6 ways to repurpose the abandoned Spaghetti Warehouse

The now-defunct Spaghetti Warehouse is perhaps the most unmemorable-yet-memorable restaurant in Oklahoma City’s recent history. Everybody has eaten there at some point, whether it was a date night, graduation party, or simply going there on a Saturday night to slurp down a hefty plate of noodles.

Personally, I only remember going there as a child, so I can’t critique their food too hard. It was spaghetti, which is all about the same to an eight year-old. But given the median quality of Italian cuisine in OKC, I’m not gonna hold it up too high.

When the restaurant shuttered its doors for good over a year ago, I didn’t hear too many people lament its death, but it’s still always sad to see an old institution go under, especially one that truly anchored a downtown that was in its infancy.

Yesterday, Steve Lackmeyer reported that the building has been abandoned by the New York company that owns the space, leaving it a decrepit and rotting mess. Then he reported that the owners have secured the building, so that it’s not technically abandoned. Either way, we’ve got some ideas on how to turn this old building from zero to hero!

1. Museum of Tacky Restaurant Flair

George Kaiser has a logical, reasonable plan to tackle the state budget crisis…

Back in 2014, Harold Hamm, Larry Nichols, and Doug Lawler instructed the elected officials they control to lower Oklahoma’s gross production taxes on oil and gas wells to 2%, as opposed to the 7% rate they were traditionally charged. The trio did this because they’re our oil industry overlords and know what’s best for their corporations and out-of-state shareholders.

When their plan was initially released and promoted in The Oklahoman, only two people seemed to publicly come out against it – Patrick Riley and George Kaiser. Here’s what I said when the plan was announced:

Boy, we sure are lucky to have a trio of nice businessman available to come up with a “simpler,” “permanent” and “totally fair” taxation plan for their own industry. Obviously, these guys and their for-profit companies that have earned billions of dollars in revenue by draining Oklahoma resources know the best way they should be taxed. It’s why we let car dealers determine motor vehicle excise taxes, give bars the power to set liquor taxes, and let rich Republicans lower the top income tax rate.

Mr. Kaiser had similar thoughts:

“I have lived here for more than two-thirds of the life of the state. I see what’s happening to the state,” said Kaiser, owner of Tulsa-based Kaiser-Francis Oil Co. “Something has to give. I’m prepared to pay my fair share to the state of Oklahoma.”

Kaiser said he would like to see oil and gas companies — including his — pay 7 percent in gross production taxes.

Considering George Kaiser is an ultra-successful businessman and philanthropist who has made billions in banking and oil, you’d think our elected officials in the GOP would have paid attention to what he said, realized the 2% production tax only benefited oil and gas companies, and raised the rate to at least regional averages.

As we all know, that didn’t happen. Unfortunately, Kaiser is not a right-wing Christian moralist who religiously follows a flawed anti-tax,anti-government ideology, so most lawmakers didn’t really care about his warnings or concerns. The 2% tax passed overwhelmingly, and now Oklahoma finds itself in a perpetual budget crisis partly because we under-tax our most valuable resource.

As a result, George Kaiser is once again trying to use old-school tactics of truth, honesty and reason to let people know the 2% gross productions tax is a really bad idea. Check out this editorial he wrote for The Tulsa World on Sunday. I think all your liberal friends have already shared it on Facebook:

What does the Sinclair acquisition of Tribune mean for OKC Media?

Last week, national media conglomerate Sinclair Broadcast Group announced it will buy another national media conglomerate in Tribune Media. In Oklahoma City, that means the corporation behind Fox 25 somehow could take ownership of NewsChannel 4.

Here’s the dish via NPR:

Sinclair Broadcast Group, based outside Baltimore, announced Monday it had struck a $3.9 billion deal to obtain dozens of local television stations by acquiring Tribune Media.

The move, seen as likely to win approval of federal regulators with only modest concessions, would further propel consolidation in the industry. It would also offer a greater reach for one of the nation’s most conservative media companies.

Though little known in major media centers, Sinclair’s holdings are vast. It owns or operates more than 170 local television stations; Tribune Media owns 42 television stations in 33 markets, including the nation’s top three: New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. With its new holdings, Sinclair would hold stations in seven of the biggest 10 markets.

That summarizes the national angle, but what does this mean for Oklahoma City and our TV news? Here are four things to think about…

TLO Restaurant Review: Polar Donuts

In a nou-faux riche city filled with overeducated coffee-houses overly-proud of their overpriced confections, it’s good to visit a hole-in-the-wall joint that don’t give a good Goddamn about impressing anyone.

Since 1992, Younts Waters has done things his own way at Polar Donuts near NW 10th and Meridian and, over 25 years later, it continues to be Oklahoma City’s best-kept secret when it comes to donuts, all done without pretension and presumption. Using a homegrown, not-so-secret recipe that utilizes potato flakes (boxes by the score can be seen from the counter), eggs and butter that gives his special brand of raised rings an absolutely transcendent taste, his sugary spheres run circles ‘round even the biggest of boys like Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme.

As of recent, however, Waters and crew have raised a bit of a ruckus with one of the most popular Polar products, the “pimp hand,” a glazed treat that is shaped like, natch, a pimp’s hand. It even comes with a warning that “women are not allowed to purchase” the pimp hand without the permission of their “father, husband, and/or baby daddy.”

Adrianna Iwasinski has left News 9…

It just got a little easier to pronounce all the last names in the News 9 phone directory.

Adrianna Iwasinski – a 20 year veteran of the Oklahoma City news media scene – has left News 9 and is relocating to Orlando, Florida to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a stage show performer at Disney World.

For those who didn’t know, long before Adrianna was a breaking new crime reporter, she was a song and dance prodigy at OCU. A recipient of the famed Scaramucci Performance Scholarship, she danced and dazzled her way to the hearts of thousands in her role as Maria in the school’s 1995 production of West Side Story.

Okay, that part is a lie. Adrianna is actually moving to WKMG 6 in Orlando for an “amazing opportunity” to be an investigative reporter in a larger market with a better climate that isn’t in the middle of a dire budget crisis. Adrianna celebrated the move on Twitter in the most Adrianna way possible: