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Charlie’s is coming back to Choctaw

One month after closure announced, agreement inked with city

By Ryan Horton
Choctaw Times

Thursday trustees of the Choctaw Utilities Authority approved an operating agreement with Charlie’s Creekside and Par for the restaurant space at Choctaw Creek Golf Course.

Expecting a 30-day build out, Charlie’s owners are looking for a mid-April to early May grand opening at the new site.

The owners of Charlie’s Sports Grill announced the local restaurant would be closing in mid-February.

Citing changes in the building’s lease terms and the current state of the economy, restaurant owners say the decision was made following a meeting with their landlord, Jan. 29.

Owners say new landlords were raising the rent more than expected, while lease terms were also changing to put more burden on the tenants regarding repairs.

The city’s country club restaurant space has been vacant for over a year, and was recently professionally cleaned to begin the process of finding a potential tenant.
City officials say things lined up perfectly thanks to the dedication of the mayor and Choctaw City Council to find a mutually beneficial partnership that will benefit the community.
“We already had a special meeting scheduled for the last day of the month, and we figured if we could get them approved before the first day of March maybe we could save them another month’s rent,” said city manager Brian Linley.

In the Feb. 29 special meeting, councilmembers voted unanimously in favor of a sixth-month operating agreement for $1,000 a month

The contract was reduced by mayor Chad Allcox from a one-year agreement, as initially proposed, to a six-month term to allow for both the city and business owners to review the agreement later this year.

“I’d feel more comfortable with a shorter lease to start with so we can get it inline with the fiscal year,” said Allcox.

Both parties agreed a shorter agreement would allow them to review real numbers and evaluate investments needed to improve facilities, while the city and business owners expressed their intention to have the Charlie’s Creekside and Par as a longtime fixture at Choctaw Creek Golf Course.

Previously located at 14530 NE 20th St., Charlie’s Sports Grill has been serving the area for 15 years.

Established in 2009, the sports bar and grill has changed ownership a few times and even moved locations once before. Originally operating out of 2080 Harper Rd., the local favorite grew to require a larger building, which was the cause for the construction of the current structure.

The restaurant has remained locally owned and operated with Choctaw’s Todd and Heather Lakin stepping as the current owners.

They say the new site will allow for familiar service and menu items, but also allow for a different business model as the location will sit on the municipal golf course.

“We want to try to keep the same atmosphere, but might not be as bar oriented as we have been at the previous location. The golf course will allow us to be more family oriented, and golf themed. We plan to bring in some Golden Tee type golf related games, and plan on using the upstairs section for private events and parties. We will offer some of the same menu items, and then add some things that might golfers might enjoy more,” said Heather Lakin. “Eventually, I’m not sure how it will look with staffing, but we want to have cart girls out that can deliver food and serve drinks to people while they’re golfing.”

Operators plan to shift to a counter-service ordering style, with a few waitresses and possibly cart girls working the restaurant.
The agreement states the restaurant will operate from at least 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday.

However, officials say those hours are flexible and will allow for Charlie’s Creekside and Par to serve longer hours or adjust seasonal hours as they need.

“We can serve alcohol until 2 a.m., but we need to see what hours work best for this new site,” Heather Lakin told the council. “Whatever we do, we just want to make sure we set consistent hours. We also live in this community, and want to be good neighbors.”


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