The Pritchard wine bar to open Friday

By Molly M. Fleming

The Journal Record


OKLAHOMA CITY – About 12 years ago, Aimee Ahpeatone and a friend were walking near The Plaza District. A Mexican restaurant filled the space at 1749 NW 16th St., but Ahpeatone was fascinated with it.


She tried to find the building owner so she could buy it and put in an eatery. That didn’t transpire, so she pursued other ventures, including helping to clean up the district.


On Friday, Ahpeatone and partners Steve Mason and Jolyn Bauer are opening The Pritchard Wine Bar, 1749 NW 16th St. Ahpeatone said it’s surreal to her that the space is where she’s opening her first restaurant.


The space was previously Urban Wine Works, which closed in 2015. Construction started on The Pritchard in December, shortly after Mason and Ahpeatone finished redeveloping the old Plaza Discount Store into five storefronts and four alleyway entrances.


Sweet Sixteenth LLC partners didn’t want to bring in a restaurant to those spaces because they wanted to generate retail sales tax.


“This space (1749 NW 16th) was begging to be a wine bar,” she said. “People were craving a wine bar. I think this is the type of wine bar they wanted.”


The restaurant features wines from small, family-owned wineries. There are 144 bottled wines on the list, 24 by-the-glass options, six wines on tap, cocktails, and some beers.


“We didn’t want to compete with the other bars that offer beer in the neighborhood,” said Ahpeatone.


The food menu is all small-plate options, served as it is ready. Former Belle Kitchen executive pastry chef Shelby Sieg is making her debut as head chef. She previously worked at The George steakhouse as well.


Ahpeatone and her partners wanted someone who could prepare a clean, ingredient-driven menu, and Sieg said she gravitates toward that style. Menu options include a cheese and charcuterie board, house-made pickles, and a pheasant pate. Sieg said she is working with local farmers to have fresh, seasonal options on the menu as well.


“We have an abbreviated dessert menu,” she said. “They’re definitely not big-plated desserts, but things that go well with wine.”


She said the olive oil cake was a hit when the menu was being created.


Plaza District Executive Director Cayla Lewis said the menu has unique items, and highly recommended the Brussels sprouts. She said Ahpeatone and her partners didn’t neglect the district’s personality.


“They still have captured the culture of the district,” she said. “They have been very thoughtful with everything.”


Ahpeatone said she and her partners want people to feel at home in The Pritchard. The Windsor-back chairs are something people probably had at their family kitchen table. A painting by former Plaza District Director Kristen Vails hangs on the wall. Windmill blades hang on another wall, contributed by Mason, whose family has a windmill museum in Shattuck.


“We want people to sit and drink wine in a very casual way,” she said.