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Noche, Super Fly Golf Lounge and Isla’s Kitchen among the new restaurants arriving in 2023

Chef Sheamus Feeley’s culinary career has taken him around the world, from working in Michelin-starred restaurants in France to creating such acclaimed restaurants as Mateo in Boulder, Colorado, and Farmstead Restaurant in California’s Napa Valley.

But it has been his lifelong dream to open a restaurant in Tulsa.

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“I grew up in Fayetteville (Arkansas) and when I was young, Tulsa was always the big city for us,” Feeley said during a recent conversation. “I remember going to the Williams Center to go ice skating, have dinner at the Hoffbrau and spend the night downtown at the Westin Hotel.

“And you couldn’t go to Fayetteville Public School at that time without field trips to the Philbrook and Gilcrease museums,” he said. “So to me, Tulsa was always a special place.”

This opinion of Tulsa was only reinforced in the following years as Feeley worked around the world.

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“I think Tulsa is one of the most underrated cities in the country,” Feeley said. “You hear people sometimes talk about Tulsa becoming ‘the next Austin,’ ‘whatever is next. But Tulsa is already here, it’s already its own thing.”

And Feeley plans to contribute to Tulsa’s uniqueness with a new restaurant concept, Noche, slated to open in late spring in the lower level of the Vast.Bank building downtown, 110 N. Elgin St.

The restaurant will feature Mexico City-inspired cuisine, which Feeley describes as “center-plate, taco-centric, with wood-fired meats, fish and vegetables.”

“We’ll be doing different types of sauces, from yellow mole to macha salsa, which is kind of a citrus garlic chili crunch,” Feeley said. “And since I’m from Fayetteville, no menu can be complete without queso.”

The restaurant’s website, eatdrinknoche.com, has a sample menu split between “Topotos and Snacks,” including ahi avocado toast tartare, loaded corn and wood-roasted Brussels sprouts and mushrooms, and a selection of soups, salads and fajitas.

Entrees include Tampiquena beef filet with cheese enchilada and golden rice; grilled omelette with avocado-tomatillo sauce; smoked chili-rubbed prime rib; and a shrimp and grits version with Veracruz-style shrimp with slow-cooked hominy grits with lime and cilantro.

Corn and flour tortillas will be made in-house, and Noche will feature a full bar offering things like “agave flights.”

Feeley said her goal with Noche is to create a welcoming and accessible place.

“That style of cooking is not a huge departure for me,” Feeley said. “My dad loved visiting Mexico (Baja, Mexico City, Chihuahua) and I quickly fell in love with the culture and food.

“And I’ve always operated in the upscale casual format throughout my career,” he said. “I want to give our guests something they want, that’s not too ‘chef-y’, or so esoteric that no one can understand it. I want to cook food that everyone can come in and enjoy.”

Feeley will also open a second concept in the Vast.Bank building. Super Fly Golf Lounge will be more of a bar concept, but will feature Trackman golf simulators, so customers can work on their games while enjoying craft cocktails.

“We have that concept in Denver right now,” Feeley said. “That should be open by mid to late spring this year as well.”

The Vast.Bank building is already home to The French Hen and Topeca Coffee on the ground floor, and VU Cru on the top floor.

Island cuisine

After introducing Tulsa diners to the diversity of Scandinavian cuisine with Freya Nordic Kitchen, Justin Thompson is cooking up a concept much closer to home.

Isla’s Kitchen, slated to open in May at The View apartment building, 420 E. Archer St., will specialize in what Thompson calls “Southern provisions.”

“It will focus on brush cooking with an emphasis on Southern, Creole, Low Country and New Southern cuisine,” Thompson said. “And it’s named after my daughter, Isla.”

Thompson said he and his team had originally planned to open Isla’s Kitchen in Jenks in 2024.

“But then I was approached by Legacy Commercial Property Advisors on behalf of American Residential Group and its ownership” to create a restaurant for The View building. “We just decided to do the concept a year early and end up with one downtown and one in Jenks.”

Planned menu items include Justin’s Shrimp & Grits; Island Favorite Brussels Sprouts with Boiled Peanuts, Spiced Honey and Chili Flakes; southern biscuits and gravy; lobster fritters; blackened redfish; rib eye steak with red eye sauce; a Nashville-style fried chicken sandwich; rosemary salad with green goddess garnish; and what Thompson modestly calls “the best sweet potato pie in the southern state.”

The beverage program will feature classic and reinvented cocktails such as the Mint Julep, Sazerac, Gin Fizz and Mississippi Bourbon Punch, along with a wide variety of local beers on tap.

Market 31

The 3 Sirens Group, which owns Bird & Bottle and three locations of The Bramble Breakfast & Bar, will open a slightly different food-related operation in February.

Called Market 31, it will serve as both a commissary kitchen for catering and a retail space that will offer entrees and sides for customers to take home along with products from other local vendors.

“Because of the restaurants, there really hasn’t been a lot of space to do any kind of catering, and we’ve had to turn down a lot of requests,” said Trey Winkle, executive chef and general manager of Mercat 31. “Having this space will allow us manage restoration a little easier.

“We’ll have things like dips, soups, breads available,” Winkle said. “And we’ll have stews in vacuum-sealed bags — just put everything in a pot of boiling water and it’s ready to serve in minutes.”

Johnna Hayes, one of the directors of the 3 Sirens group, said, “Ranch Acres is always full of families, and it seemed right to use the empty space for something that represented our group, for people on the move. The market will be a perfect fit for the area, where you can do all your shopping right there.

“We also have a wonderful relationship with the current owners, and knowing their wishes for the future of this mall, we also wanted to put in something that made sense and would last,” he said.

Market 31 is located at the north end of Ranch Acres Shopping Center, 3324 E. 31st St., just a few doors down from 3 Sirens flagship restaurant, Bird & Bottle.

Still preparing

Several restaurant concepts slated to open in 2023 aren’t in their final form, but here’s what we do know:

A restaurant of sorts will open east of the Dock at Guthrie Green, 101 E. Archer St. A number of concepts have occupied the space, located on the northeast corner of the park, including Lucky’s on Cherry Street, Mr. Nice Guys and EnjoyaBowl.

McNellie’s Group, which opened three new concepts in 2022, including Mr. Kim’s (one of Tulsa’s 2022 World’s Best Restaurants), Red Light Chicken and Bar Serra is preparing a new steakhouse concept for the Brookside neighborhood. It will take over the site that was home to Señor Tequila, 3348 S. Peoria Ave.

Kitchen 27, the James Shrader-led restaurant at the Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Road, has closed. Museum officials said a new restaurant concept is scheduled to open in late February, along with the opening of the “Rembrandt to Monet” exhibit, which opens Feb. 22.

Texas-based coffee chain Summer Moon, which specializes in organic, oak-roasted coffee, will open its first Tulsa location on Feb. 18 at 1520 E. 15th St. The location was briefly home to Rise Southern Biscuits. Coffee is the focus, but other locations (like the three in the Oklahoma City region) also offer breakfast items like croissants, muffins and breakfast burritos.

Ichitori Ramen & Izakaya will open Feb. 1 in the Shops at Warren Place, 4820 E. 61st St. It will offer vegetarian and pork-based broths, according to the sample menu on its website.