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Mother Road Market Opens Its Doors

Tulsa’s first food hall, Mother Road Market, is now open.

The 27,000-square foot market aims to help new food businesses get off the ground by providing facilities already inspected and licensed for commercial use. Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation CEO Elizabeth Frame Ellison said she got the idea for the development 10 years ago while she was trying to get her own cupcake business off the ground.

"I went to my unlicensed kitchen — also known as my house’s kitchen — before my real job in the morning, and I wondered who I could convince to open a space that would help my business scale and thrive," Frame Ellison said.

Mother Road Market is also using established entrepreneurs’ new concepts to lure crowds and provide mentorship to new businesses.

"Starting off, it’s incredibly difficult. So, to have a place like this where you have Kithcen 66, an incubator, where you can come in and actually learn how to run a business is worth its weight in gold. It’s absolutely incredible. I would have died to have that six years ago when we started Lone Wolf," said Lone Wolf owner Philip Phillips, whose hot chicken joint, Chicken and the Wolf, is one of those new concepts.

Mayor G.T. Bynum said besides tying into city efforts to make Tulsa a great place for entrepreneurs, Mother Road Market tackles another big local goal.

"We need to start making better use of Route 66," Bynum said. "Route 66 is one of the great, underutilized, unique resources that we have in our city … and this is going to be the new landmark on Route 66."

Mother Road Market is at 1124 S Lewis Ave. in a former grocery distribution center.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.