Popeye’s decides against local restaurant

July 28, 2022

Smitco confirms pending sale of property at planned location

Well, it’s official. Popeye’s restaurant will not be coming to Bartlesville — at least not in the foreseeable future.

SmitCo Eateries Inc., a franchisee of the popular restaurant chain, confirmed Wednesday that property intended for the Bartlesville restaurant is under contract with Watershed Car Wash. A sign for the car wash was placed at the location, 1300 S.E. Washington Blvd., this week.

“I contacted a corporate officer of SmitCo and he confirmed there is a pending sale of the entire property to an entity for a Watershed Car Wash,” Community Development Assistant Director Greg Collins said today. “I expect Watershed Car Wash will be submitting plans to the City in the near future.”

Construction of Popeye’s restaurant in Bartlesville was announced in 2017, when the City Council approved the appropriation of up to $65,000 for the demolition of the former Sooner Motel building to make way for the development. (The Bartlesville Development Authority negotiated the deal, but the money was to be paid only after the restaurant was constructed and occupied. Because the restaurant was never opened, no public money has been or will be expended.)

The development was called off and then was on again in the years following the announcement, with SmitCo last reporting in March that plans for the restaurant had been submitted to the corporate office and were pending approval. The company was said to be focused on expansion in the upper Midwest, delaying the Bartlesville project. Collins said he was told this week that SmitCo was still interested in the Bartlesville location, but that construction and equipment delays in the company’s upper Midwest projects — coupled with the offer from Watershed in the meantime — led to SmitCo’s decision.

“Many residents have followed news of this development with high interest, so we wanted to update everyone as soon as we confirmed the information,” Collins said. “While we understand this news may be disappointing to some, we look ahead to working with Watershed as they move toward opening their business in Bartlesville.”