CHEROKEE EATS: Wheelhouse Kitchen

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
10/10/2018 08:00 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, which serves “clean” locally sourced food, has been open since March. COURTESY
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 and drizzled with Wheelhouse sauce LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Wheelhouse Fries are a specialty item at Wheelhouse Kitchen that includes hand-cut fries topped with bacon, an over-medium egg and 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
A Wheelhouse waitress serves a customer on Aug. 23 at Wheelhouse Kitchen in Woodall. The restaurant features locally sourced foods, craft beers and local wines. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A full menu is provided upon ordering food at Wheelhouse Kitchen in Woodall. Customers order food at the counter, take a number and the food is cooked fresh and delivered promptly to their table. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Wheelhouse Kitchen, located in Woodall, has a 34-seat dining area. Cherokee Nation citizen and owner Rachel Purget, standing, talks with a customer in the background of the dining area. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
An 8-seat bar is provided at Wheelhouse Kitchen in Woodall, where customers can enjoy locally sourced beer from Cabin Boys Brewery in Tulsa; Mason Jar Mimosas made with locally sourced peach wine from Pecan Creek Winery in Muskogee or locally sourced coffee from Rose Rock Coffee in Tahlequah. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A sign near the entrance of Wheelhouse Kitchen shows where most ingredients are sourced. Most ingredients are brought in weekly from surrounding local farms in the Cherokee County area. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Wheelhouse Kitchen in Woodall sells local merchandise as well as its own merchandise with the restaurant logo. Wheelhouse Kitchen is a supporter of local farms and businesses. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Owners/Operators: Rachel and Cole Purget

Established: March 2018

Location: 13112 Highway 62 in Woodall

Hours: Thursday 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Food Type: Home style and farm fresh

Specialties: Wheelhouse Burger, Wheelhouse Fries and Protein Platter

Drinks: Cabin Boys Brewery beer, Mason Jar Mimosas, Rose Rock Coffee

Price: $5 to $15 per meal

Atmosphere: 34-seat dining area, 8-seat bar

Contact info: 918-414-5222, Wheelhouse Kitchen on Facebook

Why they started the business: “My husband’s family has always kind of had restaurants in their business. His grandparents owned the Hulbert Dairy Bar and had that going. Then his aunt owned this (Wheelhouse Kitchen building). We both come from a family of farmers. My dad was a dairyman, and his grandparents grew the food they ate and made their own clothes. So we’re trying to get to basics. We decided if we’re going to open a restaurant, it needs to be something along these lines, like the local food and clean food. Clean means like no antibiotics, no steroids.” Rachel Purget, Cherokee Nation citizen and co-owner

Farm-to-table, locally sourced food: Rachel and Cole wanted to use local farmers and their produce to create a menu for home-style cooked meals. They spent a year before opening the business talking to local Oklahoma farmers about what they wanted and what the farmers were able to provide. Wheelhouse Kitchen works with Oklahoma farmers and businesses from Tahlequah, Vian, Welling, Council Hill, Tulsa, Muskogee and the Quapaw Tribe for all of its ingredients.

“Some farmers, it didn’t work out. We have to have clean food within 90 miles, and they have to be able to deliver, and they have to be able to provide enough for a restaurant. It was hard to find those farmers that met those four criteria, but we found them within a year and here we are.” Rachel Purget

Specialties: The Wheelhouse Burger is a triple burger containing two grass-fed beef patties and one pork patty topped with cheddar cheese, bacon and one over-medium egg drizzled with Wheelhouse sauce.

The Wheelhouse Fries contain hand-cut fries topped with bacon and one over-medium egg drizzled with Wheelhouse sauce.

The Protein Platter is a no-carb, all-protein meal that contains four eggs, once piece of sausage, one piece of bacon, one piece of chicken apple sausage and half an avocado.

Specialty drinks include beer from Cabin Boys Brewery in Tulsa and a popular Mason jar mimosa made with traditional champagne or a peach wine from Pecan Creek Winery in Muskogee. Rose Rock Coffee comes from a coffee bean roaster in Tahlequah.

Live music is performed every Saturday night with local bands.

Meaning behind Wheelhouse: “So Wheelhouse, the secret meaning behind it is ‘House of Will.’ My father-in-law, who bought it from his sister, his name is William Purget. My husband’s first name is William Purget but he goes by Cole. And then my son’s name is William Max, but he goes by Max. So ‘House of Will,’ three generations of William kind of built this (restaurant).”

Plans: “We’d love to do like an outside seating area and eventually do like a huge outside stage. We’re getting a lot of nice bands in on Saturday nights, and it would be great if we had a bigger facility to provide for them.”

Seasonal Specials
“It’s been easy because summertime you always have like a bunch of different stuff coming in, but as fall and winter comes, I don’t know how that will affect the freshness that can come in. But our farmer in Vian, he has aquaponics (farm) so he is able to provide for us year round. So, if we make it through the winter with him and then spring gets here again, we can sprinkle in everything else.”
About the Author
lindsey-bark@cherokee.org • 918-772-4223
Lindsey Bark grew up and resides in the Tagg Flats community in Delaware County. She graduated from Northeastern State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, emphasizing in journalism. She started working for the Cherokee Phoenix in 2016. Working for the Cherokee Phoenix, Lindsey hopes to ...

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