By Fred L. Jones, Jr.
Eagle Staff Writer
McDonalds at the corner of Pine and Peoria has been a staple in the Tulsa north community for many years now. After a fire last February, it was closed for reconstruction. Only the front shell of the facility remains from a non-injury blaze five months ago. It is now set for a grand re-opening in this September.
Co-owners Micheal and Luz Gentry along with city and county officials, broke ground on Tuesday, July 10, on a restaurant rebuild that is scheduled to be completed Sept. 18.
The neighborhood haunt, dormant since a February fire, will come to life again soon.
The owners were four weeks into a five-week renovation at the time, and although the fire was contained to the roof line, it caused enough structural damage that the majority of the building had to be razed, Micheal Gentry said.
“I never want to cry so much in my life,” he said. “We had to start over.”
“When completed, this building will represent our continued effort to provide comfort, quality and affordability, the signatures of McDonald’s hospitality at a destination where our community can call home,” Micheal Gentry said. “This journey has not been easy for us. But like the proud and resilient community of north Tulsa, we rise above in the face of adversity.”
State Representative Regina Goodwin stated, “This is a great day for a cornerstone in our north Tulsa community; everybody knows this McDonalds is the happening place in north Tulsa. Everyone knows we need this economic engine in our community, we are excited for Mike and we need everyone to come in and support this store.”
The restaurant will employ 70 people, Micheal Gentry said. It also will feature a self-order kiosk, table service, home delivery and an optimized prep line, said Annette Jackson, Field Service Manager for McDonalds Greater Southwest Region.
The rebuilt restaurant will sit across the street from a QuikTrip that is scheduled to be built at the former Fiesta Mart location. Also, in line for construction is an Honor Capital-backed grocery store at the Shoppes on Peoria, 1717 N. Peoria Ave.
“When you see the golden arches in a neighborhood that’s really growing into its potential, it’s just a perfect scenario,” said Rose Washington, executive director of the Tulsa Economic Development Corp.
“For us, building a grocery store down the street and having the Shoppes continue to grow and thrive and QuikTrip coming, I’m thinking about partners in a business association that can help maintain the beautification of this stretch of our neighborhood. You give people something to continue to be proud of,” stated Rose Washington.
Less than a block west of the McDonald’s is a Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, and the northwest corner of Pine Street and Peoria Avenue is being eyed for development.
City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper said, “I can’t tell you how many calls, text messages and emails I get about not only the McDonald’s but the QuikTrip…It’s certainly an economic driver that we need…The potential of this corner for District 1 is huge. We’re excited about it.”