by Johnesha Harris, Special to The New Tri-State Defender Newspaper
When Alfonso Johnson and Desmond Ryan decided to renovate their restaurant, they envisioned a place that is family-oriented and date-night approved. They think they’ve accomplished that and more with the reopening of DeeO’s Seafood/Ocean’s Restaurant Bar & Grill.
While Ocean’s is a great place to get a drink and unwind, DeeO’s Seafood – which operates out of what once was All-Star Wings – provides delicious seafood with the soul of Memphis in its flavor.
“We started out (with DeeO’s SeaFood) as a delivery service,” Ryan said. “We felt that some people were missing out and we wanted to open our kitchen to them. We just want to bring a different healthy flavor, but at the same time a nice badness, as they would say, to the mix as well.”
By mix, Ryan is referring to the list of items that DeeO’s has to offer. The restaurant has a mix of fresh seafood boils and veggie options all prepared in an olive oil base. There are also signature dishes such as the fried lobster with a mac & cheese waffle and wings.
Johnson and Ryan both agreed that wings were to be left on the menu to accommodate for the culture of the city. They also concluded that going the extra mile and buying quality seafood would take them a long way with their customers.
Along with the food, the atmosphere of the restaurant was a top priority for Johnson and Ryan. Both have been in business together for a year and are now looking to grow from their initial start.
“It took us about three weeks to renovate,” Johnson said. “Just wanted to bring a new look to the city, like an R&B feel.”
The theme that Ryan and Johnson had in mind for their business all came together with the help of Pablo Cruise, ABC Cleaner, designer LaTonya Davis and others.
Davis, with the help of volunteer workers, created a rustic/glam beach club type atmosphere for the restaurant, which reopened last Thursday.
“We had to be creative with the budget since the bulk of the money went to the kitchen renovation,” Davis said. “I incorporated the tables from the old venue and reused the frame from the previous seating to make the benches.
“We wanted to open up the space and arranged seating to allow for movement and conversation and still be able to see from any angle.”
A consistent flow of customers has followed the grand opening.
“We are going to provide fast and great customer service,” Ryan said. “We’re going for a bar and grill feel with a seafood twist.”
Johnson and Ryan will let their business speak for itself with their $10 shrimp bowls and daily drink specials at the bar. But the duo wanted to give the people a message: If you haven’t stopped by 8095 Macon Road, then you’re missing out!