Hungry Town wants customers to meet The Press

Published Monday, July 17, 2017
by Molly M. Fleming

OKLAHOMA CITY – In the last five years, Hungry Town Concepts LLC has opened two restaurant concepts: The Mule and Anchor Down. The group will bring on a third eatery this fall, The Press, at 1610 N. Gatewood Ave.

Growing from two restaurants to three means the owners – Roger Eleftherakis, John Harris, Joey Morris and Cody Rowan – will have to rely on their staff more. They’ll be focusing their efforts on renovating the 1940s building into a restaurant and opening the eatery.

“We’re going to give other people the opportunity that want to step up and learn more,” said Rowan.

Harris said the operators will stop spending as much time at the Plaza District’s The Mule. They’re also taking The Mule’s general manager, Jenna Lewis, with them to The Press. She’ll serve in the same position at the restaurant.

Lewis’ work at The Mule is evident in the improvements seen in the cocktail selection, Rowan said. But she wasn’t keen on moving to the position. She didn’t want the responsibility and she liked working behind the bar.

Harris said the challenge with hospitality employees is that, like Lewis, they sometimes don’t want to change positions. The operators are still deciding who will move into Lewis’ spot at The Mule. Morris said there are several good candidates.

“It’s a fit thing,” Harris said. “You have to pick the person that fits your vision. You have to find someone that loves it as much as you do.”

Lewis has been with The Mule since it opened. Since it was Hungry Town’s first restaurant, she said she’s watched them grow as operators, and they’ve allowed her to grow as well.

She said she wanted to move to The Press because the building is beautiful and because she’s excited about the food. The Hungry Town owners worked with Chef Beth Ann Lyon on creating a menu that Rowan called prairie comfort food including chips and queso and chicken fried steak.

Rowan said Lyon helped the team home in on their menu with some healthy additions. Lyon’s menu work includes Kitchen 324, Anchor Down, and Provision Kitchen.

“If it wasn’t for her, we’d just have bacon on bacon on bacon,” Rowan said.

While the dishes won’t be served on metal trays like at The Mule, the price point will stay close to what people expect at Hungry Town’s other concepts. A sandwich with a side will be about $8, and the highest-priced entree will be less than $20.

Morris said sticking to a price point can be tough, especially when creating a menu. But as Rowan said, being too expensive can keep people from being regular customers.

“If it’s not affordable, people won’t come back,” he said. “We want to be that place where you can eat all the time.”

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