Waddles look to reopen Roadhouse in early April

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Brian and Destiny Waddle are excitedly looking forward to reopening their restaurant – Roadhouse Coneys, located at 1200 Lynn Ave. – in early April.

The couple initially opened the restaurant in October 2018 in a building that had been vacant some two decades. It had earlier been home to well-known names in the Pawhuska restaurant scene, such as Tastee Freez and Bad Brad’s.

The Waddles closed Roadhouse Coneys just before Christmas 2020. They planned to make some upgrades in their building and equipment, and to add new menu items to accommodate customer requests. The project took longer than they expected, however.

There will be new menu items – among them burgers and fries, and chicken chunks with a special Roadhouse sauce. Even more are in development, Brian and Destiny said.

As of last week, the full reopening target was early April, with some soft openings first to encourage customers to sample new dishes. Brian and Destiny also hope to arrange with the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce to do a grand reopening event.

“We just had no idea everything was going to take so long,” Destiny said.

The Waddles have approached the Roadhouse Coneys business venture as a couple. Brian and Destiny met in 2017, and married in January 2018. Each of them already had children – Brian had four and Destiny had two. He had worked in a home-building industry job that involved a lot of travel, and she had been a child welfare specialist for the Osage Nation.

“We haven’t spent a day apart in three years,” Brian said.

“Honestly, we just thought it was a God thing,” Destiny said.

She explained that opening a restaurant worked well for her because she loves to cook, and she had previously looked at the possibility of opening a franchised restaurant business in Bartlesville.

The restaurant also gave Brian a chance to explore a culinary offering of which he had long been a fan.

“I have always been a big fan of the Coney Islanders in Tulsa. I’ve always loved coneys,” Brian said. “A lot of people would call a can of chili and a hot dog a Coney, but I disagree.”

He developed his own chili for Coneys that is spice-based, working on it for about six months. His chili doesn’t include beans or tomatoes. The restaurant originally offered Coney dogs, Frito pie, walking tacos and three-way chili. Brian and Destiny have added other items, among them chili-and-cheese baked potatoes and quesadillas.

Brian said they didn’t anticipate the full range of customers' tastes, or they might have added the full kitchen in the beginning.

When the COVID-19 pandemic caused them to close in March 2020, they were serving lunch and dinner. When they reopened, they decided to open only for lunch, and they saw their business take off. When they return in early April 2021, they plan to begin offering lunch on Saturday, in addition to Monday through Friday.

Brian said he and Destiny work to maintain full involvement in their business venture.

“It’s important to us that we are here when we are open,” he said. “We have an expectation for our food and service, and there’s nobody better to do that.”

They are also careful to emphasize that they offer much more than just Coney dogs.

“This is not just Coneys,” Destiny said, recalling that some people in town have told her they aren’t really fans of Coneys.

New windows had been installed on the front of the building as of last week, and a new sign for the top of the building was anticipated soon. The signage will help to advertise menu items.

The Waddles anticipate being busy the rest of March, as they work to get everything just right before their reopening. Brian noted that the patio area will be more comfortable for outdoor dining, with a fence to block the south wind and a TV for that area.