Installations: The Pink House

CHALLENGE:
Updating a commercial kitchen to meet health codes while maintaining the historic value and appearance of a 104 year old building.

SOLUTION:
Creative installation solutions and period style furnishings were provided to satisfy code, client and the former ghostly owner.

PRODUCTS:
Tables, chairs, custom dining booths, vent hood, refrigeration, cooler, bar equipment, flatware, glasses, china, smallwares, ice machine, charbroiler, flat griddle, fryer, sandwich prep table.

The Pink House

The Pink House Wine & Dine restaurant in Wagoner, Oklahoma is actually green. “It’s a conversation starter,” says owner Cathy Moore. “The home was built in 1906 and has been painted pink most of the time. We painted it green to stir up conversation.”

Cathy and her family own Steakout Sports Grill, a Wagoner favorite for 17 years. A couple years ago a sign showed up on the historic house’s lawn, and she knew it would be the perfect place for a restaurant. Restoring the historic building with updated restaurant equipment was a challenge. Because of its historic value, it was important to maintain as much of the original materials as possible. Cathy enlisted Curtis Restaurant Supply for help.

Kathy Bennett, Curtis Restaurant Supply sales representative, explains, “Challenges included installing the vent hood in a VERY small kitchen, which meant cutting it to accommodate a large beam. In fact, all the kitchen equipment had to be carefully planned due to space constraints. We made use of every square inch of the kitchen, including converting a dumb waiter into a warming station.”

And that wasn’t the only challenge. Because the house is old, the booth benches for the front dining area had to be custom made because the walls are not square. Kathy found ornate, antique looking pedestals for the tables, and ordered chairs that would be appropriate for the period. Everything is designed to enhance the beautiful natural materials in the house such as the solid oak trim and decorative parquet hardwood flooring.

Almost everything in the house has a story. Look closely at the dining room floor, and you will see a small hole that leads to the basement. The hole originally held a device with a bell at the end. The mistress of the home would place her chair over the bell and use her foot to summon the servants in the basement.

Although the d├ęcor is quite grand with its hand carved woodwork and Tiffany style lighting, Cathy says to come as you are. Whether it’s after work, or after a day of fun at the lake, you are welcome at The Pink House. “We are not a fancy chain restaurant, nor do we want to be. We are a family serving decent food at a decent price,” she says. “Many people say we have the best steaks in Wagoner, and even Tulsa.” Cathy recommends making reservations, or to call before coming to make sure they are open. For instance, their grandson was in a wrestling tournament in Stillwater last weekend, and they closed the restaurant so the entire family could be there.

The Pink House is open Friday and Saturday night from 5pm – 9pm. It has a full bar with a large screen TV and recently added a party room to the back of the restaurant to serve private parties, business meetings and family events. The room seats 50 and overlooks the grounds.

Ghostly Approval

It is a well known story that the Pink House has several “former” residents walking its halls. Most notable is Kate Leonard, the second of the home’s five owners. She was married to a very wealthy man and was quite a distinguished woman known for wearing diamonds. Cathy feels that her presence is the strongest in the house.

When Cathy began restoration of the home, she experienced a flurry of occurrences, including several noisy crashes, multiple missing keys which later reappeared, a framed portrait of a horse being moved from the second story to the front door, and the construction workers constantly being locked out. More dramatic things happened as construction moved along, including an upstairs window that was blown out in the opposite direction of a heavy wind.

Cathy had so much activity that she contacted Oklahoma State University’s paranormal department to investigate. They were able to document several sightings, including photos of orbs, and they recorded a woman singing a child’s lullaby in one of the upstairs bedrooms. Luckily, they determined these spirits were friendly and would do them no harm.

Recent Activity

A woman that was meeting with Cathy Moore about a private party was greeted by a woman on the second floor knocking on the glass to get her attention, then smiled and waved at her. Not surprisingly, no one was upstairs.

A wedding party was taking pictures on the front staircase. A four year old little girl noticed an extra person in the portrait and asked who the lady was walking up the stairs. Her mother said there wasn’t anyone walking up the stairs. The little girl pointed to the top of the stairs and said, “Then who is she?”

A longtime Wagoner resident and physician had dinner with her husband one evening. Her husband approached Cathy and told her he was having a conversation with the former owner. After asking Cathy if she knew what he meant, he added that she was very pleased with the changes she had done and would be leaving her alone. Cathy thanked him for the message and asked him to invite her to stay as long as she wants.

Since then the activity has slowed down. However, when construction began on the newly added party room, things started up again. Overnight the cement shingles on the house revealed an odd smudged pattern, and Cathy began receiving mail for Kate Leonard.

Just a Personal Note

While we were discussing the former owner, the smoke alarm went off. It beeped very loudly and only once, almost to say, “Yes, I hear you talking about me.” Keep in mind that the smoke alarm is hard wired into the wall and the backup batteries were new. Also, the restaurant was closed and no cooking was being done. It was only a little “hello” and never happened again while we were there.

As we left, I took a few extra pictures in the foyer. One of the last pictures is quite unusual. Can you guess which one? I took a total of 62 pictures. There was only one picture that was not in focus. I promise, the photo was not altered or enhanced in any way. I think our new friend Kate was escorting us to the door and thanking us for a lovely visit.

Debra Laizure
Curtis Restaurant Supply

Pink House Wine & Dine
804 East Cherokee Street
Wagoner, OK 74467
(918) 485-7662

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    Curtis Restaurant Supply & Equipment Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a provider of foodservice supplies, including smallwares, cooking equipment, food storage, kitchen tools, flatware, glassware, dinnerware, pots and pans, and cutlery, as well as commercial kitchen planning, equipment service and repair to independently owned and national chain restaurants, hospitals, casinos, churches, schools, military and healthcare facilities.