That’s a promise by Craig Brown, who started the restaurant seven years ago on what was really a pretty big leap of faith. For the past couple of years Brown has had an uneasy relationship with the operators of the restaurant and on Oct. 1, with him reporting their lease expiring, he shut the restaurant down. (*I have placed a call to the number I have for the operator, but have yet to hear back)
Anyone who visits www.okctalk.com knows Craig isn’t alone in his dissatisfaction with the previous operators. Just days before the restaurant closed, the restaurant was getting hit with pretty harsh criticism:
Just walked out of Deep Deuce. I was with a group of 5 friends. We took a table on the patio – only one other table occupied. Sat there for 20 minutes and were never so much as greeted, much less given the opportunity to order. Server even came out and helped a table of ten right next to us (it took quite an effort to work that table without turning to see us). Another group of 6 came in behind us and was equally ignored. When we left, I made a point to walk in to the bar and told the staff we were leaving after having been sitting outside for 20 minutes with no service. The smartass said “you’re welcome.”
They weren’t busy at all – maybe one table inside, 4 to 6 people inside at the bar. Pathetic. We were probably good for a hundred dollar or better tab, and a healthy gratuity. Instead, none of us will be back, and I’ll go out of my way to share my experience.
Incidentally, when I first suggested my group go in to the Deuce, the first comment was “they have horrible service.” Should have listened.
I used to love Deep Deuce. But the last few times I’ve been there the service has been pretty slow. On one occasion a friend and I sat there for 10 or 15 minutes without ever being served, so we rolled out. It was a Sunday afternoon, not that busy either.
All of this is sad considering that the Deep Deuce Grill was, for years, the place for power players and also a great neighborhood hangout. And it was also an expression of Craig Brown’s own personality, who bought up the area back when no one cared. Craig initially got interested in the area when he was hired to tear down some of the more dillapidated structures. But once at work, it was Craig who decided to buy up what few old structures remained. And it was Craig who toiled away at renovating his first building on NE 1 (now home to a law firm, and then moved on to doing a deal with First Worthing to build the Deep Deuce Apartments. Craig meanwhile put his heart into renovating the one-time home of Charlie Christian and turning it into an idealized neighborhood bar and grill. To understand what sort of a risk Craig was taking, one must remember what Deep Deuce looked like just a decade ago….
The Deuce, like the neighborhood a decade ago, ain’t dead yet. Craig is doing a major overhaul that includes repaving of the crumbling parking lot, a top to bottom cleaning of the entire restaurant, an overhaul of the menu, re-introduction of the restaurant as a neighborhood hang-out and as a venue for jazz.
During a visit Friday, I saw evidence that this isn’t just talk – that Craig is dedicated to bringing the Deuce back to life, better than ever. The clean-up is underway, and it looks like Craig may have some impressive candidates to take over the restaurant operation and make it the place, once again, for downtown residents and the city’s power crowd.