Building Community through Beer, Food and Spirits
I live in and love Downtown Edmond. Years ago, my family made a commitment to move to Downtown Edmond and started investing in property, businesses, and people in the community. I like meeting with colleagues in the coffee shops and pubs to discuss our projects or just learn what’s going on in each other’s lives. To me that is community.
We live across the street from the Patriarch Craft Beer House and Lawn. The owners of the Patriarch understand community and have built a successful business model around the concept. In my first encounter with the owners a few years ago they stated that the big-screen TVs would only be used if a local team such as the Thunder was playing. They also said they intended to have live music, but that it would always be there as background music and never inhibit conversation. Community and understanding is built one conversation at a time, and why not do so over a craft beer at your local pub on the coolest lawn in the metro.
Saint Patrick’s Day was huge in Downtown Edmond, falling on a Saturday and the first Heard on Hurd of the season to boot. Community was on display in the small quaint downtown. The owners of the Patriarch took advantage of this festive environment to launch a new restaurant concept with super-talented chef Jonathon Stranger. Together they are adding Japanese “fun food” to the beer and spirits lineup. Essentially, they took the “shack out back” and converted it into a kitchen and call it OK-Yaki!. A few days after the big weekend and grand opening, I sat down with Patriarch General Manager Brad Mullenix and OK-Yaki! Chef Jonathon Stranger.
Chef Jonathon has wanted to prove this Japanese-style cuisine for some time and the Patriarch is the perfect opportunity. The Patriarch has noticed an opportunity to serve customers better with a full-time kitchen in lieu of the food truck concept that has gotten them where they are today. According to Brad, they want to provide food options for customers even when it isn’t profitable for the trucks to be there. Jonathon believes the Japanese-style “grilled meat on a stick” is the perfect accompaniment to craft beer – salty, smoky, and sweet. As I interviewed Chef Jonathon he was preparing chicken-on-a-stick. He prides himself that OK-Yaki! uses farm-to-table food from local farms and ranches. His goal is to provide an amazing food experience that is not exclusive and expensive.
The Patriarch will celebrate their 3rd anniversary in May in style with a week-long party. During that week Chef Jonathon will be serving meat-on-a-stick from the OK-Yaki! kitchen, the Patriarch will be pouring craft beer brewed from all over Oklahoma and announcing a new partnership with local distillery Prairie Wolf.
So, if you are up for a little local – I suggest you come up to the northern end of Downtown Edmond and have Patriarch Bartender Lisa draw you an Oklahoma craft beer, ask OK-Yaki! Chef Jonathon for a little meat-on-a-stick, and maybe sit by the fire and enjoy a glass of Oklahoma-made Prairie Wolf whiskey, vodka, gin, or coffee liqueur. And, if you see me there, let’s have a conversation and build community!
Dr. J. David Chapman is an Associate Professor of Finance & Real Estate at UCO. [email protected]