ENID, OK – Two Enid High graduates are coming home after 34 years. Rodney and Joni Brittain left Enid upon graduation in the early 80’s and went on to have careers in other states after college at OSU. The couple has been married over 28 years and had settled in Bloomington, Illinois but continued to return to Enid for visits with family and friends.
2019 became the year that Rodney Brittain took action to make their dream of returning to Enid a reality. Brittain is returning with not only a desire to be back home but also with a business plan to open a unique eatery in downtown Enid.
Brittain is bringing a background in hotel and restaurant management along with friend and business partner Stephen Leins to open Cherokee Ranch Land & Cattle Co. Leins lives out of state but has made many trips to Enid to help with the design and planning of the business. The two have been friends for over 15 years.
If you’ve been on Facebook at all recently you may seen photos Brittain has been posting about the progress he is making on the old warehouse at 112 E. Cherokee, directly across the street from the David Allen Memorial Ballpark. They currently have a temporary sign above the door.
Brittain and Leins spent 5 years tossing around the idea of going into business together. Brittain said now was the perfect time to bring this new company to Enid. “If it was 10 years earlier, we would not be doing this,” he said.
The partners have 31,500 square feet of warehouse to work with and they plan on having something unique in every square inch of the space. The vision is to create a fun, family western eatery with affordable meals. Brittain said, “We want to create something the community will be proud of.”
Cherokee Ranch Land & Cattle Co. will seat around 200 people when completely full. The eatery is made up of a large main dining area, a vintage bar and an additional section to the west side of the building.
The main features of the restaurant are the wooden floors and grand overhead wooden rafters. Barn doors will be used on the front of the warehouse and saloon-style swing doors will be used inside to add to the western flair. Brittain purchased a 1890’s New York Tavern Bar in Connecticut. He had the entire bar shipped to Oklahoma.
Not only has Brittain brought in a stunning, old-fashioned bar but he has acquired a vintage wooden wagon. An original Bull Durham Tobacco advertisement can still be seen on the large west brick wall. Brittain has been painstakingly trying to preserve the design and any other original touches he can.
A recent addition to the restaurant has been a new wall created to look like the porch of a cabin. Reclaimed wood has been used in the process bringing even more of a rustic feel to the space.
There are many more touches waiting to be added but Brittain does not want to completely spoil the surprise. He wants patrons to experience something they’ve never seen when they first walk into the restaurant.
Brittain is doing much of the construction labor himself, with help from an old Enid High buddy, Kelly Killam. They’re moving along at a steady pace but have run into issues out of their control with fire suppression and heating and air. As those issues are handled by the experts the pace will continue to progress.
Brittain has already started planning the menu which will include a good variety of steaks and Oklahoma Ranch-style food. An award winning chef has been hired and the team is creating meals that will be affordable to the community.
Enid residents should expect to find great food, live entertainment and a fun atmosphere. Brittain hopes to have a buffet brunch and Bloody Mary bar once opened. There will be space for board meetings, private lunches and dinners of up to 20 people. They will also eventually have a banquet room that will accommodate up to 180.
If everything goes according to plan, Brittain wants to have Cherokee Ranch Land & Cattle Co. open no later than mid 2020.
Article by: Curtis Tucker – Enid Buzz
April 11, 2020