Joshua Ozaras and Shannon Ozaras are the owners of The Chalkboard Restaurant. They were exposed to the restaurant business at a very early age. Literally growing up in the hospitality business, their father, Ayhan Ozaras from Istanbul, Turkey owned restaurants since the 70’s. Both Josh and Shannon officially started working in the food and beverage industry in their late teens and performed virtually every restaurant job imaginable – from dishwasher and busboy to server, bartender and manager.
At the beginning of 2012, Josh and Shannon’s father retired from the restaurant business where they had the opportunity to buy The Chalkboard and carry on the family business. By taking ownership of the restaurant, they have honed the traditions and skills with a renewed sense of life and style.
Josh started working in the kitchen where he washed dishes, prepped and expedited food. Then in his early twenties, Josh started waiting tables as he continued his education at Tulsa Community College. He quickly learned the ropes of the service industry and moved to their sister restaurant, The Garlic Rose, where he waited tables and bartended. During that time he studied and received his first level sommelier and began writing wine lists and running their liquor program. Before long, Josh started as the assistant manager. In his mid twenties, Josh was promoted to be the General Manager. After a few years, he moved to the corporate office and helped open and manage several other sister restaurants.
Shannon Ozaras graduated from Murray State University in 2001 and moved to Tulsa. Immediately starting at The Chalkboard restaurant, she had hopes of teaching Elementary School, although the restaurant business was always in her blood. The years following, she helped open several sister restaurants with her father and brother. She learned all that it takes to operate a successful business. Back of the house, front of the house, bartending and managing, Shannon has done it all. Today, she manages here and there, but mainly takes care of the bookkeeping and financials for The Chalkboard.
CATERING & EVENT COORDINATOR
Tracey is a Muskogee native that relocated to Tulsa in 2001 after a brief stint at The University of Oklahoma. Upon arriving in Tulsa, Tracey was hired at The Chalkboard Restaurant and has been a key role player and valuable part of their team ever since. Starting as a breakfast server, Tracey worked his way up the ranks within a few years to General Manager in 2005 and remained in that position until promoted in 2011 to Operations Manager of all four of the companies restaurant locations. During this time, Tracey attended college classes concurrent with his full time employment, receiving his Associates Degree in Business from Tulsa Community College. He then furthered his education at Oklahoma State University and received his Bachelors Degree in Management/Marketing in 2011.
After graduating from The Culinary Institute of Louisiana in 2001, Justin was hired by the Hal Smith group to open their new Red Rock concept in Omaha and Wichita. Shortly after both restaurants were open and running, he was hired at Cascata Ristorante in Edmond, Oklahoma where he landed the Sous Chef position 6 months after joining the kitchen. Working under Gaetano Patrinostro, Justin gained a refined knowledge of Italian cuisine. After a year as Sous Chef and personal apprenticeship under Gaetano, he was awarded the Executive Chef position, a position that he held for 2 years before going on to consult on several projects in Oklahoma City.
Justin’s consultation projects included placing a full dinner menu at The Mantel in Historic Bricktown and opening a late-night bar menu at Deep Fork Grill. His love for hospitality and restaurants brought him to the Dining room and out of the kitchen where he quickly excelled at fine dining service. He worked for several concepts in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City area over the next couple of years, including The Chalkboard, perfecting his craft before moving to Atlanta, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Audio Engineering. While in Atlanta, Justin worked at a handful of fine dining restaurants in the Buckhead area, including Antica Posta, a fine dining Italian restaurant famous for its wine selection, fine dining service and authentic Tuscan cuisine. After 2 years at Antica Posta he became Capo Cameriere, holding this position for 4 years. Justin also worked at the James Beard award winning Restaurant Eugene as well as Bacchnalia, one of Atlanta’s top restaurants known for its progressive menu that changed nightly and consisted of all local and organic ingredients. During his last four years in Atlanta, Justin taught audio engineering and production at SAE Institute where he rose to Lead Instructor while also working with the some of the top artists in the music industry.
After 12 years in Atlanta, Justin has returned home to Tulsa to rejoin The Chalkboard Restaurant as the evening service manager. He joined the team in August of 2018 and is looking forward to a bright future with The Chalkboard.
Meet Chef Kirk Swaby, who now is proud to call Tulsa his new home. He started is culinary education back in Toronto Canada, where after finishing with a degree in culinary arts from prestigious Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.
Kirk has since worked his way from humble dishwasher to preparing food for some of the hippest restaurants in Chicago. His love and passion for food pushed him to become the Executive Chef and Owner of Mange La Vie, a boutique Catering & Private Chef Company located in Chicago. It has grown into a premier brand preparing elegant and uniquely delicious dishes for families, private events and corporate businesses. He was then recruited to help open Tulsa’s very own Gathering Place, as the Executive Chef of the Park. With a desire to stay within Tulsa Chef Kirk decided to bring his talents over to the Chalkboard where he looks to continue the tradition of holding the Chalkboard as one of Tulsa’s top restaurants to dine at.