Business is booming in downtown Tulsa. Especially for McNellie's Group, who has a new building and plans to build an events center and expand its bakery.
It's the latest in a success story that started ten years ago when the company opened its flagship restaurant. It all started at 1st and Elgin, with the original McNellie's Pub ten years ago.
By the end of this year, McNellie's Group will have 15 restaurants and more than 800 employees in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Norman.
Elliot Nelson CEO of McNellie's Group, described their new building, "This space over here is so cool where this ceiling is a little lower.
His next big plan involves a building in East Village that used to house the old Brix Office Supplies.
"The way this paint is split, we'll just leave all that, I think it looks really cool," Nelson said.
The upstairs will be the corporate office of McNellie's Group. The downstairs will be home to an events center that'll hold around 300 people.
It will also be home to the company's catering division and bakery, a place where they plan to make all of the bread for their restaurants, sell to other restaurants, and open a storefront cafe.
Nelson said the East Village is hopping with development; townhomes, apartments, and lofts.
"As we look forward to the future we think the amount of land available in the East Village and this part of downtown is where a lot of the growth happens," said Nelson.
Nelson said that growth played a major role in selecting the building but he also liked its look. It still has the original tin ceiling and wood floors.
"To me, the essence of a really great restaurant is, that when you're in it, it feels alive and you feel a part of it and I think it's easier to get there with an old building sometimes," Nelson said.
Nelson is proud of how far his company has come since opening the original McNellie's in 2004 and he said rejuvenating downtown Tulsa will always be a priority.
"We love restaurants, we love doing it, and we love the hospitality business, but it's also about a passion for my hometown and wanting to make it a better place to live. So as we've built all this stuff we've tried to piece together the different things that make the neighborhood better," Nelson said.
Nelson expects to have his new building open by next spring.