Applewoods Restaurant, locally famous for its keep-them-coming apple fritters, has become North Fork Bar and Grill, offering all-you-can-eat apple fritters. North Fork's new owners are five Oklahoma City restaurateurs, who have banded together -- with varying financial and managerial responsibilities -- to buy five other local restaurants, including Deep Fork Grill, in the last three years, owner Rhett Roberts said. "I ate at Applewoods as a kid and I loved it, 'cause when the fritter disappeared, another one showed up," said Roberts, who also is North Fork's general manager. Roberts said the restaurant group purchased Applewoods, 2747 W Memorial Road, after a local restaurant broker informed them the business was for sale. Roberts declined to talk about financial details of the sale. Hugh Pedigo, North Fork manager, said the restaurant closed May 31 as Applewoods and reopened June 1 as North Fork. "It's brutal, but it's more financially viable," Pedigo said. "You shut down for a week and that's $30,000." Applewoods, which specialized in comfort food, opened near Reno and Meridian Avenue in 1978. It soon was one of the most popular restaurants in Oklahoma City, Pedigo said. "It was definitely part of the world back then," he said. In 2002, Stokely Hospitality Enterprises of Sevierville, Tenn., purchased Applewoods, partly because that company owned other restaurants serving apple fritters. Wendy Swanner, Stokely spokeswoman, confirmed Applewoods' recent sale but said she was not able to provide other information. North Fork's new owners also include Dave Attalla, Rod Meyer, Ryan Parrott and Wade Starr. The group also owns Charlie Newton's, Chicas Mexican Grill, The Mantel and Cafe Nova. Roberts said the restaurant group purchased the entire Applewoods operation, from the furnishings of the 235-seat restaurant to the food in the walk-in freezers. So far, few major changes have been made to the interior. "It took us a day and a half to get the apples off the wall," Pedigo said. "They were everywhere." The restaurant walls now are lined with more than 50 pieces of local art, most of it colorful and all of it for sale. About 90 percent of the Applewoods employees have chosen to stay at North Fork, including the original baker and a waitress from the early years. In all, the restaurant has about 50 employees -- including the fritter server. North Fork features "new American" meals such as meatloaf, pecan-crusted catfish and spicy chipotle chicken penne. Another old local favorite, My Pi pizza, also is on the menu -- after a 25-year absence. "We are getting a huge hit off of bringing that back," Pedigo said. As for now, North Fork's tables are filling up at least once an evening, Pedigo said. "We've retained most of the clientele because of the fritters and rolls."
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