Longtime downtown Tulsa snack bar proprietor Hazel Shore dies at 93
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Friday, December 28, 2012
12/28/12 at 5:59 AM
About the size of a closet, the small space that Hazel Shore occupied next to the lobby elevators was not nearly big enough to contain the aromas.
So whenever she'd been cooking, passers-by would always know it.
The longtime proprietor of a snack bar in downtown Tulsa's Mid-Continent Building, Shore sold enough candy bars and soft drinks to keep going, but it was getting to treat customers to homemade fare that was her true joy.
"Her homemade chili and her cream pies were really big," her daughter, Karyn Dutton, said. "Her customers would come from that whole end of downtown, not just her building."
Regularly cooking at home and bringing dishes in, Shore also did some catering from her shop. But whatever customers ordered - her homemade cheese dip became an annual Christmas tradition - they always got one side thrown in for free: a helping of Shore's homey hospitality.
A mainstay of the Mid-Continent Building who operated her popular snack bar there for 24 years, Hazel Lorene Shore died Dec. 20. She was 93.
A graveside service was held Thursday at Fort Gibson National Cemetery in Fort Gibson under the direction of Moore's Southlawn Funeral Home.
Shore, who previously operated two neighborhood markets in Tulsa and Miami, Okla., had been looking for a snack bar when, in 1963, the opportunity arose to buy the Cigar Shop in the Mid-Continent.
It carried only tobacco and smoking accessories at the time.
Soon after Shore took over, though, she won the coffee account for the building.
While supplying coffee to 14 floors, she also began adding sandwiches and deli items, helping her customer base to grow.
"She loved the people," Dutton said. "Besides learning all their names, she learned about whatever was going on in their lives - weddings, babies - so she could always ask."
Shore, whose shop became known informally as "Hazel's," occupied the same small nook in the office building's lobby for two decades.
But in the early 1980s, when 22 more stories were famously cantilevered onto the 14-story Mid-Continent Building, transforming it into the Mid-Continent Tower, Shore received a welcome upgrade.
During the planning stage, Charlie Thornton, president of project funder Reading & Bates, "who was a really loyal customer of Mom's, had her come in and design what she wanted in a space," Dutton said.
Renamed Tower Concessions, Shore's business soon reopened in its new spot in the building's new mezzanine.
Shore retired in 1987. But she turned the business over to Dutton, who continued to operate it for 18 more years, with Shore occasionally filling in. Dutton closed the shop in 2005, after 42 years in the family.
Cooking was a lifelong passion of her mother's, Dutton said.
A native of Porter and 1938 graduate of Porter High School, Shore grew up the seventh of eight children, and by age 10, she had taken over cooking duties for the family.
She came to view cooking as a calling.
Bringing food from home to her snack bar eventually became a problem, though. The Health Department notified her that all food preparation had to be done on the premises.
Said Dutton: "It was more difficult, not being able to do it at home, and she stopped making some things. But not the chili. She kept making that."
Shore's survivors include her daughter and two granddaughters.
Original Print Headline: She brought home cooking downtown
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
Hazel Shore, who ran her Mid-Continent Building snack bar for 24 years, is pictured at her business shortly before her retirement in 1987. Shore, 93, died Dec. 20. Tulsa World file