Coffee house in historic Tulsa gas station may open by spring

The old George Tune auto shop in Tulsa, which soon will be the 918 Coffee shop.

A historic former gas station on Route 66 in Tulsa likely will reopen as a coffee house by spring, according to a report in the Urban Tulsa newspaper.

It occupy the George Tune auto shop complex at 2446 E. 11th St., which includes a 1928 cottage-style service station.

It will be called 918 Coffee, a reference to the area code in the region. Dr. Morad El-Raheb, a general-practice physician born in Egypt who has lived in Tulsa for 25 years, bought the property about a year ago.

According to the newspaper:

“Our main purpose is to kind of keep the original building. We really didn’t want to disturb any of the original part of the building,” El-Raheb said. […]

El-Raheb said he plans to add neon to make the structure stand out even more on this section of Route 66. […]

Older touches also include the original window frames in the cottage section of the structure, now featuring recently installed double-pane windows. Stowed away is an ancient door that El-Raheb restored and plans to use at the coffee shop’s entrance.

“This took a lot of work. ‘Cause it had like six coats of paint, so we stripped it all, sanded it, sealed it,” El-Raheb said. […]

“When I bought this building, they had these toolboxes that were used from the ’40s, so I took them, they’ve been redone — actually they’re all done now,” El-Raheb said, explaining that he plans on using them as condiment stations. “They look amazing,” he said.

El-Raheb will find competition on or near the Route 66 corridor in Tulsa. Foolish Things Coffee, just south of downtown on Route 66, opened last summer. And The Phoenix, a half-mile north of Route 66 at Sixth Street and Peoria Avenue, opened last month. And at least one other coffee house is scheduled to open soon in downtown.

6 thoughts on “Coffee house in historic Tulsa gas station may open by spring

  1. I noticed the new name on the building. Renovations seem to be well underway. There have been a couple of attempts at a coffee house near TU — one at 12th and Harvard (whose name escapes me at the moment) and The Collective across the street from Skelly Stadium.

  2. I have high hopes for this one. I’m told The Collective was driven out by a greedy and short-sighted landlord who jacked up the rent as soon as the business started attracting customers. Based on my experiences at Saffron (the one over at 12th and Harvard), I’d guess that its main problem was that it didn’t have a strong sense of identity. Coffeehouses that succeed have a distinct “vibe” that attracts a specific crowd: Shades is a good place for young professionals to network; Gypsy provides a safe-but-subversive-enough-to-be-fun hangout for teenagers; Bona draws young, well-educated Christians from affluent backgrounds; and DoubleShot is there exclusively for people who value product quality above all else. Most of these places have a certain amount of crossover appeal, of course (I’ve overheard philosophical conversations about the Bible at Shades and networked with businesspeople at DoubleShot), but there was a clear, overarching sense of identity that sort of anchored them. Coffeehouses that lack this quality tend to die young.

  3. the outside of the coffee shop looks very good, may have a small wood art store next to it ? so get your coffe and explore the little attached store. it looks very cool and so looking forward to being in there day one.

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