Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

In Cahoots Development Planned on Large Scale

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

In Cahoots Development Planned on Large Scale

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter Jim Blacketer started making his mark on Oklahoma City in the late 1960s and early 1970s while building Steak And Ale restaurants throughout the Midwest. His personal touch was expressed through Pistachio's, a successful restaurant at 50 Penn Place established in the mid-'70s.

The owner of Chi Chi's franchises in Texas and Louisiana, he moved to Houston in 1978 to be closer to his properties there. He was a founder of the Two Pesos restaurant concept in Houston in 1985, and left the company when it went public in 1987.

Now he's back in Oklahoma City, and he has big plans.

Blacketer is managing partner in Yucatan Liquor Stand, the new night spot with a tropical beach club atmosphere at 4239 Northwest Expressway.

Oklahoma City joins Houston, Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Sacramento in the Yucatan chain, and Tulsa is next, he said.

But the most exciting project for him in years, Blacketer said, is the conversion of the former Cajun's Wharf building at 2301 S. Meridian Ave. to In Cahoots, envisioned as the biggest and best country and western dance hall in the state.

"I walked into that place and I thought immediately that we could have the finest, most knocked-out country place in Oklahoma, maybe in the Southwest," Blacketer said. "It's just going to be phenomenal. The building has all that natural wood, and the plank floors and brick. Even though it's real rustic inside, the furnishings and everything will be upscale. It's going to be nice." Plans call for In Cahoots to open Sept. 24, in time for the rodeo scheduled during the State Fair of Oklahoma.

He said it is not practical to try to operate a restaurant in a 24,000-square-foot building, although it may have seemed possible when it was built for $2 million in 1983.

"You could have 200 people eating dinner in there and it would seem dead," Blacketer said.

But a regional "entertainment destination" for country music fans is a project the Yucatan partners decided Oklahoma City was ready for, Blacketer said.

It will have five bars, each with its own western theme, and the antique copper-topped bar will be preserved. The massive kitchen will be scaled down, but not out. A rubber-cushioned maple dance floor will be installed. A $60,000 video and sound system will include cameras for closed-circuit TV coverage of happenings throughout In Cahoots.

The project cost is expected to approach $1 million.

"We've taken it all out, and now we're coming back in with all the woods that were in there," Blacketer said. "We want to keep the integrity of the building. It's just magnificent." There will be entertainment seven nights a week, with live bands Sunday through Tuesday.

Owner of the property is Ozark Commercial Corp. of Ozark, Ark., which will lease the building to In Cahoots. …

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