By Estella R. Fullmer
For Hometown News
A fine dining experience may not be what you expect when you walk into a sports bar, but that's what you can have at Big Daddy's Sports Bar & Grill in Daytona Beach.
The newly remodeled restaurant and sports bar has plenty of great food and friendly staff that are there to help you relax and have a great time whether it is watching the latest game or race or spending time with friends and family in one of the large dining booths. Knotty pine walls and a stone fireplace show off the stock car racing and football motifs, giving the sports bar a rustic yet "homey" feel.
Colon Haire, owner and manager of Big Daddy's, has the knowledge it takes to bring great food and a sports friendly atmosphere to the area. Mr. Haire has been in the food service industry for more than 35 years, starting with an Outback Steakhouse in Florida.
Big Daddy's is a great restaurant where dad can bring his family for a good meal in a relaxed atmosphere and still catch the game. This football season Mr. Haire said he has the NFL ticket so his patrons can catch any NFL football game played whether or not it aired on network TV. "You can see all the games, especially the ones you can't see at home, and we have a family dining area separated from the sports bar, so there is something for everyone," he said.
With several big screen TVs around the bar and dining area, diners have a wide selection of viewing opportunities.
If watching sports on TV is not your thing, you can play pool or darts back in the game room down the south side of the restaurant. Big Daddy's also has a sunken outdoor dining area and full-service bar that will have live bands on the weekends when the weather cools off a bit.
"Right now it's just too hot for the bands outside," Mr. Haire explained, "but it is a place where smoking is allowed and we have the full bar and meal service in the outdoor lounge. You can also reserve it for private parties."
"I started as head bartender of Outback Steakhouse in Jacksonville and became bar trainer and eventually moved up to corporate coordinator," he said. "I opened 32 Outbacks before becoming proprietor in Ponte Vedra."
He wanted more of a challenge, so he then got on board with Shells Seafood and helped set up several restaurants from Pembroke Pines in Miami all the way up to Ohio. He was the general manager of the beachside one in Daytona.
He moved on to Ker's Winghouse and became a manager there. He was the first managing partner of The Winghouse and stayed with them for 11 years. Eventually he decided "to do my own thing," he said, knowing his experience and love of cooking and sports was perfect for this type of restaurant.
So, he spent two months remodeling the former Neptune's Harvest building and transformed it into the inviting restaurant with a little bit of something for everyone. He opened Big Daddy's in July at 1130 S. Ridgewood Ave.
The bar is full service with several brands of beer on tap, such as Sam Adams Octoberfest. If a mixed drink is more to your liking, they can whip up just about anything, including tropical iced drinks popular during the summer months.
The menu has a wide selection from clam chowder soup to Big Daddy's steak-on-a-stick and the prices for choice, fresh ingredients served up in a timely manner are very reasonable, especially for how much food you get. Thick, juicy burgers run from $6.49 to $8.79 and are served with fries and a pickle. New England clam chowder and crab fondue are popular selections, as is the mushroom classic burger at $8.79.
Mr. Haire likes to offer a variety of quality food, so he frequently has an entrée of the day on his specials menu. One day he had gator bites and fried frog-legs. "It varies depending on what's available and the season," he said.
If you like salmon, fresh fish or other seafood, you can get the fresh catch of the day, mango-mahi or shrimp pasta. The fried fish is moist, tender and flakey with a mild breading or you can have Cajun style and spice it up a little.
If beef is more your style, try one of his thick, tender cuts of sirloin or rib-eye starting at $9.99 and served with your choice of two side dishes. They are cooked to your preference and their delicious sauces are served on the side if desired. With a variety of appetizers, sandwiches and wraps, burgers, fajitas, steaks, seafood, wings and dessert, there is something for everyone.
There is a scrumptious children's menu called Daddy's Little Buddy that offers child-sized portions of grilled cheese sandwich, macaroni and cheese, corn dog, chicken tenders, cheeseburger or spaghetti.
All of Big Daddy's food is fresh and all his sauces are made right in the restaurant. He has a lunch/early bird menu with prices starting at $5.99 that runs Monday through Friday from 11 am to 5 pm. "If you have a limited amount of time on your lunch break, I can get you in and out with plenty of time to enjoy your meal," promised Mr. Haire. "We do dine-in only on the lunch menu, but we also offer carry-out on the regular menu."
"We also do catering for private parties and will occasionally deliver if someone orders four or more dinner entrees," said Mr. Haire, "Eventually we may offer full delivery, but we aren't there yet."
Patrons can also reserve certain sections of the establishment for private parties.
Big Daddy's hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
For the Daily Special or to make a reservation for a private party, call 386-248-BIGD.