Once upon a time... The year 1983, the month - May, the day - Thursday, the situation - two former OU employees having a beer(s) with a colleague. After a few beers (too many) the idea - let's start a restaurant. Fast forward three days - ad in Norman Transcript - restaurant lease for sale. Forty-eight hours later an agreement to purchase the lease is signed. The major problems - no experience as a cook, waiter, or bartender, and No financing. No problem this - is America! So three months later (August 4, 1983) a trip to bankruptcy court - lots of sailing, lots of attorney fees ('should have been a lawyer' - crossed my mind several times) a deal is struck. For a mere 18% interest rate the 18 month lease was obtained - wow - what a deal.
September 3 - Grand opening after a month of renovation and no air conditioning. The plumber was still installing sinks behind the bar when our first customer walked in. Major mistake made before opening doors. Bought $18,000 worth of new tables and chairs (1/3 of capital), $4,000 worth of china, $2,700 new cash register, wrong type of corporation formed, bought enough insurance to cover a chain of restaurants and finally, started a business with friends.
The good news - tables are still around, some of the chairs (yup the ones with new seats), returned most of the china (last plate broke in 98), after three years finally figured out how to run cash register and yes she still lives. Corporation papers fixed after costing $20,000 in fees and taxes, insurance figured out upon renewal and ouster of third partner.
Fall of 1983: 1) Drinking age changes to 21, three weeks after opening (BIG problem). 2) #3 partner never works except to make bank deposits and tax depsits. 3) OU football team goes 7-4 and really makes fans mad.
January 1984 lien from IRS. Accounting partner decided taxes better spent on his personal needs. Third partner goes to family - dad said "no more $!" - mom said "yes!" Now we are $20,000 more in debt. Modern version of .com company!!
Some versions of original opening - good prices, cold beer, 1/2 yards & yards, the Pub, paper & crayons.
End of January our former Dean of Students - Keith Miser from UVM visits and tells us about a great idea when he was in school - "The Spread" - was born - thanks to Wayman Tisdale and Billy Tubbs. For two hours after basketball games whatever we beat the other team by was the cost of draft beer. Funny story and it dates us - Timmy McCalister throws in a ball from 1/2 court to end the game and win by three. When Tim came in people threw crayons at him beacuse it cost them $.02 more per draft.
The spread lasted two seasons until residents from Griffin Memorial Hospital discovered the fun and overran Brothers. 1984 & 1985 was good for paying down debt and moving checking accounts from bank to bank to avoid closing due to Penn Square fiasco. Looking back - our account meant nothing to bank regulators - beacuse half the time it was overdrawn!!
In the summer of '85 remaining partner married and moved away for graduate school. Patio was built in fall of '85, the first in Norman ended remaining partnership. Ensuing fight for ownership ended with Keith being the owner and buying 2/3 of business even though 50% owners. Only in America! Also reaffirms "never go into business with friends". Again great interest rates - 15%.
1986-1990 were good years of winning football and basketball. Arrivals - Brodome, Crayon gallery, expanded menu, frozen mugs, lots of great staff and tremendous number of loyal customers. Oh yeah - one little idea was born in '85 - The Birthday T-shirt, which thrives today.
Collages started in 1990. Curt Hill starts playing in 1991 on every Thursday night and played and partied until 1999. In '94 I met my future wife at the front door. We argued about sports and cold beer for eight months before she finally agreed to date. The year of Schnellenburger occured in 1995. We survived, but just barely. 1996 started with Blake, then in June Brothers bought the old Crosby's location on Webster. After years of 1-year leases it was time to move. Suddenly, the landlord saw the light and after 8 months of negotiations (it was a small light) a new lease was signed which included the old Fontenelli's side. (during negotiations Keith got married to Jenni). Needless to say '96 was a very busy year and Blake was still here.
StepBrothers - 423 S. Webster, Norman, Oklahoma became a private function site. We cater; weddings, rehersal dinners, anniversaries, hospitality suites, etc. Check us out in the Parties & Catering section of this website!
Fall of '97 old kitchen retired and we moved into new side kitchen. The side patio was rebuilt with water fountain and plants. Misting system arrived in '99 along with diaper changer. This history was first written in early '99, same time a fella by the name of Stoops arrived.
Original patio torn up and partially bricked in June of 2000. Don't think the old patio could of held up with all the excitement of 2000. Brothers was designated National Championship Campsite for 2000, which evoked some chuckles early on, but it worked out quite well.
As we prepare for the fall of 2001 the original cash register is being semi-retired (Keith may have to learn how to use a computer). So far in 2002 Brothers has gone high-tech and world wide with our internet site at www.brotherseaterypub.com - check it out! This year will be Brothers 19th football season and we hope to see all of our regulars again. Many thanks to our loyal customers and don't be shy - say HI.
Thanks again for our success in a day of chain restaurants. As the second generation in now upon us - remember, Brothers is a place for everybody - kids, students, parents and grandparents. Brothers was started with a dream and a reach for a piece of the sky. We've still got both and that's a great feeeling. See you often we hope.
P.S. - This history is the P.G. version for our customers. The more detailed and entertaining "R" version can be heard for a price!!
P.S.S. - June 2000 - parts of original partio torn up and bricked. Go take a look!
P.S.S.S. - Can you say "National Championship Baby?" Well - we certainly can. The great year of 2000 finalized by beating smug Florida State in the Orange Bowl. What a season made fun by the return of many regulars wha had finally said enough is enough. Undergraduates saw a winning team and "Sooner Magic" returned! Things were so good that Brothers got two letters during the season about possible NCAA violations. Funny - you can buy a coach a steak or give him a car, but buying a player a meal gets you on probation - only in America!
2001 - Tried to live up to 2000 but just a mite slower. Still - had 7 home games. First game - tornado warning and severe storm in 4th quarter, two 11:00am starts and we lost to Nebraska (11:00am away game). So on to basketball - heck of a season - great crowds near end of season - we went ot the Final Four for a great season.
Small patio dug up summer of 2001 to put in new sewer lines. Spring 2002 - new menus, updated history.
See ya soon - Keith