A blonde bombshell has arrived on Grinnell Street, stealing the spotlight and above all, entertaining its guests with upscale food at local prices and innovative happy hour specials.
Everything sparkles inside the new Marylin’s Restaurant & Pub, 320 Grinnell St., where old Hollywood glamour is emphasized in the artwork, the crystal-covered mirrors and the giant rhinestones that serve as purse hooks under the sparkly bar.
But the food shines brightest, thanks to the creativity and expertise of Chef Brendan Orr, who wanted to bring his fine dining experience to the more casual, locally priced menu at Marylin’s.
“If we’re doing chicken wings, then we’re doing the best damn chicken wings in town and we’re doing them a little differently,” Orr said while reviewing some of the new restaurant’s most popular items. “Ours come either naked or crispy, and with our own house-made barbecue sauce.”
Orr’s conch chowder is one of the only creamy versions of the island staple on local menus, he said, and it’s rich, savory and filled with tender conch, potatoes, vegetables and flavor.
The mojo pork spring rolls have proven one of the most popular dishes so far, and for good reason. The marinated pork is shredded to order and stuffed inside crispy spring rolls that overflow with a refreshing citrus and garlic taste.
“The pork sliders are also a big hit, and our version of chicken and waffles already have found a devoted following,” Orr said, adding that his dish includes layers of chicken made crispy with crushed corn flakes and waffle biscuits with a maple chili glaze. And Marylin’s reuben is an instant classic.
While appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and salads make up most of Marylin’s menu, there are also plenty of upscale entrees, including grouper, snapper and a sizzling strip steak.
“We know this location has been several restaurants since it was Finnegan’s Wake, but Finnegan’s was really a favorite local spot, whether you came in for lunch, dinner or late-night food and drinks,” said owner Rob Patterson, who also owns Key West Fish & Chips on Angela Street with his parents, Jane and Bob Patterson. “We want to bring back that local loyalty to a place like Finnegan’s Wake, where there’s always people you know, a friendly staff and great food and drinks. And like the bombshell that inspired our name and attitude, we want this place to entertain.
“I built this whole concept around a neon Marilyn Monroe sign that was hanging one day in a store window across the street from Key West Fish & Chips,” Patterson said. “I want to offer the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, but with a welcoming, fun and people-friendly atmosphere.”
(No need to point out that the restaurant’s name is spelled differently than the movie star’s. Patterson knows that, but he wanted to avoid any potential copyright issues.)
Marylin’s just opened on March 7, and is still perfecting its new sound system and stage lighting, but already people have been back more than once.
“I’ve got an amazing staff here, most of whom are former employees of mine from Pinchers in Fort Myers,” he said. “And my best friend, Miguel, sold everything he owns to come down here and work with me. It’s amazing.”
Patterson has plans for live entertainment Friday nights with local performers as well as others from his native Chicago, as well as Nashville, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Houston.
The weekend continues with Saturday’s a Drag featuring live performances by drag cabaret singers Miss Bouvee and Jameson Rabbitt.
Happy hour is offered seven days a week from 1 to 7 p.m. with various drink specials.
“And you’ll get a chip for every drink you order,” Patterson said. “Then Tuesdays is bring-your-chips-in night. You can bring your chips from here or any other place and we’ll give you face value for whatever the chip offers.”
Online ordering is available for pickup orders, while delivery will start in two to three weeks, Patterson said. Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. and a late-night menu is available from 10 p.m. to midnight.
Check out Marylin’s Restaurant & Pub on Facebook for daily specials, happy hour offers and entertainment schedules.