Originally, from Suffolk County on Long Island, New York, Tim and Betty Langdon had never even heard of the Florida Keys when someone suggested they take a long overdue vacation.
“Well, what’s a Florida Key?” he remembered, laughing.
The couple, with more than 26 years in the deli and catering business, began vacationing in the Middle Keys some eight years ago. They mingled with the locals and enjoyed the warm weather.
Soon, they began formulating plans to continue their work in climes farther south.
They purchased a home on Grassy Key just behind The Wreck, but timing wasn’t quite right to purchase the landmark sports bar. They opted instead to make an offer for The Wooden Spoon, another landmark eatery feeding hungry fishermen and eager tourists since 1952.
“We’re very hands on,” Tim stated. The pair can often be seen pouring coffee and greeting customers at The Wooden Spoon. “It’s very unique for a husband and wife team to own two local establishments in the Keys that aren’t chains or franchise restaurants. We’re really looking forward to continuing the traditions of these established restaurants.”
Shortly after assuming ownership of The Wooden Spoon, Betty applied her gourmet expertise and years of catering experience to expand the breakfast and lunch offerings to include a catering menu titled, The Silver Spoon.
She’ll soon begin adding her touches to the menu at The Wreck, but the pair emphasize they will maintain the overall theme of a sports bar.
“I’m going to start making my cheesecake,” she explained, to which her husband agreed. “It’s deliciously decadent!”
Tim emphasized that the plans for the restaurant only include expanding on the menu and products that were already in place. For instance, they began making their own, fresh hamburger patties in lieu of serving frozen burgers. Happy Hour, served Monday through Friday from 4 – 6 pm includes discounted appetizers and chicken wings about which Tim is particularly excited.
“They’re also offered as a regular menu item, but we haven’t varying levels of spice on our ‘Boo-Boo’ sauce,” he explained. “It is tantalizing, delicious and very tasty!”
Betty added that she has a few vegetarian dishes in the works – “something besides a chef salad!” – with plans to offer non-meat eaters.
The Wreck has long been reputed for their “Big Ass Prime Rib” and “All-You-Can-Eat Frog Legs” special evening offerings, and Tim said the regular menu of special items would remain in place.
Plans are in the works for obtaining certification and meeting proper requirements to offer a full bar.
“We’ll be the only place between Layton and The Island that would be able to put an umbrella in your drink!” he said proudly.
That will require expanding the restaurant’s current seating capacity, but Tim said they will focus on keeping the tropical theme of the restaurant.
“I’d like to expand our deck and even build around the palms and native trees; the things that make this place feel Keysy.”
Hailed by many in online reviews as a great place to stop on the way to Key West, the quaint resorts, motels and campgrounds throughout Grassy and the Middle Keys work to accommodate families and dog lovers. With their planned expansion, the Langdons said they are also planning to offer dog-friendly seating for their loyal patrons.
The next time you head to The Wreck for your favorite burger or fish sandwich, you’ll still see the same friendly staff and bartenders that have long been serving the customers. Tim added that they will be looking to expand their staff to accommodate the additional diners, moving people to a table in an expeditious manner and minimizing wait times for dinner.
The couple welcomed the island sounds of Dave Sullivan for his regular Wednesday night gig this week, and the 15 televisions, surrounded by plenty of sports memorabilia will still be available for your favorite football, basketball and baseball games.
The Wreck Galley & Grill at 58835 Overseas Highway on Grassy Key, MM 59, is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 am to 9:30 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm.
The Wreck Galley & Grill will continue to maintain its tradition as a landmark sports bar on Grassy Key.
Tim and Betty Langdon, current owners of The Wooden Spoon, also recently purchased The Wreck on Grassy Key.
In the future, the Langdons will look to expand the breezy porch to accommodate additional diners in the restaurant. They will, however, focus on preserving the tropical, “Keysy” theme that has been a standing tradition at The Wreck.