Vacant since 2007, the restaurant space at the top of the midcentury residential tower is one of a handful of surviving rotating restaurant spaces in the United States that is still operational, said Paul Cornell, a member of the Tulsa-based Kelley family ownership group that holds Founders Tower.
The restaurant space has been vacant since 2007 when Nikz at the Top closed its doors, while the property was undergoing a renovation from office space to condominiums. Oklahoma City-based Deep Fork Group had plans to turn the place into a catering venue and lounge with a limited menu in 2011, but the plans never moved forward. Deep Fork had intended to revive the venue's original name from when the tower first opened in 1963 — The Chandelle Room.
The Chandelle Room plans stalled and never moved past the planning stages, Cornell said.
Although the residential units at the Founders Tower are 100 percent occupied with a waiting list today, the restaurant space has remained vacant for so long in part because the owners were waiting for the right operator with the right concept to come along, Cornell said.
“We didn't want somebody who was just stepping out for the first time — we wanted someone with a proven track record of success for operating a good restaurant for years,” he said.