Issue 48: Restaurants from NBA Players — And Their Reviews

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Issue 48: Restaurants from NBA Players — And Their Reviews

Since the last issue of Crisp Bounce Pass, the Houston Rockets have traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.

This is a significant deal in the NBA landscape. Harden, a top-15 player in the NBA, now joins two other All-Stars in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Of course, Harden came into the season out of shape and seemed disinterested in playing basketball in Houston. And Durant is 32 years old and coming off an Achilles injury. And Irving has simply left the team and no one seems to know where he is (hopefully not in a mysterious black hole, like Ozzie Smith).

But we’re not here to talk about how Harden will fit with the Nets. Instead, let’s look at something he’s leaving behind in Houston: a restaurant.

Thirteen Restaurant is still set to open this month, despite no longer having its namesake (or I guess numbersake, since 13 is Harden’s jersey number).

Several reviews have already come in, and they are unfavorable. That’s through no fault of the restaurant, but people love to hate on Harden.

As a result, we’ve got a fun email inspiration from Kevin M. — what NBA players have owned restaurants, and what are the best reviews said restaurants have received?

Thirteen Restaurant

A restaurant in the Midtown district of Houston, Thirteen Restaurant plans to serve “upscale fare” to patrons. The restaurant will be led by head chef Tobias Dorzon, who has served as personal chef to multiple athletes. Menu highlights include lump crab-stuffed prawns on fettuccine and a dry-aged tomahawk steak with shallot and pineapple compound butter.

Top Reviews:

  • “This restaurant can’t be fixed, it’s just not good enough.”
  • “I had to ask 27 times to refill my drink… I got zero refills”
  • “The owner kept coming to my table and blaming it on the chef. We even got a new chef in the middle of our dinner, then he got rid of him before dessert.”

Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse

Pretty standard steakhouse fare from the OG GOAT, but I appreciate some of the shipping options available from MJ’s steakhouse. Super hungry diners can order The Championship Pack, which includes two dry-aged prime boneless ribeyes, two Angus reserve filets, four steak house burgers, one pack of Nueske’s Bacon, and one MJ Steak House baseball cap.

Top Reviews:

  • “My brother in law dropped his fork and we had 2 servers rush to the table to provide us with new utensils. They were on it! LOL.”
  • “One thing was that they did not even serve you any bread with your meal or even give you a side of potatoes or vegetables with my steak meal that costs $40.00. That was kind of a bummer. Either way I had a good experience and will go back again probably sometime in the next 3 years.”
  • “So any negatives? It’s pricey. But hey, it’s a casino. So we stepped into the casino and won the money back we just spent on dinner. Perfect!”

Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine 

The legendary New York Knicks forward (though you may know him as Walt) serves American cuisine right in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. Work off a few calories with the free-throw basketball court or grab a seat at the enormous bar. There’s nothing outrageous on the menu, though the Maine lobster thin crust pizza is fairly unique. And the menus are tiger-printed, which is grrrrreat!

Top Reviews:

  • “Boyfriend and I felt bad we ordered so much because we were stuffed by the end. We couldnt take our leftovers because we were going to a show!”
  • “The bread was sour dough which I didn’t enjoy. They should have an assortment of breads or just plain rolls.”
  • “What made it worth it, was to be able to shoot around and take pictures in the mini basketball court. Definitely instagram worthy lol.”

The Kingfish Cafe

Gary Payton was simultaneously one great defender and one great trash talker. Alas, The Kingfish Cafe closed its doors in 2015, but hot diggity did it look like a tasty spot for soul food. And some good news: Laurie and Leslie Coaston, who ran the restaurant for nearly 20 years before it closed, shared a homemade recipe for their All Monday Red Beans and Rice. Let’s eat.

Top Reviews:

  • “But really… that red velvet cake. Our time together was too short, and I will taste you in my dreams.”
  • “If you’re like me and are coming here for the delicious looking mac and cheese that you see in all the photos, please note that ‘objects are larger than they appear.’ lol, SERIOUSLY!”
  • “How have I not reviewed the Kingfish yet?! It’s one of my dining staples in Seattle and now that I live a block away, my wallet and waistline might seriously be in trouble!”

Bonus: Oak in the Kitchen 

Charles Oakley was one of the toughest guys to ever play in the NBA. But what a lot of his fellow power forwards probably don’t know is that he’s a cuisine wizard in the kitchen. He’s also not at humble about his cooking, so good on him. Oakley ran (and perhaps will one day run again) a cooking company where he would teach people how to cook and make them a meal. NOM. Check out an Oak in the Kitchen video below.

Top Reviews:

  • “You have inspired me to pursue cooking”
  • “Damn! I’m hungry 😋”
  • “I miss watching Charles in the middle of that Knicks defense in the 90’s. No easy lay ups against the Oak man.”

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Other Reads and Watches

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Everyone roasted Charles Barkley for his terrible take on NBA, NFL athletes jumping vaccine line

Every NBA Team’s Most Viewed Play

That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!


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