The restaurant space at Marathon Marina has had yet another facelift, and Chef Lupe and Michelle Ledesma are working to establish roots in the Middle Keys.

A long time link in Islamorada’s chain of top quality dining spots, Lazy Days’ owners and staff are now serving up their delectable fare to local diners and tourists in Marathon.

Lazy Days South is one of many inhabitants of the prime location at the entrance to Boot Key Harbor. Nestled in the heart of the Marathon Marina at the end of 11th Street, Lazy Days South offers diners yet another fabulous opportunity to catch the Fabulous Florida Keys sunsets.

Both the interior and exterior are sporting fresh coats of tropical tones. Large tiki torches invoke an authentic island feel, and some beach sand, a smattering of crab and lobster traps and a derelict boat create the perfect backdrop for your pre-dinner photos.

After a warm welcome from the hostess on your way to the bar, you’re likely to run into Lupe and Michelle out and about on the dining room floor overseeing the staff, greeting guests and ensuring smooth operations. In fact, it was he and his staff who applied the fresh coats of paint.

“You can see we are not professional painters,” he laughed, waving his hand at the sporadic paint spots that speckle the tiled interior. But, his reputation as a chef precedes him, and the Ledesmas prove that giving your heart, soul and time to your small business will ultimately guarantee success.

In the unseasonably warm December, the interior tables of the restaurant were empty. The back porch, which still constitutes the majority of the dining space, was filled and abuzz with business. The long, comfortable bar was filled with local patrons, many who had just returned to their winter homes for the season.

Sherry Alana, a long-time employee of the original Lazy Days, happily greeted us at our waterside table. After much debate, we selected a Sauvignon Blanc to accompany our appetizers of jumbo (and we mean huge!) shrimp cocktail, crab cake and Lazy Days clams appetizers. The crab cake loaded with crabmeat and topped with key lime butter and béarnaise sauce, as well as the shrimp, served cold with a heaping of cocktail sauce, was of monstrous proportions. The Lazy Days mussels, baked and topped with garlic, sweet red bell pepper, apple smoked bacon and plenty of mozzarella cheese, were just enough to make you yearn for more.

Though all the entrees on the menu sounded delectable, we went straight for the extensive specials menu. The Grouper Bimini, prepared with a dill cream sauce and popped under the broiler with a layer of grated Parmesan cheese, sounded too delicious to resist. We also selected the Lazy Conch entrée special. The Lazy Days preparation is one of Chef Lupe’s specialties and can be applied to nearly any protein on the menu.

The Lazy Days Conch, encrusted with breadcrumbs, sautéed and topped with fresh diced tomatoes, scallions, shredded Parmesan cheese and topped with key lime butter, was so tender we could cut it with a fork!

Paired with brown rice and steamed asparagus (we know, though the sides were healthy, they could not compensate for these rich dishes!) our dinners left us too full to conduct quality control tests on the Espresso Martini or Calypso Coffee with Kahlua and Frangelico.

If you decide you’re watching your waistline in the New Year, not to worry. Lazy Days South offers plenty of fresh salads with the option to add fried, blackened or grill fish, chicken or shrimp. You can always order your fresh catch steamed or grilled and vegetarian options include a fresh Pasta Primavera. There’s also a healthy list of options for little diners on the kids’ menu, too.

With its breathtaking sunsets, friendly owners and staff and copious menu of items with gourmet preparations at relatively affordable prices, Lazy Days South is certain to gain recognition in Marathon’s growing chain of dining hot spots.

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