Funky Food Deals and Quirky Discounts

Everyone’s heard of Thirsty Thursdays, Two-for-Tuesdays and Margarita Mondays. We’ve been there, done that.
Bald Tuesday, however, is liable to catch one’s attention.
Arizona Mexican Restaurant, at 58th Street and Lewis Avenue, offers a discount according to a customer’s level of baldness.
“For a receding hairline, you get 10 percent off,” said Heyka Zambrano, the restaurant’s owner. “If half your hair is gone, you get 20 percent. The largest discount of 30 percent is reserved for those who are completely bald, and we’re not talking about the guys who shave their heads.
“If you’re really suffering and you’re only shaving the edges, we’ll go ahead and give you the 30 percent,” she joked.
The restaurant, which moved from its former location at 66th Street and Lewis Avenue in October, has been in business 16 years.
Zambrano has been offering this deal for about six months, since the whispers started that we’re in for some economic recovery. While she can’t tell whether more customers are dining with her on Tuesdays, she’s happy about the buzz the special has created.
“Someone stole our banner advertising Bald Tuesday,” Zambrano said. “I’m not sure if they were offended by it or if they really liked it and had to have it. Now that we’re at our new location, we decided to just hang the banner higher, out of reach.”
Balding customers get to pinch more of their pennies, sure, but they also get to keep a grasp on their dignity.
“We won’t bring it up,” she said. “When the customer brings it up, though, it makes for a lot of laughs. It’s fun when guys come in wearing a cap, take it off and ask us, ‘How much for this?’”
While Zambrano has the corner on balding customers, Back Creek Deli, at 201 W. Fifth St., Suite 450, offers a special to lure mustachioed men (and, we guess, women, too) to the new sandwich shop.
On the first day of every work week — known at Back Creek as Mustache Mondays — the deli offers customers sporting soup strainers 10 percent off their tickets.
“It was my daughter’s idea,” said owner Tammy Mosier, laughing.
The flier advertising the special, reminiscent of western wanted posters and depicting, of course, a large mustache, along with a sign in front of the store, have managed to increase the amount of foot traffic the shop sees every Monday.
The downtown location of Back Creek is an outgrowth of the 3-year-old flagship site in Broken Arrow, located at 116 S. Main St.
“We knew we wanted to expand and open another store,” Mosier said. “We thought there was a need for what we have to offer here in this building. We think we have a really good location.
“We’re ready to get the word out about us, that we’re here,” she said. “This time of year is rough for a lot of downtown cafes because everyone stays in their office to eat to avoid the cold.”
Also downtown, Buns and Roses, at 111 W. Fifth St., Suite 100, aims to capitalize on nonregular downtown-goers and those disheartened at the prospect of facing jury duty by offering jurors who visit the deli and present their badges $1 off any combo meal.
Restaurant owners at the RiverWalk Crossing in Jenks find themselves in the same boat of weather watching as their downtown Tulsa counterparts.
The RiverWalk location of Kaffe Bona offers 20 percent off every ticket when rain or snow is falling outside the coffee shop. Management stands ready to post the discount as winter weather looms.
“RiverWalk Crossing gets pretty dead during bad weather,” said Kaffee Bona employee Scott Wells. “This special is a ploy to get people to come here, even if the weather isn’t so great.”
Thanks to the church crowd, Sunday afternoons are busy for many restaurants. Several of those downtown, though, despite there being a church on nearly every corner in the area, struggle to keep church-goers within the IDL long enough for lunch.
“A lot of people go to church downtown and then don’t eat downtown,” said Blake Ewing, owner of Joe Momma’s Pizza.
In an attempt to keep customers from hitting the highway after services, Ewing offers a 10-percent discount in exchange for a church bulletin on Sundays.
“When I was a kid, it was our Sunday afternoon routine to go to Crystal’s Pizza after church,” Ewing said. “I remember running back into the sanctuary to grab a bulletin. Crystal’s gave a 10-percent discount with one. So, I borrowed the idea. I thought Crystal’s was the greatest place in the world. We went there every week because of that special.”
Ewing offers a special most days of the week, ranging from 50-cent wings on Monday nights to a 10-percent discount to customers who come downtown on Thursday nights for what is known simply as Trivia Night.
Instead of taking the discount for themselves, Trivia Night players donate it to the cause of the week, always a Tulsa-area nonprofit. Collections from Joe Momma’s will have totaled $15,000 for local charities before the end of the year.
“As many as 150 people will come out for Trivia Night,” Ewing said. “It is, by a landslide, the biggest thing we do. We’ve had standing room only at Trivia Night before.”
Events like Trivia Night and the new weekly Saturday Morning Book Club, an event for kids and their parents that includes a book reading, games and prizes, are designed to create event-driven business, Ewing said. The result? Loyal customers, plus something to give back to the community.
While we at the Tulsa Business Journal have been known to show up for Trivia Night, we’re real fans of this deal: Anyone who walks into Joe Momma’s with a TBJ tucked under an arm gets 10 percent off his or her ticket.

Tender is the Burger
Richard Gardner, owner of Gardner’s Used Books & Comics, at 4421 S. Mingo Road, is trying yet another restaurant concept in the space just north of the bookstore, at 4417 S. Mingo Road.
After a few attempts at growing coffee shops and sandwich cafes in the space, Gardner hired Tulsa chef Jerrod Chamberlain, who helped open El Guapo’s Mexican Cantina and Oscar’s Gastropub and served as chef at the now-defunct Tsunami Sushi downtown, to open Gatsby’s Grill, a breakfast and lunch cafe specializing in what Chamberlain calls “Okie food.” The grill opened earlier this month.
“We’ve tried doing food before, and it’s a hard business,” said Gerry Mullinex, Gardner’s manager. “Over the last nine years, we’ve had a Mexican restaurant (now on the south end of the bookstore), a donut shop, lunch counters and a coffee shop that offered sandwiches, going through three managers with it. We’ve tried just about everything.”
On the menu at Gatsby’s are classic favorites given a modern interpretation by Chamberlain.
“He was coming up with this highfalutin’ stuff, and I thought, ‘Yeah, like that’s going to work at Gardner’s Used Books,’” Mullinex said, laughing. “Then, when he got the prices right and I saw the quality of the food, I thought, ‘Oh, yeah, this is going to work.’
“In fact, we’ve had a problem with employees eating over there.”
Gatsby’s menu is divided between breakfast, lunch sandwiches, entrees and soup and salads. Several dishes are named for their literary counterparts, like Green Eggs and Ham (ham, spinach and onions scrambled with three eggs and cheese, $7.50), Sir Francis Bacon (bacon, mushrooms, avocado and shredded cheese, $7.50), Sun Tzu (chicken salad sandwich with Asian-style pickles, cilantro and jalapenos, $5.50) and The Orwell, (egg salad, bacon, alfalfa sprouts, tomato and blue cheese, $4.50). Rounding out the menu are Oklahoma classics, like biscuits and gravy ($2.75), chops and eggs ($7.95) and the meatloaf sandwich ($5.50).
Hours at Gatsby’s Grill are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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