TULSA, Okla. - May 24, 2019. Tulsa's premier pizza by the slice shop is serving it up big in the Meadow Gold District. Known for its 2-foot pizzas, Bobby O's adds an eclectic flavor of unique hospitality to the area. Owner Bobby Oertel walks us through how Bobby O's came to be on historic Route 66 in the up-and-coming Meadow Gold District.
1. What inspired you to start your business?
I was working as a designer and spending way too much time in front of a computer. Sometimes while zoning into cyberspace, I would fantasize about running my own pizza joint - that thought stayed with me for quite some time. After our kids got older, I weighed my options, formed a business plan, considered all the other pertinent things that go into starting a small business, and here we are.
2. How did you develop the concept for your business?
In the 90s, I helped run Papa Keno’s, a NY-Style pizza restaurant in Lawrence and Kansas City. I was originally going to franchise with them, but several factors played into why that didn't happen. Most importantly - this was my dream, and I wanted to do it my way.
3. How did you come up with the name for your business?
We started with a list of about 100 names, such as Homeslice, Pizza Yolos, and many others. We wanted to be unique while not moving too far from who we really are. I grew up as Bobby but went by Bob from age 19 until last year. Bobby O’s was on our list and carries a pizza industry ring to it while staying true to who I am. We also felt that adding “slices + pies” was important as a tag letting people know what we do. Hence, Bobby O's Slices + Pies was chosen.
4. What products and services are your business known for and what makes your business unique and sets you apart?
There are several things that make us unique here in Tulsa: our two-foot pizza, the freshness of our ingredients and dough, an extensive topping selection, and a completely separate gluten-free kitchen. We are one of the only restaurants in the state that offers a dedicated gluten-free cooking area. One important thing that Bobby O's practices is minimizing our waste stream. We utilize a recycle dumpster and all food waste goes to compost; almost half a ton has gone in past 6-8 weeks. That is definitely something that sets us apart.
5. Was being set on Historic Rt 66 an initial goal for your business?
This was not an initial goal, Brookside was. However, research on the economic development of this area along 11th Street, its daily traffic data, and the proximity to Hillcrest were the biggest factors in our decision. Additionally, our landlord Group M Investments gave us incentives to invest here.
6. What's your favorite part of being located in the Meadow Gold District area of Rt 66 in Tulsa?
The fact that it is on the upswing. We are thrilled to be a part of what is going on and to help this area become a distinctive destination point for both locals and travelers.
7. What would you consider to be the biggest achievement for your business?
The building we occupy was formerly an auto speedometer repair shop. We have hand-crafted this space to be modern, welcoming, and 100% handicap accessible. We are very proud to have completely reinvented this original space successfully.
8. What do you see in the future for your business?
Continued success to open at least one or two more stores in other parts of Tulsa. We feel strongly about a family and employee-owned Bobby O's.
Bobby O's is open Tuesday - Saturday and is located at 1502 E. 11th Street. Whether you want a single slice of pizza or a 24" pie, the menu offers specialty items that you can't get anywhere else in the city. Experience what Tulsa-Style Pizza means in the heart of Meadow Gold District on historic Route 66.
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Erik-Michael Collins, Marketing & PR