By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
OKLAHOMA CITY —
It used to be a rite of passage. Whenever a professional athlete made enough money and gained enough stature, they would automatically open a restaurant. Some did it for tax purposes while others wanted a family business.
Unfortunately, the majority of athlete sponsored restaurants have failed miserably.
Those who have bucked that trend include Elway’s (John Elway), The Kingfish Cafe’ (Gary Payton), Vince Young Steakhouse (Vince Young), Ditka’s (Mike Ditka), Majerle’s (Dan Majerle), Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse (Michael Jordan) and Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine (Clyde Frazier).
Kevin Durant hopes to join the latter group with his newest offering. The Oklahoma City Thunder star became the latest athlete turned small business owner with the opening of KD’s Southern Cuisine, 224 Johnny Bench Drive.
Partnering with Norman’s Hal Smith Restaurant Group, Durant has made KD’s one of the most unique eateries in Bricktown. If you go in looking for normal sports bar chow, you will not find it.
Like Durant himself, KD’s is changing the restaurant game in Oklahoma.
KD’s opened its doors to the public Wednesday with operating hours from 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday with Sunday hours 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
From the live band and the private dining room to the various flatscreen TVs located around the 10,000 square foot establishment, it stood out from other places in Bricktown. The decor is an upscale sports bar with down home soul cooking.
Though Durant grew up on the East coast, the menu represents a strong southern flavor. It includes seasoned collard greens, juicy pork chops and honey drizzled fried chicken on top of a fluffy waffle. Equally compelling are the Deep South Meatloaf, Creole Shrimp and Grits and Fried Catfish and Soul Egg Rolls.
If Southern cooking is not to your liking, thick New York strip steaks, hamburgers and large shrimp are also available. The menu offers enough variety to please most pallets. That includes more than 800 bottles of wine in a two-story wine room.
KD’s prices range from $10 to $25 on the standard menu. They are slightly higher on the specialized “Baller Menu.”
The walls are adorned with photos of Durant throughout his basketball career and other memorabilia. He also has pictures of his current Thunder teammates in the private dining room.
“I always want people to come in and enjoy themselves anywhere they go,” Durant said in a statement to the Associated Press. “I like seeing people smile. Hopefully they come into my restaurant and it feels like a home, family type of feel and they can just enjoy themselves for a few hours.”
Michael Kinney- Follow on twitter at: EyeAmTruth