- March 15, 2013
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Fit into the Pop’s family.
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.
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!
Legend has it that “pop” is the sound a snook makes when it breaks the surface of the water.