Artichoke Sandwichbar adds another restaurant, but this one isn’t open to everyone

Courtesy photo

The Artichoke Sandwichbar has opened another restaurant, but this one is for an exclusive clientele only: employees of Spirit AeroSystems.

The popular restaurant whose original site is near Broadway and Murdock had been serving Spirit employees one day a week in an area with other food vendors, but co-owner Uche Onwugbufor said that arrangement didn’t work out due to the limited time frame.

“It was kind of hard for us to justify the hours.”

Now, though, the restaurant is in a venue of its own at the company, but Onwugbufor warns not just anyone can go.

Even for him, he said, “It’s a deal to get onto the property.”

The latest version of the Artichoke will be serving breakfast, such as burritos, pastries and parfaits, along with five of its most-popular sandwiches and two salads for lunch.

Third-shift workers won’t be left out, Onwugbufor said.

“We’re going to get to the point where we are packaging the sandwiches, and we’re leaving them in the warmers for them.”

Onwugbufor and his business partner, Tracy Rutledge, also are working on opening their second full restaurant that’s open to the public in Comotara at 29th and Rock Road. They’ll be occupying a former Wendy’s restaurant.

“Wendy’s kind of fell in our lap,” Onwugbufor said.

“When I walked into it, all I saw was an old Wendy’s,” he said. “I give the vision to my partner, to Tracy.”

Onwugbufor said the new restaurant needed to be far enough away from the first one and also have a drive-through.

“During COVID, that’s what saved us.”

After Onwugbufor and Rutledge purchased the Artichoke from original owner Pat Audley in late 2019, their first new venture outside of it was a food truck.

“At some point, we couldn’t do anymore than we were doing down here,” Onwugbufor said of the original restaurant.

The truck “was successful. It was popular.”

With the new restaurant at Spirit and the other opening at Comotara in July at the latest, Onwugbufor said that “it’s going to be a while before we take on anything new.”

“You want to grow . . . but you don’t want to grow too fast.”

That said, Onwugbufor added that he and Rutledge like new opportunities.

“We’re always open.”