McNellie's to open second Tulsa location
BY KYLE ARNOLD World Staff Writer
Saturday, December 22, 2012
12/22/12 at 4:33 AM
McNellie's, the Blue Dome district pub-restaurant that helped jump-start downtown's revival, is opening a second metro location several miles to the south.
James E. McNellie's Public House, popularly known as McNellie's, will open next spring near 71st Street and Yale Avenue amid offices and medical facilities and along a busy shopping corridor.
"We've been looking in south Tulsa for a few years, but our priority was to make sure all of our properties downtown are doing well," said Jim O'Connor, vice president of operations for McNellie's Group.
McNellie's is taking the former home of Diamond Jack's at 7031 S. Zurich Ave.; it signed a lease for the property last week, O'Connor said.
Elliot Nelson opened the original McNellie's pub in 2004, and it has since grown into a staple of the downtown entertainment and dining scene.
The bar is famous for its wide assortment of draft and bottled beers, including hundreds of varieties from craft brewers across the country and the world.
The establishment's success has spawned two more McNellie's locations in Oklahoma City and Norman and seven other restaurants and entertainment venues in Tulsa including El Guapo's Cantina, Yokozuna and the Dust Bowl Lanes & Lounge.
The businesses have made Nelson a leader in downtown's revitalization, with others following his lead and opening restaurants, bars and entertainment venues in the city's core.
The new venue will hold many firsts for McNellie's, O'Connor said. It will be the smallest of the four McNellie's locations - only about half the size of the downtown site - and will be the company's only one-floor bar and restaurant.
But even with the smaller size, O'Connor said the company is committed to the same food and wide selection of beer that has made McNellie's well known.
The restaurant will be able to seat about 300 people and will feature an outdoor beer garden, he said. It should employ about 50 to 65 people.
O'Connor said the location was key - in a busy shopping corridor and close to thousands of jobs in offices and medical facilities.
He said the McNellie's Group food business has expanded as its bars have become popular.
"Food is a big thing for us, and our food sales have grown a lot in recent years," O'Connor said. "We make as much in house as we can, and we try to do it at a reasonable price point."
Among the restaurant's most popular items are hamburgers, crab cakes, sweet potato fries, fish and chips, and other standard pub fare. Soups, steaks, sandwiches and pasta are also on the menu.
O'Connor said the location near 71st and Yale will try to attract some of the downtown workers who have become acquainted with McNellie's during lunch.
"People that work downtown love to go there for lunch, but going back downtown for dinner wasn't feasible," he said.
It will also serve as a test to see how the McNellie's concept performs in suburban-type markets, he said.
McNellie's Group is working on another restaurant in south Tulsa - the previously announced second location for Yokozuna; the sushi restaurant is headed to a new shopping center near 91st Street and Yale Avenue. It is scheduled to open next fall in a development anchored by Whole Foods Market. The downtown Yokozuna opened in 2009.
Original Print Headline: Expanding south
Kyle Arnold 918-581-8380
An artist's rendering depicts the new McNellie's pub in the former home of Diamond Jack's at 7031 S. Zurich Ave., just northeast of 71st Street and Yale Avenue. Courtesy