Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Pop’s Sunset Grill honors restaurant’s roots — and its shrimp Rangoon

Great team. Great food. Sensational views and location. The secret of Pop’s success is no secret at all.

Pop’s Sunset Grill is on the Intercoastal Waterway across from Casey Key.
Pop’s Sunset Grill is on the Intercoastal Waterway across from Casey Key.
Photo by Harry Sayer
  • Arts + Entertainment
  • Eat + Drink
  • Share

Joe Farrell is a successful entrepreneur with a superhuman gift for multitasking. The Casey Key resident’s long list of national and global projects includes a winery in Napa Valley, a resort in the Bahamas, film production, and serving on a board at Harvard University that’s devoted to curing Alzheimer’s disease. 

Out of all his ventures, Pop’s Sunset Grill, on the Intercoastal Waterway across from Casey Key, holds a special place in Farrell’s heart. It was originally called Urbanek’s Fish House and Pop’s Tropigrill Restaurant and Farrell, as part of a consortium, bought both places in 2001. Under his ambitious leadership, Pop’s has expanded to encompass three bars, indoor and outdoor dining, two kitchens, a gift shop (Pop’s Bou-Tiki), stages for live entertainment and even a place to park your yacht.

Farrell, who lives just down the road from the restaurant, recently shared some insights into his love for all things Pop’s.

Joe Farrell with general manager, Stephanie Brown, and Kristen Farrell.
Photo by Harry Sayer

We’ve honored the former Pop’s Tropigrill and Urbanek’s Fish Market legacy by …

Keeping the things people loved from that history. Our menu has the calling-card items from both restaurants — like the seafood steamer pot from Urbanek’s. We kept the family-friendly ambiance, affordable pricing and hours. 

Our first major changes included …

While keeping the family orientation, we upgraded the atmosphere — no more paper plates and plastic forks. And it seemed crazy to offer waterfront dining and not specialize in fresh fish. We now have fish delivered six days a week. That meant a major change in our infrastructure. 

The impact of adding breakfast in 2022 ...

That was definitely a big change. We had to create another kitchen to do it. But it’s really been a hit with customers. You can have an omelet anywhere. Why not have it at Pop’s and watch the dolphins go by?

The secret of running Pop’s so smoothly is …

It’s no secret! And the truth is, I don’t. The general manager, Stephanie Brown, does a fantastic job of running the business and she has a great team that reports to her. I have oversight, but I don’t get into the nitty-gritty details. I’m just the guy at the bar who looks like me.

The secret of Pop’s popularity is …

Aside from amazing food and a friendly environment, we’ve got front-row seats on the narrowest part of the Intracoastal Waterway. The waters are alive with wildlife. We have manatee and dolphin sightings every day. 

We hire employees who …

Fit into the Pop’s family.

Pop’s shrimp Rangoon is served with a twist of sweet chili sauce and pineapple teriyaki glaze.
Photo by Harry Sayer
Don’t leave Pop’s without trying …

Our shrimp Rangoon. It’s the classic shrimp Rangoon with a twist of sweet chili sauce and pineapple teriyaki glaze. It wins appetizer of the year often and I think it’s well deserving. Our grouper Ruben is another signature dish. We invented it; others have copied it. 

The favorite Pop’s cocktail is …
Pop’s Punch, packed with pineapple juice and rum, is a powerful people pleaser.
Photo by Harry Sayer

Pop’s Punch. It’s rum-based and it really packs a punch. 

When my wife and I travel, the kind of restaurants we seek are …

Italian. We’re in Italy right now, and we haven’t been to a non-Italian restaurant yet. My wife’s favorite food is Mexican. By the end of the vacation, she may change that to Italian!

Who is (or was) “Pops,” by the way?

Legend has it that “pop” is the sound a snook makes when it breaks the surface of the water.



Marty Fugate

Marty Fugate is a writer, cartoonist and voiceover actor whose passions include art, architecture, performance, film, literature, politics and technology. As a freelance writer, he contributes to a variety of area publications, including the Observer, Sarasota Magazine and The Herald Tribune. His fiction includes sketch comedy, short stories and screenplays. “Cosmic Debris,” his latest anthology of short stories, is available on Amazon.

Latest News