By Cara Pattison
Homestead on Route 66 owner Bret Kappus knows wine. In fact, his grandpa, Lawrence Kappus, was well-known throughout Canadian County for making wine in the 1930’s until his death in the 1970’s. Hooked on an interest in wine making from a young age thanks to his grandpa, Kappus said that he always dreamed that this interest would grow into something bigger.
“I remember watching my grandpa work his magic. Even as a kid, I remember the smells, the interesting stills and equipment, and it was always just fun and exciting to be a part of his hobby.”
When he retired from the field of human resources several years ago, he had no doubt what he would do with his newfound freedom. Having learned about some viticulture and enology courses being offered at Redlands Community College, Kappus enrolled so he could expand on his current knowledge. Upon completion, he took his freshly-honed knowledge and skills to the fields and eventually created Land Run Winery in El Reno. The area where the winery sat was not legally zoned to have a tasting room, so Kappus “always kept his eyes open” for a retail spot. Little did he know one day a couple years ago, the wheels of fate were in motion.
“One particular day while I was out marketing Land Run wines to a liquor establishment, I unwittingly learned about a former flower store in Yukon along historic Route 66 that was on the market. It seemed like in the blink of an eye, I was the new owner of a flower store and the house next door. The flower store was Pritner’s Flower Store and the house next door is where the owner, Mrs. Pritner, lived.
“Homestead on Route 66 got its name due to the history associated with it. Obviously, the place is nestled along historic Route 66. The title to the property stated that it was homesteaded in 1890, and I think the home is at least 100 years-old. Longtime Yukonites will always remember that the restaurant is where Pritner’s Flowers sat. Given that I was the first person to come in and dramatically renovate the house and property, I wanted to honor its history. So, the name Homestead on Route 66 was born.
After the purchase at 629 West Main Street was complete, Kappus looked at his newly acquired real estate, and realized that the spot had potential to be more than just a wine tasting room.
“I saw more than just a wine room here. Originally, I was going to serve non-cooked food items like salad and sandwiches. However, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea and saw the need for Yukon to have a winery, café, coffee shop, and patio in one location. There really is nothing like that around here.”
After a year and-a-half of construction and preparation, the Homestead on Route 66 was done and Kappus’ dream became a reality. The original flower store is now a restaurant with a bar, while Mrs. Pritner’s former home is now a meeting area with a bar and seating for events such as class reunions, bridal and baby showers, wine tasting, and wine and painting events. The entire back yard features a wrap-around patio with plenty of seating, a stage for live music and weddings, a selfie area, and games such as cornhole.
“The Homestead was constructed to be family-friendly. Kids are welcome everywhere except the two bars. There are no TVs outside, and smoking and vaping are not allowed on the property.”
At the two bars, all wines served are made in Oklahoma by Kappus from his two lines – Land Run Wine and Flower Shop Wine. Additionally, his bar is stocked with 60 different domestic and imported beers. Originally, he had a “starter menu” for brunch, lunch, and dinner crowds, but it currently under expansion.
“There is currently not a Czech restaurant in the state of Oklahoma that I can find. Truly, I can’t think of a better place than Yukon to have one. So, our menu will soon have a lot more Czech foods and products on it.”
To date, his brunch menu includes omelettes, eggs benedict, crepes, sweet and savory breakfast foods, and coffees, mimosas, bellinis, and bloody Marys. The lunch and dinner menus have feature items and staples – such as fried peaches, hamburgers, chicken and deli-style sandwiches, and even a fried bologna sandwich. His locally inspired items include such items as Weaver’s Tavern-type sandwiches and Czech-inspired foods, such as kolaches, Czech-inspired fried cheese, and Czech beers.
In addition to the food, Kappus has a specific vision for his restaurant that centers around friends and families.
“The Homestead is not going to be a sports bar or late night venue. This is a place that beckons back to the good ‘ol days, where we talk. Kids are welcome. My motto is ‘great friendship and conversation.’ You won’t see TVs all over the place and blaring music inside. In fact, I have TVs above the bar and that’s it.”
To get people together and talking, Kappus has put together a popular concert series in the outdoor area.
“Last summer, I featured local talent on-stage in our big back patio area. We had such names as the Jason Young Band, Mike Hosty, Chloe Beth, Jesse Alan, Hunter Thomas, and Jon Dooly. It was fun and I’m ready to pick it back up this spring.”
Having garnered attention for the vibe the Homestead on Route 66 puts out, watch for Yukon’s newest gem to be featured in the coming months on Discover Oklahoma and Channel 4’s “Rise and Shine” show.