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Restaurant industry mourns McClendon

Tim Sumpter picks out his favorite sodas at Pops on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010, in Arcadia, Okla. The late Aubrey McClendon owned the store. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Tim Sumpter picks out his favorite sodas at Pops on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010, in Arcadia, Okla. The late Aubrey McClendon owned the store. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

News of Aubrey McClendon’s death sent shock waves through Oklahoma City’s restaurant industry, which he regularly supported as a customer, investor and owner.

The energy magnate and entrepreneur invested in more than a dozen local restaurants, including Chris and LaVeryl Lower’s Metro Wine Bar and Bistro and Pizzeria Gusto.

“He was also an investor in many of the city’s better restaurants, including some of mine. He was always a great partner and I will miss his insights and advice,” Chris Lower said. “It’s hard to imagine how different Oklahoma City would be without the generosity, imagination and leadership that Aubrey McClendon demonstrated. He really did want OKC to be a world-class city and personally did a lot to make it happen."

McClendon owned Pops Route 66 in Arcadia and Pops Soda Ranch in Nichols Hills Plaza. He also had a stake in Western Concepts Group (The Coach House, Sushi Neko, Musashi’s, The Tasting Room, Lobby Bar, Will’s Coffee Bar, Will Rogers Theatre), Provision Kitchen, Irma’s Burger Shack, and Deep Fork Grill.

He was a partner in three concepts from A Good Egg Dining Group, Republic Gastropub, Red Primesteak, and The Drake and was interested in investing in a fourth.

“When news broke about our new Mexican concept (Los Barrios) Aubrey called the next day wanting to invest,” Keith Paul said. “Things being what they are with oil prices, we didn’t expect that. But that’s how he was. He wanted to do right for the city.”

 Paul called McClendon “the quintessential silent partner,” allowing the principles to do their jobs but offering insight at just the right time.

“His influence on our company made us 100 percent better..." A Good Egg president Keith Paul said. “Lessons we learned from him were attention to detail and to raise the bar as high as possible.”

Chef Kurt Fleischfresser said he’d recently spoken to McClendon about the transformation of The Coach House, saying “His energy was contagious.”

“He was a great guy, and a great supporter of local restaurants,” Fleischfresser said.

Michel Buthion, owner of La Baguette, said McClendon wasn’t an investor in his restaurant but had recently contacted Buthion’s ex-wife Diana to offer investment if she needed it as new owner of Bellini’s Ristorante in the Waterford.

“He loved to help people,” Buthion said.

 

MORE:

911 calls about crash describe fiery scene
Tramel: McClendon 'encapsulatedreal spirit' of OKC
Leaves behind vast footprint of development
Remembering McClendon's legacy
Community memorial scheduled
McClendon had a great passion for the OKC Thunder
Restaurant industry mourns loss

THE OKLAHOMAN'S EDITORIAL BOARD:

McClendon's contributions changed OKC for better

MULTIMEDIA:

Video: OKC police say they arrived on scene quickly
Video: OKC police press conference
Audio: 911 calls from the scene
Video: Mike Knopp remembers Aubrey
Video: Remembering Aubrey's impact on OKC
Timeline: Aubrey McClendon through the years
Video: Sam Presti reflects on Aubrey McClendon
Gallery: Pictures of Aubrey through the years
Photo: Road and bridge
Photo: The vehicle
View/sign the guest book

REACTIONS:

'The story of Aubrey deserved a better ending'
What Oklahomans are saying
What the OKC Thunder are saying
Gov. Mary Fallin's statement
What political figures are saying
Tributes pouring in

Related Photos
Tim Sumpter picks out his favorite sodas at Pops on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010, in Arcadia, Okla. The late Aubrey McClendon owned the store. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Tim Sumpter picks out his favorite sodas at Pops on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010, in Arcadia, Okla. The late Aubrey McClendon owned the store. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a558d4442fa5831fe270ee57d32d49c4.jpg" alt="Photo - Tim Sumpter picks out his favorite sodas at Pops on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010, in Arcadia, Okla. The late Aubrey McClendon owned the store. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman " title="Tim Sumpter picks out his favorite sodas at Pops on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010, in Arcadia, Okla. The late Aubrey McClendon owned the store. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman "><figcaption>Tim Sumpter picks out his favorite sodas at Pops on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010, in Arcadia, Okla. The late Aubrey McClendon owned the store. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0449f61f5973ef9761ce80bfad833822.jpg" alt="Photo - Pops in Arcadia at sundown, Saturday, July 5, 2008. Photo by Doug Hoke / NewsOK" title="Pops in Arcadia at sundown, Saturday, July 5, 2008. Photo by Doug Hoke / NewsOK"><figcaption>Pops in Arcadia at sundown, Saturday, July 5, 2008. Photo by Doug Hoke / NewsOK</figcaption></figure>
Dave Cathey

The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene. Read more ›

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