, on Dec. 3. The public can vote on their favorite concepts – those they most want to see open in Kendall Whittier – from now through January 7 online here.
“R|R is truly a project designed to reimagine the Kendall Whittier food scene, and I couldn’t be happier with the culinary diversity we’ve been able to present through this work,” Gonzalez said.
Business concepts include:
- Ambrosial Bites, inspired vegan desserts (Art by Alex’s Aesthetics)
- Arepa Bar, build your own Venezuelan arepas (Art by Aunj Braggs)
- El Eden Mexican Brunch, Mexican brunch with roots from Tabasco, Mexico (Art by Morgan Harshfield)
- Inkanto Peruvian Cuisine, fresh seafood with a Peruvian twist (Art by Alex’s Aesthetics)
- King’s Way Wings, fresh, never frozen wings and fries (Art by Hershel Self)
- Luu’s Rolls & Bowls, Vietnamese fast casual (Art by Jess Peraza)
- Matea’s Kitchen, Venezuelan cuisine with a colorful twist (Art by Ashlyn Faulkner)
- Mr. G’s Soul To Go, home-cooked, grab and go soul food (Art by Hershel Self)
- My Moroccan Oven, homemade Moroccan desserts (Art by Jackiez Gonzalez)
“The number – and quality – of applicants for R|R blew me away. And then the artist renditions just took them to a whole new level,” said Jessica Jackson Seay, executive director of Kendall Whittier Main Street. “Honestly, any of these businesses would be an awesome fit for Kendall Whittier!”
The artistic renderings show businesses in actual Kendall Whittier storefronts. They are used for conceptual purposes only. An actual location will be determined based on the selected business’ need and Kendall Whittier availability.
R|R 2022-23 started this fall with a Request for Qualifications from prospective businesses. Of all the applicants, nine were chosen to move on to Phase I and were paired with local artists. The public will vote on its favorite four to move on to Phase II, which will include a public event to hear from the business owners and taste their delicious samples.
A third phase will see two restaurants in pop up locations in the spring of 2023, and the program concludes in April.
“It is amazing to see such a tremendous response from community members,” Gonzalez said. “I’m excited to support bringing awareness to so many great restaurateurs, and hope that every business can find new connections through this work.”
Jackiez Gonzalez is a workforce, education and inclusive economic development advocate. She founded Regenerate|Reimagine in 2021 as a way to use art to elevate economic development opportunities for aspiring business owners in Tulsa. Additionally, she is slated to serve as the 2023 TYPROS chairwoman.
Kendall Whittier Main Street is a nonprofit organization that supports businesses and property owners in Kendall Whittier, hosts events to bring people to the district and works closely with local and state liaisons for improvements. Kendall Whittier is a certified cultural district by the Oklahoma Arts Council.
Vision Arts, a collaboration between Tulsa City Council, the Mayor’s Office and Tulsa Arts Commission, provides selected 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(3)-sponsored organizations funding for programs that art projects that stimulate economic development throughout Tulsa.