The revitalized area of downtown Largo along West Bay Drive features a number of drinking and dining destinations, each with its own theme or specialty cuisine.
Seafood restaurants, brew houses, steak joints and sports bars can all be found within a couple miles of each other, each trying to find its niche during these tough economic times.
But one thing the new Deuces Sports Bar & Grill has going for it is that it has a niche all its own, starting with the local celebrity behind the name, Kansas City Chiefs star and Largo native Dexter McCluster.
“It’s unorthodox,” admits Wendy Hall, McCluster’s mother and co-owner of the restaurant. “We serve breakfast, we have a lot of families in here … and of course on Sunday we have Kansas City playing on one of the TVs.”
“It’s definitely family friendly, until it gets late at night. Then it’s more like a lounge,” she said.
The concept was the brainchild of McCluster’s dad, Marcus.
During a visit to Oxford, MS when Dexter was playing for Ole Miss, Marcus told his family he wanted to open a casual dining place where kids could come and hang out and eat while adults could watch football and drink beer with friends.
He thought up the name Deuces on the spot, after Dexter’s longtime uniform number, 22.
Driving past the location last winter, the elder McCluster saw the perfect spot for his dream to become a reality — the site of a former skateboard shop located at 426 West Bay Drive.
“When we first saw it, we were like, 'I think you bit off more than you can chew,' ” Hall remembers. “But Marcus had a vision, and he saw it through to reality.”
After seven months of construction, Deuces opened last month. Boasting a diverse menu of bar food, breakfast and authentic Southern fare like chicken & waffles and po’ boys, plus beer and wing specials and trip giveaways, Hall reports the reception so far has been positive.
"We've had good crowds for breakfast and lunch ... and we've given away two trips to Vegas, so people have enjoyed that," she said.
For his part, Dexter McCluster plans to spend much of his time here in the offseason, including helping to market and just hang out at the place.
“I plan on being in there every day when I’m home during the offseason,” McCluster said by phone from Kansas City. “I want people to know me, the person, not just the football player.”
“This is where it all started for me, in Largo. So I believe we can have great success here," he said.
Address: 426 West Bay Drive
Hours: Sun, Mon, Thu, 7 a.m. - midnight; Tue, Wed, 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.;
Fri, Sat, 7 a.m. - 3 a.m.