SandRidge Energy and Good Egg Dining Group are teaming up to open a bakery and bistro that will be operate seven days a week and will be the “cornerstone” tenant of a renovated Braniff Building.
Keith Paul, whose company also operates Tuckers, Cheever's Café and Red Prime Steakhouse, said the restaurant and bakery — Kitchen No. 324 — will be a 3,000-square-foot cafe, bakery and coffee shop open breakfast through late afternoon daily.
Touring the building this week, Paul noted it boasts almost unrivaled storefront window openings fronting Robinson and Dean A. McGee avenues. Ornate plaster ceiling accents and other historic features of the building will be combined with more modern finishes.
“If we could have the space look as close to what it did originally, that will make us very happy,” Paul said. “You'll see a little bit of modern and a little bit of vintage. It will be a great look.”
With the uniqueness of the space, the growth of SandRidge's workforce, and planned renovations of the former downtown library into housing across the street, Keith said he was eager to pitch his proposal to SandRidge Energy.
It was a pitch that was embraced by the company, with executives already familiar with Paul's other restaurants.
“The vision for SandRidge Commons is to create a shared space that can be enjoyed by all, with green space, retail and now this restaurant,” said Greg Dewey, vice president of communications at SandRidge. “We trust the Commons and Kitchen No. 324 will add to the momentum and activity in downtown Oklahoma City.”
The restaurant's name is based on the building's address, 324 N Robinson Ave., and also is a nod to Paul's plans to feature an “open kitchen.”
“It will be just like you're in your kitchen at home or your friend's kitchen,” Paul said.
Kitchen No. 324's menu will feature fresh baked goods, pastries, desserts, fresh fruit and vegetable juices and gourmet doughnuts, along with lunch fare, including handmade sandwiches, house-cured meats and colorful salads. The restaurant also will feature a coffee bar with local, artisan coffees.
Breakfast items will be $6 on average; lunch will be in the $10 range.
The restaurant is expect to open this winter though renovations on the upper floors of the Braniff Building, which will be used for SandRidge's operations, will continue through next year.
Renovations on the 10-story building began last year and are part of the ongoing SandRidge Commons redevelopment of the former headquarters of now defunct Kerr-McGee Corp. Over the past few months the original deep red color of the brick was re-exposed after gray paint was removed, and the west facade is being restored while a modern facade is being added to the former alley facade facing east.
The 75,584-square-foot building was built in 1923 by Thomas Braniff for his insurance agency and was later home to the airline he founded, Braniff Airways, until he moved operations to Dallas in the early 1940s. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Dewey said the restaurant should be a good match for SandRidge's ambitions for the building.
“It's an artistic space,” Dewey said. “The building is a work of art, the space will be a work of art, and his food, if you think about it, with all their colors, will be a work of art.
“This is going to be a cornerstone piece of SandRidge Commons. ... All along we wanted to have a presence for all of downtown Oklahoma City, for the residents, for the workers, for the visitors to come down and enjoy.”