TULSA — The Muscogee (Creek) Nation has purchased the rights to franchise Rex's Chicken throughout its eight-county jurisdiction.
Under the $150,000 deal, Muscogee Nation Business Enterprise will open Rex's Chicken locations in its travel plazas and, eventually, its casinos, said Beautiful Brands International, which owns the Rex's Chicken brand. It's a unique arrangement between a tribe and an Oklahoma restaurant brand.
“We're doing some strategic planning and designing for new upgrades or new travel plazas, and hopefully designing travel plazas for the future, and we want to be able to add the Rex's Chicken to our operations,” said Woody Anderson, chief executive of Muscogee Nation Business Enterprise, which operates travel plazas in Okmulgee and Muskogee. The Creek Nation owns River Spirit Casino in Tulsa and Muscogee Creek Nation Casino in Muskogee.
Tulsa's Beautiful Brands International, led by David Rutkauskas, reestablished Rex's Chicken in 2008 after purchasing the name and recipes out of bankruptcy. The brand was founded in 1951 but by 1999, all Rex's Chicken locations had closed. The first new location, featuring the popular crispy, bite-sized chicken and fry bread drizzled in honey, opened in Tulsa in 2008.
The agreement with Rex's Chicken is an opportunity to diversify revenue sources for the community and bring jobs to rural areas, said Vivian Pope, director of operations and security for the Muscogee Nation Business Enterprise.
The tribal organization also owns the Riverwalk Crossing in Jenks, Okmulgee Golf Course and Country Club and several other professional services businesses.