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OKLAHOMA CITY – Yokozuna sushi and Pan-Asian restaurant in Chisholm Creek’s Tract 30 building has nearly twice the seating of its two Tulsa-area predecessors.

McNellie’s Group Operating Partner Matt Leland said the restaurant is only working with about 150 of those seats right now because the remaining 100 spots are outside. The rooftop patio is still under construction.

The delay in opening the patio will help the crew get used to the larger area, Leland said.

McNellie’s Group owner Elliot Nelson said it will take some time to figure out the patio operation piece. Leland said he still has some hiring to do so people can be trained to work on the patio, which opens in March.

The patio with Yokozuna isn’t the only new feature with this McNellie’s Group concept. It’s the first time the company is opening a metro place outside a bustling commercial district like Midtown or Norman’s Main Street.

Leland said the second Yokozuna in south Tulsa was well-received. The restaurant opened four years ago.

“A few years back, we started looking at our mission as a company,” Leland said. “Our clientele was older and had moved to the suburbs. For many years, the suburbs had a lot of national chain restaurants. (Residents) didn’t feel appreciated by local businesses. (When we opened in South Tulsa) people were very receptive and thankful.”

Yokozuna offers several sushi rolls and a variety of Asian-inspired entrées such as ramen, pad thai, pork belly tacos, sweet and sour chicken, and General Tso’s chicken.

Nelson said building the restaurant in the suburbs was easier than working downtown.

“Urban projects are more challenging,” he said. “They take more time and they’re more expensive.”

McNellie’s Group worked with Fitzsimmons Architecture, Lingo Construction, and Medallion Group on the restaurant.

Nelson said working in the suburbs doesn’t come with the satisfaction of helping transform a neighborhood, but the company is still making a difference, providing health benefits to the 60 employees at Yokozuna. Leland said some former Yokozuna employees who left for college have returned to work.

“We feel like we’re providing a service to those neighborhoods,” Nelson said.

He said he’s excited to be part of Chisholm Creek and be one of the first businesses in the development. He said he probably wouldn’t have considered the site if it were just a regular retail strip center, but Chisholm Creek has more to offer. He said he knows or at least hopes it will become the destination that has been envisioned.