“That’s Snake Creek Bridge. It is the last draw bridge in the Keys. We hear the lady that opens it talking by radio to boat captains all the time,” Robert Cvetkovski said. Robert just took over full ownership of Smugglers Cove Resort, Marina and Restaurant on the bay at Mile Marker 85.5.
“Do you know the Islamorada Sand Bar?” He asked. “Four to six hundred boats pull up on the sand every weekend to party. See where the birds are standing, that’s dry land.” Robert pointed out past the drawbridge to an obvious bar where the channel had not been dredged between the islands to permit boat traffic. The resort is on a peninsula that sticks out from land at the southwest side of the drawbridge. The marina is home for fishing boats and has a full service fuel dock and fishing station.
“We built a beach sand area and tiki bar that we rent for weddings and private functions. It is open on weekends for the party after the party,” he added. The space is perfect for boaters to tie up and enjoy a meal outside or at the restaurant beyond the resort’s rooms.
While there is inside dining and stools around the bar, Smugglers Resort Restaurant is all open air dining. Some tables are covered by a permanent structure. Tables on a long ‘L’ are uncovered outside. A large bar offers libations to thirsty mariners. Live music is performed evenings, a mix of country, folk and ballads. The atmosphere is relaxed and informal. Boaters in swim trunks, T-shirts and flip-flops will feel welcome. The outside tables are round epoxied wood with high chairs. Some of the tables are set on large whiskey barrels. Condiments are in the center and utensils are wrapped in paper napkins.
The drink list offers seven specialty cocktails like Alligator Juice made with Vodka, Tequila, rum, sloe gin, orange juice, cranberry juice, sour mix and Sprite. There is also a Smugg’s Buoy Smash made with Bacardi, Myers, Amaretto, grenadine, orange Curacao, orange juice, pineapple juice and sour mix. Cupcake wines are available by the glass including Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and even sparkling Prosecco along with ice cold beer on tap and an assortment of bottled beers.
Appetizers include fried lobster bites served with a house Louie Limey dip, $16. Conch ‘n shrimp fritters come as deep fried battered balls that are delicious to the taste, $12. Other appetizers include wings and chips and salsa.
Soups and salads can have steak, chicken, shrimp, snapper or Mahi Mahi added for about $8 additional. Smuggler’s Cove mango passion salad is served with fresh mango, strawberries, mixed greens, candied pecans and a mixed berry vinaigrette, $11. There is also the Lobster Louie Limey salad for $18 that offers creamy lobster over romaine lettuce with bacon, tomato and Bermuda onions.
For lunch or lighter fare the restaurant offers a selection of sandwiches including fresh Mahi Mahi, snapper, Tequila lime fish tacos, burgers and lobster. Sandwiches run about $15.
Entrees at Smugglers Cove offer fresh caught fish. Grilled Mahi Mahi or dorado is their specialty. The chef prepares it with crab mango buerre blanc served over coconut rice and sautéed vegetables, $25. Honey Jalapeño Yellowtail Snapper is dusted with island spice and grilled, topped with a mango chimichurri sauce, $27.
Meat lovers will enjoy the churrasco steak with yucca fries and mango pineapple salsa, $25. The sirloin is cut and cooked savory, served tender and delicious.
“All sauces are made in house,” server Will Torn explained. “Our Louie is orange and Limey is white.” The secret recipe sauces add tang and flavor to the dishes.
As the sun sets over the bay behind the resort, torch lamps are lit outside on the spacious veranda. Music wafts from the guitarist singing a tune popularized in the islands. Water splashes quietly against the dock. There is a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere.
“We offer boat and jet ski rentals. The resort has twelve rooms, ten have double queen-size beds, there is a suite with a parlor area,” Robert explained taking time to insure diners were enjoying their meals.
While desserts include key lime pie, don’t pass up their chocolate cake with whipped cream and ice cream. Settle down to the music and enjoy coffee on the water, a perfect end to a day in the keys.
For more information visit www.smugglerscoveislamorada.com or call 305-664-5564. Smugglers Cove Marina can be reached at 305-664-3636. The address is 85500 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL at Mile Marker 85.5 oceanside.