Owasso couple opens first OKC-based Coolgreens restaurant chain in Tulsa

Owasso couple opens first OKC-based Coolgreens restaurant chain in Tulsa

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Owassons Chris and Susan Gates have turned a longtime dream into a reality.

The local residents are celebrating the official opening of their first franchise, Coolgreens, which debuted in Tulsa on Monday.

Coolgreens, a quick-service vegan/vegetarian chain out of Oklahoma City, offers a wide selection of healthy menu items, including soups, wraps, flatbreads, salads and sandwiches.

Signature dishes include California cobb and chipotle ranch salads, pesto chicken and spicy avocado crunch sandwiches, margherita and bacon blue flatbreads, and sweet kale and sesame crisp bowls, to name a few.

With seven locations across the state capital, the company recently announced its plan for nationwide expansion by offering franchising opportunities to interested partners.

Chris, a high-tech salesman at an Australian company, and Susan, a corporate educator at the University of Tulsa, have been hard at work over the last year preparing the new restaurant, located at 5501 E. 41st St. in the Highlands Plaza Shopping Center.

“We’re just excited to be part of the Tulsa community and bring a new concept in, something a little different that’s very healthy but incredibly flavorful,” Susan told Owasso Reporter at Coolgreens’ soft opening on Friday.

Chris and Susan have already seen success within the Tulsa restaurant scene, where they owned and operated Pecan Porch Coffee and Tea Company in Catoosa for several years, for which they won Tulsa’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2007.

Taking that same initiative and applying it to Coolgreens, the Drummond High School sweethearts’ goal is to capitalize on their golden years by expanding the culinary variety of the Tulsa area and communities to the north.

“I don’t think there’s anything like this in Tulsa, and the fact it’s doing so well in Oklahoma City, we think the Tulsa market’s going to embrace it even better,” Susan said. “I think it’s going to be great.”

Chris, also in attendance on Friday, added, “It’s been 18 months in the making, so at one level, it’s just good to see it all come to a finalization. I’m just excited about the initial buzz … it’s just good to be at this point.”

Clay Carson, vice president of franchise development at Coolgreens, said he believes he made a wise choice leaving Tulsa’s first Coolgreens in the Gates’ hands thanks to their longstanding business experience and involvement in the community.

“I was just very impressed with their passion and their enthusiasm,” Carson said in a previous story. “They get it from a business perspective; they bring a dynamic to the table … it just fit with our profile.”

Chris said now that the Tulsa Coolgreens is up and running, he and Susan are now setting their sights on opening a branch in Owasso sometime in the future.

“I really do want it to be Owasso, just on a personal level, and I think Owasso needs it,” Chris said. “So now it’s where in Owasso, and it’s not an easy problem to solve, but we’re looking hard.”