The Deuce will turn 20 years old this year. Haven’t heard of it? Likely you knew it better as BBD II and for much of the past 10 years BBD II — The Deuce. And in the wake of personal tragedy, it is forging a new chapter in its life.
The breakfast-lunch restaurant started as a spinoff of Brookside by Day in 2000. Jessica and Chris Cooley, who met at Brookside by Day in 1996, ended up managing the restaurant in 2002 and buying it in 2010, when The Deuce was added to the name.
Chris Cooley, an accomplished musician, artist and writer, died in the spring of 2016, and Jessica said the fate of the restaurant was up in the air for a while.
“It had been such a big part of my life and the children’s lives that I intended to keep it going,” Jessica said.
She did manage to keep it running and later would marry Daniel McDonnell.
McDonnell handles the day-to-day operation of the restaurant, along with Robb Shay, Chris Cooley’s best friend and former bandmate who has been there for many years and runs the front of the house.
“We built a shrine to honor Chris with one of his guitars, CDs and photos,” Daniel McDonnell said, pointing to a large shadow box on one wall.
Chris’ two oldest daughters, Mairead and Bridie, also work in the restaurant, and we accidentally met them while looking over the shrine on a recent lunch visit. They were informative and delightful. Jessica, who also works in real estate, and Daniel have more help on the way; they have seven children between them.
With the help of head chef Gabriel Hernandez, The Deuce has been reworking some of the menu over the past three months or so.
“Since we are giving things a fresh look, we probably ought to replace these old tables (wood-framed blue-and-white tile), but a lot of our regulars don’t want us to,” Jessica said. “We’ll think about that one.”
Pony walls divide the dining room into three areas, and we landed a two-top next to a window with bright sunshine streaming in on a cool day.
Breakfast and lunch are served all day, and it was a struggle to decide what to order. So, we got a breakfast and a lunch.
A traditional eggs Benedict ($10.95) featured two perfectly cooked poached eggs on top of English muffins and Canadian bacon, then drenched in a dreamy hollandaise sauce.
They were served with cube-shaped home fries that had little seasoning, which was fine with me. In addition to ketchup, The Deuce has a wall full of self-serve hot sauces for those who like some extra kick.
One day, when I have had five days in a row of having salads for dinner and am feeling pretty stout, I will come back for the Big Country Benny, which includes two poached eggs, English muffin, sausage patties and country gravy topped with crumbled bacon. Shay informed me that Big Country refers to the Scottish rock band, not the former Oklahoma State University basketball star.
We also ordered the Western burger ($10.29). I noticed our server, Jake, put down some extra napkins when the burger was served, and we soon learned why. It was a delicious, messy affair with a good-sized beef patty, melted cheddar cheese, Head Country barbecue sauce and an onion ring. Lettuce, onion, tomato and pickles are available on request.
One reason the burger was so juicy was it was ordered medium-rare and came out fairly close to that doneness. Some of our friends and children cringe at the thought of anything less than well-done ground beef, but I have survived — knock on wood — a lifetime of the more flavorful option.
A side of thick onion rings was, personally, not my favorite style, but the onions had a sweet flavor and thin crust.
If the wide-ranging menu wasn’t enough, though it is, The Deuce also offers chalkboard specials, such as breakfast tacos, avocado toast, chicken and waffles, and eggs in a basket, to name a few.
A children’s menu includes an egg, bacon or sausage and one pancake; PB& J sandwich, cheese quesadillas, grilled cheese, chicken fingers and a burger from $4.50 to $6.25. Each comes with a drink and a side of fruit or fries.
The most dominant decorating feature is a wall full of record albums, showing a remarkable range of genres and decades of music.
“We have so many regulars now, and they are like family to us,” Jessica said. “An Owasso couple drives here just for hamburgers, which is such a compliment. One couple were like grandparents to our kids; he passed away, but she still visits and even came out to our house during the holidays. We truly appreciate all of the support our customers give us.”