Certainly, this time of year, both Andy Kontos and his brother Gus are thankful they decided to relocate to Florida from Chicago.
While the Midwest was experiencing the effects of a Polar Vortex, Andy sat at his and his brother’s restaurant/bar, the All-Star Sports Grill, and talked about what led him to make the move to the Sunshine State on a permanent basis.
“Up in Chicago, we had both been working in the bar and restaurant business, but I moved down here in 1977, because I had some uncles who were getting into a Burger Queen franchise,” he said. “In 1979, I found another place to buy in Punta Gorda, called the Rose City Cafeteria.”
By 1980, Gus had joined his family down in Florida, which by now included both of his and Andy’s parents. The family bought another restaurant, next to a dinner theater, but in 1996, a building on the Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte became available, and the space looked too attractive to pass up.
“This building used to be the Black Forest Buffet,” Andy said. “At first, we opened it as a restaurant with a Greek theme, and we began putting in entertainment in the bar next door. In 2000, we changed it to Boomer’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, and we served diner food. Next door, we were doing karaoke and small bands next door.”
The year 2004 brought another big change, but this one was not voluntary. Hurricane Charley blew the roof off the brothers’ restaurant/bar when it barreled through Charlotte County. It was more than a year before they could use their kitchen again, so to compensate, they built a tiki bar out front, so they could keep doing at least some business.
By 2016, Andy and Gus decided on what would be their establishment’s theme for years to come.
“I’m the kind of person who is not afraid of change, if I see what I think is a better path,” Andy said. “So about three years ago, we went with a full sports theme, for both the restaurant and the bar.”
Both sides, which have separate entrances, have walls covered with sports memorabilia and television screens, which show a variety of sports. Despite the owners being Chicago Bears fans, the local Buffalo Bills fan club has been meeting at the All-Star Sports Grill, and the previous names it held, for the past 19 years to watch games.
Though the bar side is primarily frequented by adults, the restaurant side is bright and family-friendly, with an all-American menu to match. There are a variety of freshly made sandwiches, like Chicago’s famous Italian beef, Philly cheesesteaks and gyros, but there is also lighter fare, like Greek salads and veggie wraps.
Andy says that every day, there is something special going on at the All-Star Sports Grill.
“In the restaurant, we have trivia on Tuesdays and Ladies’ Night on Wednesdays, when you can get two-dollar well drinks, draft beer and house wine,” he said. “And we have a daily special with 20 wings and a pitcher of beer for $25.”
Other food and drink specials are regularly posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Recently, the restaurant added a breakfast menu, from which customers can order until 2 p.m. It’s full of Benedicts, omelets, Belgian waffles, pancakes and more.
Either Andy, Gus or both of the brothers are at the restaurant/bar at any given time, every day of the week. Andy said that if locals haven’t visited the All-Star Sports Grill in the past, it’s never to late to discover this neighborhood treasure.
“Come get to know us,” he said.
All-Star Sports Grill is located at 2360 Tamiami Trail, in Port Charlotte. The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and serves breakfast from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The bar is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and the tiki bar out front is open from 11 a.m. to between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m., depending on crowds and scheduled entertainment. For more information visit the website at www.allstarsportsgrill.com, the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/allstarsportsgrillpcflor, or call 941-743-4140.