Wheelhouse Kitchen closes doors, plans ‘pop-up’ return

BY CHAD HUNTER
Reporter
02/06/2020 09:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Wheelhouse Kitchen in Woodall closed its doors on Jan. 26. Co-owner and Cherokee Nation citizen Rachel Purget said it would host special “pop-up” events, and that the building will be available to rent for parties and private events. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A Wheelhouse Kitchen waitress serves a customer in August 2018. The Woodall-located restaurant closed its doors on Jan. 26 but is available to rent for parties and private events. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Wheelhouse Kitchen in Woodall offered a variety of breakfast options. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A sign in the window of the Wheelhouse Kitchen in Woodall reads “kitchen closed,” and “venue coming soon.” The popular eatery closed its doors on Jan. 26. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
WOODALL – Since opening in spring 2018, Wheelhouse Kitchen charmed both locals and travelers with farm-fresh comfort food, but now its owners have closed up shop.

“The kitchen is closed,” co-owner and Cherokee Nation citizen Rachel Purget said. “It was a really hard choice because we worked so hard to get it to this point.”

Just before the weekend eatery in Woodall officially closed on Jan. 26, Purget and her husband, Cole, announced to fans on Facebook that plans are afoot to launch Wheelhouse Venue.

“Look for special pop-up events,” they wrote, “including a Hogwarts Feast, Detox Workshop, Steak Nights, A Gluten-free Night Out and more. Wheelhouse will be available to rent for parties and private events. The commercial kitchen will also be available to rent.”

The Purgets spend time each year out of state to support son Max’s budding stand-up comedy and acting career.

“Cherokee County will always be home,” Rachel said. “We won’t be gone for too long. When we’re here, we’ll still do pop-up events.”

While open, the Wheelhouse Kitchen fostered relationships with local farmers in Tahlequah, Muskogee, Vian, Tulsa, Welling, Hulbert, Miami, Woodall and Council Hill for honey, eggs, pork, beef and more.

While business was primarily generated via word-of-mouth and online, the Purgets said, the restaurant’s gluten-free offerings were also an attraction.

After announcing the change of course, customers, via Facebook, described Wheelhouse as “a revolutionary place to dine” with “yummy food.”

“This is going to cause a lot of sadness, but I wish you good luck in your new venture,” customer Kip Finnegan wrote.

Others wished the Wheelhouse family good luck on the “new adventure.”

“Thank you so very much for all the yummy food and local producer support,” Christina Kamp wrote. “I love that and hope to support some pop up events as well.”

Rachel praised her loyal customers.

“That’s what makes it so hard,” she said. “They’re so great. They’re sad, but they understand. They want the best for us.”
About the Author
Chad Hunter has spent more than two decades in the newspaper industry as a reporter and editor in Arkansas, Oklahoma and his home state of Missouri. He began working for the Cherokee Phoenix in late  ...
chad-hunter@cherokee.org • 918-453-5269
Chad Hunter has spent more than two decades in the newspaper industry as a reporter and editor in Arkansas, Oklahoma and his home state of Missouri. He began working for the Cherokee Phoenix in late ...

Money

BY D. SEAN ROWLEY
Senior Reporter
05/26/2020 10:22 AM
The Arkansas Racing Commission is ...

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/21/2020 08:30 AM
Tribal company unveils ...

BY STATEPOINT MEDIA
05/15/2020 03:42 PM
Avoiding gaps in coverage should b...

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
05/11/2020 09:24 AM
The tribe’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance...

BY STATEPOINT MEDIA
05/05/2020 08:28 AM
The Internal Revenue Service recommends ...

BY JOSH FOURKILLER
Multimedia Specialist
05/05/2020 08:26 AM
STILWELL – Cherokee Nation citizen Robert...