King’s Way Wings receives an entrepreneurship package worth more than $5,000 to help them get their business off the ground. The package includes cash as well as in-kind items and support. The goal is to have them open in Kendall Whittier by the end of the year.
“We are ecstatic that we are the chosen ones to represent Kendall Whittier,” said Jimere Parker, owner of King’s Way. “We are extremely grateful for this opportunity and look forward to obtaining a brick and mortar to serve the city of Tulsa the best wings in Oklahoma!”
At the end of last year, Parker was paired with artist Hershel Self as part of R|R. Self provided graphic support throughout the project, including reimagining a storefront for King’s Way Wings. The relationship has remained strong through all the project’s phases.
“Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation is proud to support the Regenerate|Reimagine program and its alignment with our mission to decrease barriers for local food entrepreneurs,” said Katy Hall, LTFF’s chief communications officer. “We also support the way R|R strengthens placemaking and building Kendall Whittier into a vibrant destination district.”
“On a more personal note,” she added, “King’s Wings is a fan favorite in the Kitchen 66 Takeover Cafe at Mother Road Market, and we are so happy to see them grow their business into a brick-and-mortar location. As future neighbors in Kendall Whittier, we wish King’s Wings all the best.”
Both King’s Way and Matea’s Kitchen popped up at Renaissance Brewery, 1147 S. Lewis Ave., on subsequent weekends in May, giving residents, business owners and the whole community an opportunity to try out the concept and provide feedback on the restaurants. Ballots collected feedback on the public’s experience.
“It was such a tight competition! Both King’s Way Wings and Matea’s Kitchen provided delicious food and received really positive feedback from pop up attendees,” said Jessica Jackson Seay, executive director of Kendall Whittier Main Street. “Kendall Whittier would be lucky to get either one – or both!”
The chance to host a pop up provided an opportunity for Parker and his team to spread their wings – literally and figuratively.
“This win is extremely special because it brought us out of our element of comfortability. Prior to R|R, we only hosted pop ups at Mother Road Market, so going anywhere outside of those premises created frightening thoughts,” he said. “Thank you to the team at Renaissance Brewery for accepting us into their faculty and giving us the space we needed to operate in excellence.”
Regenerate|Reimagine was founded in August of 2021 by Jackiez Gonzalez. It explores public art as an economic development strategy.
“We’re seeing this work bring more visibility to the untapped potential of some local buildings and the talents of nearby aspiring restauranteurs—but we’re also unearthing some new areas of focus to ensure we can actually support restaurants in the neighborhood,” Gonzalez said. “We welcome new ideas, partners and resources to support these restauranteurs as well as the others we’ve met along this process.”
This round of R|R kicked off six months ago with nine food concepts. Each phase of the project narrowed down prospective food concepts.
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 throughout each phase. The entrepreneurship package is underwritten by the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation.
During Phase I, 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.
Those two businesses opened as a pop up at Renaissance Brewery for one weekend each, providing a restaurant-like experience for guests and the entrepreneurs. Ballots were available at the pop ups for the public to provide input on their experience and likelihood of returning to that restaurant.
Restaurateurs have continued to seek support from their paired artist, in some cases forming a long-term relationship.
“The artists were all amazing, and every prospective business we worked with through R|R has so much potential,” Jackson Seay said. “It was truly great to work with all of them, and I hope each of them are able to bring their concept into reality in Tulsa.”
Regenerate|Reimagine 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.