Beef 'O' Brady's rebranded to blue 22 Soul Kitchen & Bar

Beef 'O' Brady's has been rebranded into blue 22 Soul Kitchen & Bar. Its official grand opening was on Tuesday. (Photo by Sarah Raines, SDN)
Staff Writer

After getting out from under the thumb of the Beef 'O' Brady's franchise and rebranding to blue 22 Soul Kitchen & Bar, the restaurant located next to Hollywood Premier Cinema on Stark Road had its official grand opening on Tuesday, with owner and former NFL player Donald Lee on site to visit with customers.

The restaurant was full at lunch time on Tuesday, with many people eating the blue plate specials of hamburger steak or fried chicken.

The rebranding took place to give the restaurant more freedom in what it serves.

"I had a lot of people saying there wasn't a good place around here to get a good home-cooked meal," Lee said. "So I said, 'we did this for the people, so let's give the people what they want.' They kind of inspired us."

Lee originally opened Beef 'O' Brady's in 2014 with the goal of providing a place for people in the community to come together.

"I went to school at Mississippi State, and Mississippi State has greatly improved the quality of my life," Lee said. "I was just thinking of a way I could come back home and kind of give back to the people and everyone around."

After graduating from MSU, Lee played in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, and going to the Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers. When Lee retired in 2012, he came home to Maben where he spends time resting on his land with a 16-acre lake and spending time with family and friends.

Pictures from Lee's career cover the walls of blue 22, beginning with his high school days in Maben.

"These murals are a reflection of my entire career," Lee said. "Basically, these walls reminded me of all the hard work, dedication and sacrifices I've made so it lets me know my work didn't go in vain."

Assistant Manager Anthony Dunning said blue 22's biggest change was the addition of blue plate specials.

The business is offering blue plates from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and during the evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

"I think the new business model definitely increased our sales, definitely created another atmosphere that we weren't used to seeing," Dunning said. "For the customers, the employees, myself, it's just a happier environment here."

The Starkville location is the first of its kind, and there is a likelihood the business will expand.

"We are planning on expanding to Tupelo, Columbus, maybe even West Point, and just as far as we can go with it," Lee said. "Right now, we're focusing on this location, making sure we get it up and running, and as soon as we feel comfortable with what we're doing here, then we'll go to the next step."