I finally reached Lane Peyton, who along with his brother Tyler operated the Deep Deuce Grill until midnight Wednesday. If there is one thing Peyton and building owner/landlord/restaurant founder Craig Brown agree on, it’s that there were “differences.”
“It was definitely not friendly,’ Peyton said. “There may be more to come.”
Peyton said he was negotiating in good faith to renew the lease for the restaurant and was surprised when Brown shut it down and locked the doors. Peyton said it took him five days to recover all of his assets.
One asset may yet to be disputed: the name.
I’m not sure how this all works, but apparently even though Brown named the restaurant and opened it before signing a lease with the Peytons a few years later, Lane Peyton says he has a trademark on the name.
Will the restaurant reopen? Brown says yes, and with new operators. Peyton says there is “debate as to who has the right to do it.”
I don’t know what to make of all this other than to give you both sides, which I have done, and note that an overwelming majority of readers at www.okccentral.com and www.okctalk.com have indicated they were none too happy with the Peytons’ operation during the final year or so.
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.
While no other buildings have the architectural significance of Little Flower Church and Union Station, several notable older buildings, such as the Latino Community Development Agency building, contribute to the character of the area and could be incorporated into development projects if economically feasible.”
Kevin and Charifa Smith hosted a grand opening party tonight at Sage in Deep Deuce and had a good showing that included a lot of familiar downtown residents. Yes, a community really is emerging here.
After reading today’s story about Sage (with excellent photos by Bryan Terry), you might be interested in learning more about Deep Deuce. Doug Loudenback has an incredible web site, and he has what I agree is the definitive online history of the area.
Here are more glimpses of Sage’s market and kitchen:
Ok, it’s time for me to fess up; when I first met Kevin and Charifa Smith, their effort to open a cafe and market in Deep Deuce seemed to good to be true. After all, they are among the nicest people I’ve met over these many years covering downtown (and I’ve met a lot of nice people). Their vision of a combined organic market and upscale cafe in the heart of Deep Deuce, is the sort of thing downtown residents have been clamoring for. Their story is both sad and yet a perfect display of taking a tragedy (the death of their first child) and finding a way to turn that grief into something good.
Like any significant downtown venture, delays were to be expected, and they did occur. And yet construction is well underway, and now the couple are giving a full view of what’s to come at their new website, www.sageokc.com.
With the Wedge and the Deep Deuce Grill already drawing in customers and a furnishings store for corporate relocations already operating in the district, Deep Deuce is rapidly transforming into what can truly be considered downtown’s first truly mixed-use neighborhood.
Forgive me for the delay in posting this information on The Leslie – the next housing project planned by Ron and Jason Bradshaw. Jason noticed questions at OKC Talk about the Leslie renderings and pricing information and he asked if I could help them by posting all of this at OKC Central.
So, without further delay…
Unit # Number of Bedrooms Levels Square Footage (MOL) Sales Price
101-A 1 1 560 $99,900
102-A 1 1 560 $99,900
201-A 2 1 1153 $230,000
202-A 2 1 1153 $230,000
301-A 2 1 1153 $232,000
302-A 2/1 2 1330 $266,000
101-B 1 1 560 $99,900
102-B 1 1 560 $99,900
201-B 2 1 1153 $230,000
202-B 2 1 1153 $230,000
301-B 2 1 1153 $232,000
302-B 2/1 2 1330 $266,000
101-C 1 1 560 $99,900
102-C 1 1 560 $99,900
201-C 2 1 1153 $230,000
202-C 2 1 1153 $230,000
301-C 2 1 1153 $232,000
302-C 2/1 2 1330 $266,000
101-D SOLD 1 1 560 SOLD
102-D SOLD 1 1 560 SOLD
201-D 2 1 1153 $230,000
202-D 2 1 1153 $230,000
301-D 2 1 1153 $232,000
302-D 2/1 2 1330 $266,000
Have fun and spot the downtown players … my spottings included Greg Banta visiting with Mickey Clagg (now that’s a discussion I’d like to listen in on), Bert Belanger, who was accompanied by a Houston apartment developer (just visiting, I’m sure), Chris and Meg Salyer, who I’ll bet are simply bewildered by the idea that Steve Mason has taken properties on the verge of collapse and spent millions to bring them back to life (this inside joke is a test on how much you know about the history of Automobile Alley), architect Rand Elliott and his wife Jeanette (still waiting to see what Kerr Park will look like), MidTown’s Arturo Chavez (quit following me!), the usual gang from Downtown Oklahoma City Inc., Skirvin Hilton General Manager John Williams, that crazy river guy Pat Downes, and many more.
Final note: Ah… free food and drink. Sure fire way to get a reporter in the room. This issue of Oklahoma Today is really impressive – it’s a nice recap of what’s going on downtown and throughout the city.
Tom Elmore picks up on an old thread at www.okctalk.com today about the old railway depots downtown, and also recalls how railroad buffs who helped fight for preservation of the Walnut Avenue bridge weren’t invited to the grand opening of the rebuilt structure that links Bricktown and Deep Deuce.
I remember that day very well. City officials also chose to ignore the efforts of preservationists like Randy Floyd, who put in tremendous amounts of time fighting an effort by then City Engineer Paul Brum to raze the bridge and replace it with an at-grade crossing.
The city instead chose that day to honor Dr. G.E. Finley, who was a leader in nearby Deep Deuce but had nothing to do with the bridge’s history or preservation.
It was said that Paul Brum was more powerful than than the mayor or city manager. And while not naming names, I heard two mayors say just that. During my stint covering City Hall, it was always interesting to see projects like the new roads and intersections serving the Belle Isle shopping center completed rather quickly, while other projects – like the bridge and the conversion of downtown streets to two ways (now getting done eight years after they scheduled) drag on and on.
Were folks like Tom and Randy left off the guest list on purpose? It’s history now, but I wonder if it would be any different today?
And one last thought: over the years we’ve seen a small group of people fight to preserve landmark properties that weren’t always popular with the masses. While it seems everyone loves the Skirvin, attitudes were mixed on the Gold Dome (saved), the Walnut Avenue Bridge (saved), and the old YMCA (lost forever).
The names of the “building huggers” include Randy Floyd, Michael Smith, Marva Ellard, Todd Scott (he has since moved away), and Lisa Chronister (whom I also believe has moved away).
They’ve been quiet lately, and Randy Floyd, Michael Smith and Marva Ellard have all transitioned from protesting demolitions to redeveloping old properties.
Will a new generation rise up to take their place? Expect some properties with significant histories to be targeted for demolition soon. The question is, will anyone speak out?