Durant’s Dish

Durant plans to be on-site often at the 10,000-square-foot restaurant, which sits along the Bricktown Canal between Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar & Grill and Earl’s Rib Palace. It will be worth Durant’s while to be there because he is not just lending his famous name to the eatery; he will own 25% of the business.

“He doesn’t get a royalty. He’s an owner. He’s an equity player,” Smith says. “If we make money, he makes money.”

What might help with that endeavor will be the presence not only of Durant, but also of his famous friends. Don’t be surprised to see LeBron James or Kobe Bryant dining on some honey-dipped fried chicken, stuffed catfish with crab, slow smoked southern ribs, or chicken and shrimp jambalaya.

“I’ve told all my friends in the NBA whenever they come in town next year or so to come by KD’s,” he says. “They’re all looking forward to it as well.”

Durant can’t run the show since he does have a day job. And Smith has about 60 restaurants in seven states. So they brought in Joe Jungmann, from Paseo Grill and Sauced, to operate the new eatery.

“He’s a tremendous manager of people,” Smith says. “He’ll run a good operation here.”

Durant plans to use the restaurant as a hangout, but he also will be there to work.

“I’m going to be visible in the restaurant and try to spend as much time as I can there,” he says. “If somebody has a complaint, I’m going to try to go back in the kitchen and try to help them fix it.”

The restaurant will include a main dining room, private dining rooms and a walk-around bar. It will
seat about 320. The menu will have a southern theme, and Smith says
entrées will start at around $8 and go up to approximately $30.

Randy
Hogan, developer of other projects in Lower Bricktown, is also part of
the deal. In April 2012, Hogan brought initial design plans to the
Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, which has jurisdiction over
design and construction in the area. While OCURA commissioners liked the
plan, they didn’t like the design.

Over
the course of several meetings, Hogan revised his plan. The original
concept had the restaurant’s front door facing a parking lot, with a
small patio along the Bricktown Canal and a cavernous walkway between
the building and Toby Keith’s. Commissioners Jim Tolbert and Larry
Nichols were especially vocal about wanting those aspects to change.

Hogan
went back to the plans with his architect, Jason Wint with REES, and
returned with a design that included a glass wall and wide walkway
between the two buildings, and a front façade facing the canal with a
patio next to the canal’s sidewalk. Originally, he envisioned an
11,000-square-foot, multi-tenant building. With the new design, the
building will house only KD’s.

“By
shrinking the building down a little bit, and with the entry where it
is, it just made a lot more sense to have one tenant,” Hogan says.

While
Durant says he does not cook, the recipes will come from his family and
his travels. Every recipe and every item on the menu must pass his
taste test.

“Basketball
has given me a great opportunity to go around the world and taste a lot
of different foods,” he says. “I have some good taste buds, and
hopefully people enjoy what I like as well.”

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