LUTHER, OKLAHOMA — The peaches come from Porter, the tomatoes from a local patch, the blueberries from Coyle, the cookies from right here in Luther along with the beef for the meatball sandwiches.
At The 116 Farmstead Market and Table it might have been easier to locate out closer to Route 66 traffic or to sign on with a big food supplier.
But Matthew Winton had other ideas for this place and they didn’t come from a spreadsheet.
He asked his neighbors in Luther what they might want.
Winton says, “My wife Jen and I never wanted to get into the restaurant business. That’s not something we aspired to, but just talking to the folks in Luther and figuring out what the need was, what people would want to see.”
Old Luther was built on cotton and the railroad a hundred years ago.
As in other small towns the food people ate came from close by.
Progress meant better roads and transport.
But progress also did something else.
It robbed essential ingredients from small town life.
When the Wintons bought this building nothing was in it.
Those old farm to table relationships were long gone.
It took work to bring the old ideas back around.
A chance meeting led Matthew to Angela Hilliard who’d just moved back to Oklahoma from managing a restaurant in Queens, New York.
“It’s nice to be back,” says Hilliard. “Oklahoma has its own kind of beauty that I had to leave to appreciate, I think.”
The 116 baker lives next door.
The cook, Amy Clowers, ran her own place in Luther until The 116 offered her something better.
A local artist, Lindy Jehrlo, found inspiration on the empty walls and filled it with her big paintings.
Local ingredients, local talent, made for a pretty good recipe.
Winton says, “There are choices you can make in life and get beat up by them, and this one we have been affirmed every step of the way and it’s exciting.”
The people at The 116 still say it’s funny how things worked out, almost like it was supposed to.
There are a couple of generations missing from the old Luther to the new, but they might still recognize each other from across a 50 year divide.
The 116 Farmstead Market and Table is located on Main Street Luther, Oklahoma.
For more information go to www.116market.com or check out their page on Facebook.