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Lee Roy Selmon's in Brandon gives a nod to local luminaries

BRANDON

Lee Roy Selmon's restaurant has made a name for itself in the Tampa Bay area by combining casual and Southern food with sports.

And when the new location opens Sunday in Brandon, there will be a new flavor — local.

Brandon icons Russ Cozart and Maritza Correia McClendon will join national sports heavyweights like Tony Dungy and Derrick Brooks on a signature mural inside the new location at 11310 Causeway Blvd.

"We are thrilled to open our newest restaurant in Brandon and look forward to becoming a part of this wonderful community," Sam Tancredi, the president of Lee Roy Selmon's, said. "We know that Brandon is family driven, and our restaurants believe in that mantra as well. We have wanted to expand to Brandon for some time and believe it is a perfect match for us and this area."

The mural will also include former Lightning captain and Stanley Cup winner Dave Andreychuk, former Rays first baseman and Tampa native Fred McGriff, and, of course, Selmon himself.

"We have Lee Roy's image all over the place," Tancredi said. "This is a chance to include local heroes in an area where we are moving into."

In other Selmon's locations, generic paintings line the walls. But Tancredi said that as the company grows, it would look to expand on the idea of incorporating local luminaries among the restaurant's sports-themed decor.

"In the other stores, for example, we have a painting of a basketball player who's not a real person," Tancredi said. "Our goal with moving in this direction is to find people who were not only great athletes but good in the community as well."

Cozart, the Brandon High wrestling coach who led the Eagles to an unprecedented 34-year dual match winning streak, said he was "humbled" to take part in the mural.

"I was floored when they asked me to be a part of this," Cozart said. "They called me out of the blue and I was flabbergasted."

McClendon, who trained for years at the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, was the first African-American woman to earn a place on the U.S. Olympic team and first to medal, bringing home silver from the 2004 Games in Athens.

"Maritza was diagnosed with scoliosis at an early age, and the doctors told her to swim as a form of therapy," Tancredi said. "And you can see how that worked out. She is an inspiration."

Many of the legends portrayed in the mural will be honored at a fundraiser Saturday night. Proceeds will go to A Kid's Place, a residential facility in Brandon that provides a safe, stable and loving environment for abused, abandoned and neglected children from around the county.

The new Selmon's will accommodate more than 200 guests and includes patio, lounge and bar areas in addition to the main restaurant seating. It should attract a contingent of sports fans with more than 30 TVs and timed its opening to coincide with the first slate of NFL Sunday games.

The specialties include ribs, pulled pork, burgers and sandwiches, as well as Southern fare like fried green tomatoes, meatloaf, fried chicken and gumbo.

Lee Roy Selmon's in Brandon gives a nod to local luminaries 09/07/12 [Last modified: Friday, September 7, 2012 6:03pm]
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