NORMAN — Norman native Brady Sexton knows urban renewal starts with the arts. Sexton, an art supporter on the board of Dreamer Concepts Studio, has watched downtown Norman come alive. Now, he is opening an innovative concept restaurant in the historic Magnolia building.
Scratch restaurant at 132 W. Main St. will join a growing number of hip eateries and bars in the burgeoning arts and entertainment district that is downtown Norman. Sexton brings years of restaurant management experience to play in opening his dream eatery. He also is relying on a little help from his friends.
The Magnolia is the former site of Native Roots Market. When Matt Runkel and Sara Kaplan, owners of Native Roots, said they were leaving Norman, Sexton jumped at the opportunity to lease the recently renovated building.
Enter Ira Koplowitz, bar consultant and lifelong friend.
“I was born in the house my parents still live in,” Koplowitz said. “My mom had a midwife and Brady (Sexton) was actually in the house the day I was born.”
The Norman High grads (Sexton ‘97, Koplowitz ‘99) grew up together. Koplowitz now lives in Milwaukee and runs Bittercube Bitters.
“We’ve helped to open restaurants and bars in Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, and Minneapolis,” he said. “This is our first Oklahoma restaurant which is exciting, since I grew up here.”
In addition to Koplowitz, Sexton has brought in long-time friend Nathan Nuss, a 2000 NHS graduate.
Nuss had been living in Ecuador where fresh fruit and other produce were plentiful. The produce in South America broadened his creativity and helped round out his repertoire as a chef. Sexton was excited to hear Nuss was back in the states and knew who he wanted as the chef for Scratch.
“When I found out Nathan was in town, it was a no-brainer,” Sexton said. “I had worked with him. You can tell when you’re cooking with someone, if they’re going to hate you or not. I know he’d never hate me.”