On Tap readers know there are myriad options of restaurants and sports bars in the DC area. But did you know that one of them is owned by an NBA champion and a living legend from the University of Kentucky?
Kevin Grevey, a former standout player on the Washington Bullets, helped the team win its only NBA championship during the 1977-’78 season. Just a year later, in 1979, Grevey opened the doors to Grevey’s Restaurant, described as “a relaxed and welcoming pub where good food, affordable prices and great conversation have come together for three decades.”
“It evolved into a really comfortable, non-pretentious place with really good food in a great location, with a lot of activities going on—not just lunch, dinner, happy hour and late night,” Grevey told On Tap. “I’m as proud of my restaurant and our Frozenyo yogurt stores as I am of any accomplishments I’ve had in basketball.”
Located in Falls Church’s Yorktown Shopping Center, Grevey’s boasts an 80-seat patio with a full-service outdoor bar and a private party room. It offers 50 LCD and plasma HD televisions, two large projection screens and personal TVs at every booth, keeping you close to the action no matter where you’re sitting. In case you forget you’re dining and drinking at a restaurant owned by an ex-professional athlete, the impressive displays of sports memorabilia and artifacts remind you.
For 29-year-old Michael Saad, a Columbus, Ohio resident formerly of Fairfax, it provided the ideal locale to watch his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes during basketball season.
“We hosted a few Ohio State alumni basketball game watch parties there,” Saad told On Tap. “On a couple occasions, Grevey’s was the only place in town that had the CBS pay-per-view package, which allowed us to get the OSU out-of-market game. We also loved going there for the turkey burgers and to get take-out after we had our first child.”
Also known as a great place to view NFL games on Sundays, Grevey’s customers say it offers exceptional burgers, wings, salads and specials. An ever-changing menu and a localized feel kept Saad going back for more.
Grevey, whose No. 35 jersey hangs in the rafters at perennial hoops power University of Kentucky, takes time to interact with customers visiting his restaurant. He even crosses conference lines to thank Big Ten fans for their patronage.
“During one of our Ohio State alumni basketball game watch parties there, Kevin actually stopped by our tables to introduce himself after seeing all of our scarlet and grey attire,” Saad said. “He was very friendly and thanked us for watching the game at his establishment.”
Grevey said, “We’re the home away from home for the Buffalo Bills. It’s hard to be a quasi-sports bar in this town just by relying on your home team.”
Catherine Schaefer, 30, of Centreville, chose Grevey’s for a recent NFL Sunday in order to be surrounded by fellow Buffalo Bills faithful fans. “The best part is that on Sundays, they play the famous Buffalo Bills ‘Shout’ song anytime Buffalo scores a touchdown,” Schaefer told On Tap. “I had a great experience there and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for good food, a place to watch games and a mixed crowd – from families to football fans.”
The Cheektowaga, NY, native gave Grevey’s high praise after sampling a menu item near and dear to many upstate New Yorkers.
“I am very particular about chicken wings, but the ones at Grevey’s taste like they were made in Buffalo,” Schaefer said. “All the food I have eaten there has been amazing.”
Before he entered the restaurant business, Grevey was a star basketball player. A three-time All-SEC selection at University of Kentucky, the shooting guard earned All-American distinction twice. He then took his scoring prowess to the NBA in 1975, when the Bullets selected him in the draft’s first round. The smooth-shooting lefty got his big break when his teammate and friend, Phil Chenier, suffered a back injury during the 1977-’78 campaign.
“I have no regrets. I loved every minute,” Grevey said. “I was able to become a starting guard on that championship team in 1978. I averaged double figures, and I made the first three-pointer in Bullets history. The first time I touched the ball, I jacked up a three-pointer and made it.”
The Bullets went on to complete a magical championship season, with Grevey playing a key role as starting shooting guard. His former teammates Wes Unseld, Bob Dandridge and Elvin Hayes garnered a majority of the credit, but Grevey was a critical piece.
Grevey said, “When I came into the league, I was hoping to have a 10-year career, and I accomplished that. I also was hoping to win a championship, and I was fortunate to play with a great bunch of guys, and win in 1978. I played with a great franchise, a terrific owner in Abe Pollin and unbelievable teammates.”
Eight seasons in a Bullets uniform preceded two with the Milwaukee Bucks, before Grevey retired from the NBA in 1985. He averaged 11 points per game over his professional career, and jokingly admitted to On Tap that his teammates probably thought he “shot the dang ball too much.”
“As I’ve gotten older, I don’t remember the games when I went 1-for-10 or 2-for-13,” Grevey said. “I only remember the makes; I don’t remember the misses too much. I remember the wins.”
Now an East Coast scout for the Los Angeles Lakers, Grevey stays busy by way of his restaurant business, frozen yogurt franchises, family foundation and scouting prospects for Lakers coaches to evaluate.
“Everything I do, I love doing,” he said. “I love the fact that I’m still able to work in the basketball business, a game that’s been so good to me.”
Grevey holds out hope for the young Washington Wizards. He said owner Ted Leonsis has the team heading in the right direction, with a talented roster that will only improve.
“I think they’re going to be pretty good this year,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re going to be in the playoffs, but I think they could win 40 games. They could be the most improved team in the NBA.”
Enjoy a game or catch up with Kevin at Grevey’s Restaurant & Sports Bar: 8130 Arlington Blvd. Falls Church, VA; 703-560-8530; www.greveys.com