Two prospective restaurants are moving forward to Phase III of Regenerate|Reimagine, a grant-funded arts and economic development initiative in Kendall Whittier, starting this weekend.
Matea’s Kitchen and King’s Way Wings will each pop up for one weekend this month at Renaissance Brewery, 1147 S. Lewis Ave., giving residents, business owners and the whole community an opportunity to try out the concept and provide feedback on the restaurants. Renaissance is an all ages venue.
After the pop ups, one business will be selected for an entrepreneurship package worth more than $5,000 to help them get their business off the ground. The goal is to have that business open in Kendall Whittier by the end of the year.
“This project has been a really fun way to engage artists and prospective entrepreneurs in an economic development project in Kendall Whittier,” said Jessica Jackson Seay, executive director of Kendall Whittier Main Street. “We’re excited to have the two finalists hosting actual restaurant-style pop ups to test their concepts with the community.”
King’s Way Wings, a fresh, never frozen wings and fries eatery, will pop up from 12-8 p.m. Saturday, May 13 and 12-6 p.m. May 14.
The following weekend, catch Matea’s Kitchen, Venezuelan cuisine with a colorful twist, from 12-9 p.m. on May 20 and 12-6 p.m. May 21.
Ballots will be available at the pop ups for the public to provide input on their experience and likelihood of returning to that restaurant. Responses from the ballots will help inform R|R on which concept will win the entrepreneurship package.
“We are hopeful that opportunities like this can spark meaningful conversations and pave the way for new possibilities and visibility to those who want to share their love of food with us,” said Jackiez Gonzalez, the founder of Regenerate|Reimagine. “By igniting discussions and generating interest, we aim to create a vibrant dining scene that enriches the community and opens doors for restaurants to thrive. “
The project is funded through a grant from Vision Arts Tulsa, and throughout the process, the restauranteurs have been paired with local artists. The artists have provided graphic support, and will continue to through Phase III and hopefully beyond. The entrepreneurship package is underwritten by the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation.
During Phase I, artists and restaurants were paired. Artists designed reimagined storefronts for nine food concepts.
A public vote narrowed the nine concepts down to five. Those five gave out samples at a tasting event in February. Attendees voted on their favorite concepts, which led to King’s Way Wings and Matea’s Kitchen becoming finalists.
Restauranteurs have continued to seek support from their paired artist, in some cases forming a long-term relationship.
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.
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.
Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation strives to empower Tulsans to achieve their goals by decreasing barriers to big ideas. LTFF supports the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems in Tulsa through its owned-and-operated programs including Kitchen 66, Mother Road Market and Shops at Mother Road Market, as well as through grants to organizations.