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Newest venue's sporting wings

The Fourth Street N restaurant, the fifth in a chain owned by one-time football pro Crawford Ker, is described as "primarily a sports bar with chicken wings."

By SHARON BOND

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 22, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- Ker's WingHouse Bar and Grill bought the Ocean Grill restaurant at 6445 Fourth St. N and plans to open a sports bar in mid-June.

Ker Inc. had been scouting for a Fourth Street location and approached the owners of the Ocean Grill several months ago.

"We were very attracted by the growth in that area of St. Petersburg," said Mitch Walker, chief operating office of Ker Inc. "The lunch potential is outstanding."

Ker is Crawford Ker who played football at Dunedin High, the University of Florida and with the Dallas Cowboys. He opened the first WingHouse in 1994 in Largo. The Fourth Street N location will be the fifth, and several more are in the planning stages.

Ker described WingHouse as a cross between Hooters and Beef O'Bradys. "It's a hangout type of place," he said. "We'll air (televise) all of the sports."

Walker said Ker Inc. hopes to do marketing with vendors at Tropicana Field to attract diners to the grill after Devil Rays baseball games.

Ker's WingHouse is similar to Hooters in servers' costumes as well as food. "We are primarily a sports bar with chicken wings," Walker said. "There will be a game room area. We'll do grouper sandwiches, salads, and we do a great Philly cheesesteak."

The closing of the Ocean Grill on Feb. 19 surprised area diners who gave the seafood restaurant high marks. It was open only a year. Owners were David and Jan Fair and Rod and Liz Karcher. The four were not trying to sell the restaurant but have full-time jobs and said getting out of the restaurant would give them more time with their families.

Walker would not disclose what Ker Inc. paid for the restaurant but said the company would spend approximately half a million dollars in renovations.

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