With a new NBA season just days away, Thunder star Kevin Durant joined restaurateur Hal Smith and developer Randy Hogan in marking the start of construction on his new Lower Bricktown eatery, KD's.
Smith, whose company owns the neighboring Toby Keith's I Love this Bar and Grill, as well as Charleston's, Louie's and Red Rock Canyon Grill, praised Durant as the ideal partner to open an eatery.
“His mindset of giving back to the community is beyond words,” Smith said.
Durant is a 25 percent owner in the $5 million project — a stake that Smith said he hopes will draw the star as a frequent visitor.
“If we make money, he makes money,” Smith said. “And I asked him point-blank, ‘Are you going to be involved? Are you going to be at the restaurant?' And he said, ‘Absolutely, I'm going to hang there with my buddies.'”
Smith added the menu, a mix of steaks, seafood and southern comfort food, will all be personally tested by Durant.
Durant, who first confirmed plans for the restaurant in an interview with The Oklahoman last spring, said he saw the eatery as a chance to further promote Oklahoma City — a city he said he considers “home.”
“I've seen the city grow the last four to five years, and I thought this would be great way to add to that,” Durant said. “I've been to different NBA cities; I saw Amare Stoudemire's restaurant and I got a little jealous.”
Smith said he expects construction to last about a year, with an opening by October 2013. The 10,000-square-foot restaurant will feature a walk-around bar, seating for 320 people, and private dining rooms.
The Hal Smith Restaurant Group has enjoyed a long relationship with Lower Bricktown developer Randy Hogan that dates back to the late 1990s opening of Red Rock Canyon Grill on Hogan's East Wharf development on Lake Hefner.
The restaurant operator oversees about 50 restaurants in seven states with revenues topping $200 million annually. The new KD's will be overseen by Joe Jungman, who also runs the Paseo Grill, Sauced and the Hefner Grill.
Smith said menu prices will range between $8 and $30, with items including Durant favorites — chick satay, popcorn lobster, honey dipped fried chicken, center cut pork chops and shrimp jambalaya.
Smith admitted, a restaurant with Durant's name will quickly draw crowds, but he is dedicated to ensuring patron's will enjoy their total experience at KD's.
“With the name KD, they're going to come,” Smith said. “It will be our job to execute.”