Wheelhouse Kitchen serves up comfort

BY CHAD HUNTER
Reporter
06/19/2019 08:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizens Rachel Purget, left, Cole Purget, with their son Max, are the owners and operators of Wheelhouse Kitchen in Woodall. The restaurant serves “clean” locally sourced food. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A Wheelhouse waitress serves a customer at Wheelhouse Kitchen in Woodall. The restaurant features locally sourced foods, craft beers and local wines. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Wheelhouse Kitchen in Woodall offers a variety of breakfast options. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Wheelhouse Burger is a specialty burger with two grass-fed beef patties and one pork patty topped with cheddar cheese, bacon and an over-medium egg drizzled with Wheelhouse sauce LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Protein Platter is an all protein, no-carb meal. It contains four eggs, one piece of sausage, one piece of bacon, one piece of chicken apple sausage and half an avocado. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Wheelhouse Fries are a specialty item at Wheelhouse Kitchen containing hand-cut fries topped with bacon, an over-medium egg and drizzled with Wheelhouse sauce. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
WOODALL – Coming off a successful first year in business, the Wheelhouse Kitchen continues serving up farm-fresh comfort food to regulars and newcomers alike.

Just minutes from Tahlequah, the restaurant is at 13112 Highway 62 in Woodall in southern Cherokee County. Cherokee Nation citizens Cole and Rachel Purget opened the eatery in spring 2018.

“The past year has been a really great experience,” Rachel said. “It’s really been a community growth experience for that little area. It’s a lot more than just a restaurant. We have people coming to celebrate everything from graduations to weddings. It’s a safe place for families to meet and reunite. There’s a lot that’s happened this past year under the Wheelhouse roof.”

Serving home-style and farm fresh food, the Wheelhouse Kitchen has garnered flattering online reviews.

“This restaurant is a hidden jewel,” one diner from Tulsa noted on tripadvisor.com. “The food always tastes fresh and made-from-scratch. It shines with the larger than normal gluten-free menu choices. You won’t be disappointed!”

Traveler Paul Siddall recently called the Wheelhouse Kitchen “by far the best restaurant around.”
“Fantastic food and staff,” another reviewer, Jim Brand, wrote. “I absolutely love that they use as much local ingredients as possible and tell you exactly where they came from.”

The Wheelhouse Kitchen has fostered a relationship with local farmers in Tahlequah, Muskogee, Vian, Tulsa, Welling, Hulbert, Miami, Woodall and Council Hill for honey, eggs, pork, beef and much more.

“We spent a year looking for local farmers to help provide for us,” Rachel said. “Right now, we’re pulling anywhere from six to eight farmers a week depending on who has what available. We have a new menu coming out that’s going to feature a lot of our local farms and what we can get from their produce during the season, like fresh bell peppers, lettuce, strawberries and blueberries.”

The Wheelhouse Kitchen is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 918-414-5222 or visit the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Purget said business is primarily generated via word of mouth and online, but the restaurant’s gluten-free offerings are also an attraction.

“We have one of the biggest gluten-free menus in Oklahoma,” she said. “So our customers who really need that, they’ll come from quite a ways to get some gluten-free options they can’t get anywhere else. It tastes really good. In fact, everything that goes in our fryer is gluten-free. So if you order onion rings, they’re gluten-free either way. People don’t know the difference. They walk away not feeling heavy and bloated, and they feel good and don’t even know why.”

Specialties include the Wheelhouse Burger, Wheelhouse Fries and Protein Platter. Some of the drink options include Cabin Boys Brewery beer, Mason Jar Mimosas and Rose Rock Coffee.
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