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2018. One thing you definitely never would have heard me saying going into last year was this: “You know, I really want to design a restaurant this year.”


Yet that was the door that opened and last year, I found myself walking that path, having the chance to be a part of the most amazing project — designing an upscale burger joint on Cherry Street called Society Burgers.


But before I share these pictures with you and before I show you my vision for the restaurant and then reveal how it all turned out after months of hard work, I’m going to tell you something else first — I almost didn’t get to be a part of this incredible project.


Why?  Because of these three words Self-doubt.  Fear. Comparison.


When my friend Danielle called me and told me the owners of Rib Crib wanted to meet with me to talk about me helping them design their new gourmet burger joint they would be opening, I said yes, but only after a bit of coaxing on my friend’s part.  You see, I was already starting to feel a bit out of my league at the mention of designing a restaurant.  But my friend assured me they just wanted to talk about the project and see what ideas I had for the space.  So, we had the first meeting and I left feeling not only out of my league but completely out of my league after seeing their incredibly fancy architectural renderings and drawings.  I started full on doubting myself.  My inner dialogue went a little like this: I can’t design a restaurant.  I’m not good enough to do this. This is way out of my league. I can’t give them the professional 3D drawings they are used to getting. They don’t want me to do this.  I can’t do it.


I listened to that voice, instead of choosing to silence it, and do you want to know what happened….I straight up tried to quit before the project had even started.  Perhaps I should be embarrassed admitting that to you guys, but I’m not.  Because I just don’t feel right showing you these incredible pictures of Society — this project that took an entire team of people to create that I am so honored to have been a part of — without sharing with you the truth, the behind the scenes reality of it all.  And the reality of it all is this: I almost didn’t get to be a part of this project because of my own self-doubt and fear.  Truth be told, I had a mini meltdown to Michael after that first meeting, told him I wasn’t qualified to do the project, then I called my friend and tried to graciously back out by telling her I was not qualified.


Fortunately, my sweet friend had just the right words of encouragement for me in that moment.  She assured me they wanted me,  not someone else.  She told me they wanted my vision and my creativity and my input on the project.  So I dug deep and you know what I did? I told that voice of negativity and self-doubt and criticism to SHUT IT. I told my inner critic to go take a hike. I started speaking words of positivity: I can do this.  They want me.  I have a vision for this space and it’s good! And I designed the restaurant.

Once I committed, there was no looking back. I sat in meetings with restaurant owners and architects and explained my vision for the project with confidence. We worked together to create something I am so damn proud of.  So why am I telling you this?  Because it’s 2019.  It’s the start of a New Year, and I want to encourage you all to tell that inner critic to SHUT IT too. You never know just what you might be able to accomplish if you simply stop listening to that voice of self-doubt and fear and criticism, and instead…Just say yes.  Take the first step. Step out of your comfort zone. And remember, “Great things never come from comfort zones.”

Before I show you the entire restaurant, I thought I would show you the very first “vision board” I took with me to my meeting with the restaurant owner.  My vision was for a bar covered with cement tile, a wall of brick, camel leather booth, and sconces.  This was the board that I was questioning and doubting because it was nowhere near as fancy as they were used to and it wasn’t 3D.  The board grew and evolved but the bones were there — the bar with cement tile is the focal point.  We changed the tile to a more geometric pattern but the concept was still there.  The brick wall made it, albeit it in a different wash than the white that I originally saw, and the sconces with authentic Tulsa art pieces made it as well.

So here you have it…the original vision that inspired Society.  The vision I thought wasn’t good enough.  The vision that was, in fact, good enough when I decided to stop listening to my inner critic and go for it!

In 2019, I plan to keep fighting my inner critic and continue to step out of my comfort zone, and I hope you guys will do the same.  When you hear those words of negativity — I can’t. It’s too hard. I’m not good enough — Replace them with words of positivity — I can. I am wonderfully created.  I am a unique individual who can bring something special to this project.  

I am convinced that great things can happen when WE learn to silence our inner critic!  Happy 2019 and may you say yes, step out of comfort zones, take the first step, and silence that voice of self doubt and fear!

And now you can see how our team transformed this vision into Society Burgers….it’s all there, the concrete floors, camel leather booths, cement tile, brick, and sconces…I just had to trust my vision and stop letting self doubt win!  Thank goodness I silenced my inner critic and said yes!

All interior photos of Society by Sarah Baker Photography

Society Restaurant Design and Overcoming Self Doubt cement tile camel bar with cement countertop camel leather restaurant booths cement floorsSociety Restaurant Design and Overcoming Self Doubt and Fear




Here is a view of the exterior of Society!  This used to be an old Quizno’s.  It’s unbelievable to see how this space was transformed!

Here’s another view of that cement tile.  The bar is two-sided with an indoor and outdoor side and the cement tile is the focal point on both sides!

There are those pendants on the faux brick wall with the Tulsa art!  I loved watching this focal wall go from vision to reality!

So I took these photos of Tulsa the week before Society opened and we got them framed and hung on the day of!  I love how they turned out.  Nothing like a little last minute art install!

This is the view you see when you walk in!  I love this wide angle view!

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of Society Restaurant and I hope you enjoyed the behind the scenes.  Most of all, in 2019, I hope that you silence your inner critic, take the first step, and see what happens!  It’s amazing what we can do when we stop letting

And if you haven’t checked out Society Burgers yet, you are seriously missing out and I’m not talking about the design (although I’m a little partial to it as well).  Their food and drinks are superb and it has quickly become one of my family’s favorite places to eat in Tulsa!  Huge thanks to Danielle, Garrett, Brett, and the entire Rib Crib team for allowing me to be a part of this incredible project!

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