by Kirby Lee Davis
TULSA – Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. has moved to open a restaurant in Owasso, marking its seventh in the Sooner State.
“We anticipate it will be one of the destination centers for the city,” said Rickey Hayes, director of economic development for the City of Owasso. “It’s definitely one of those draw factors for our retail development.”
The Owasso Planning Commission approved a site plan last week for a 10,101-square-foot Cracker Barrel restaurant at E. 96th St. North and the Owasso Expressway, along the north side of the Tyann Plaza Shopping Center.
That decision marked the final regulatory step. With its building permit approved, all that remains is for Cracker Barrel to claim the document.
“They just haven’t picked it up yet,” said Hayes, “unless they did it this morning.”
Hayes said Cracker Barrel intends to open in September. Mendy Parish, a Tulsa-based retail market associate with CB Richard Ellis of Oklahoma and leasing agent for Tyann Plaza, said Cracker Barrel will take several weeks of due diligence before starting construction, which she expected to see in two to three months.
Julie Davis, corporate communications director for the Lebanon, Tenn., country dining chain, declined comment on the Owasso addition, citing company policy to not address such developments until construction begins.
“People get real excited when they hear Cracker Barrel is coming,” she said, “and because these things sometimes fall through, we don’t like to disappoint them and announce it too early.”
With the November opening of Logan’s Roadhouse and a Steak ‘N Shake under construction, the Cracker Barrel would enhance a growing dining community at the 38,000-square-foot Tyann development.
“In the absence of an anchor store, restaurants create enough interest to act as an anchor capacity,” said Parish.
According to the company fact sheet, each Cracker Barrel averages 1,200 guests per day. That generates $4.2 million in annual sales, with the retail store section averaging $470 revenue per square foot.
With projected employment of 150, Owasso’s Cracker Barrel would go up just south of Logan’s – an ironic move, since Cracker Barrel’s parent, CBRL Group Inc., sold off that steakhouse chain late last year.
Tyann now stands 40-percent occupied. With lots sold for an Aldi grocery store and a Southern Agriculture pet supply store, and construction under way for a Marriott extended-stay hotel, Parish hopes to fill out the remaining shopping space by the end of the year. That would allow developer Charles Helscel to start Tyann’s 40,000-square-foot second phase in 2008.
Cracker Barrel runs 555 country restaurants and gift shops in 41 states, all corporate owned.
The Owasso location would become the company’s second Tulsa-area location, after the 8008 E. 31st St. eatery. Cracker Barrel also has four sites in the Oklahoma City area and one in Lawton.
“We’re always looking for new opportunities,” said Davis. “Oklahoma’s been a good market for us.”