They’re back. The prime rib Friday night special is back. So are the massive buffalo (turkey) wings, the loaded nachos and those delicious Caesar salads. Even some of the staff has returned to join former owners Stephanie Cheever and Steve Hathaway at the SS Wreck and Galley Grill on Grassy Key. The couple operated the neighborhood favorite for six years, until 2005, when they leased it to a succession of operators.
“Here we are again. I guess it was meant to be,” said Cheever, shrugging her shoulders, a smile playing on her face.
Rarely does life hand you a chance to revisit the past, but in this case Middle Keys diners are delighted to find all their old favorites in place, in addition to new menu options (gator bites!) and a refreshed interior.
“We’re ecstatic that they’re back in the neighborhood,” said Sally, on a recent Friday. She and her husband Chuck were there for the Friday night special — prime rib. Others are more excited to dive into a plateful of frog legs, another Wreck specialty.
Hathaway and Cheever have spent the interim years in Michigan, honing their craft at a seasonal restaurant in Michigan. Named “CoCoNuts Grille and Bar, its clear the pair has never been able to shake the sand out of their shoes. Reopening the Grassy Key restaurant seems like a “family reunion” Cheever said.
“The best part of operating a restaurant is getting to meet so many people. But we were delighted to find so many people we know are still here. And they seem so happy,” she said.
At the Wreck, the steaks are hand-cut, the shrimp are breaded and de-veined by hand, and the Key Lime pie is really spectacular. Locals are pleased to discover the portion sizes are hearty and the prices are reasonable.
SS Wreck and Galley Grill
MM 58, Grassy Key
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. until 9:30ish