Tucked away on Geiger Key on the old U.S.1 highway is a hidden gem. The sequestered Geiger Key Marina has a dock, RV park and restaurant with a backcountry, Bahamian feel and delectable, original recipes. In the 1970s, it’s where owner Bobby Mongelli kep this boat.

“I watched the property deteriorate. At its lowest point, it only sold old beer. I bought it when it finally went into foreclosure,” said Mongelli. “Even then it had a kind of magic to it.”

He owns the establishment along with Paul Tripp (who gave Mongelli his first job dishwashing). Together they completely restored the marina and restaurant, keeping the same magic that called to them in the first place. It’s charm is made up of equal parts rustic restaurant, great food, music, a great look at Lower Keys wildlife on the waterfront, and it’s hard-to-find spot that feels like it’s a million miles from the hustle and bustle of Key West.

“Surprisingly I know people from the Keys that have never been out here before,” Mongelli said.

Its proximity to the Boca Chica Beach makes it an ideal weekend retreat after or before a day in the sun. There is always a breeze blowing in off the ocean. The boat-less can rent a paddleboard or hire a fishing charter

But come for the original grub. Chef Jason created the dragon shrimp tacos with a tasty crunch, covered in a zesty, mouthwatering sauce served with yellow rice and beans. It is Mongelli’s favorite dish, but a tough choice with the faced with the options of fresh caught hogfish sliders or seared sesame tuna.

Sunday BBQ, from 3 to 9 p.m., is a 20-year tradition at Geiger Key. Enjoy a choice of “Slap Your Mama Good” smoked ribs and zesty BBQ chicken or shrimp skewers and fresh mahi grilled to perfection. All BBQ platters come with heaping portions of island rice, savory baked beans, cole slaw “tropicale” and snappy jalapeño cornbread for $16.95.

Locals also love the Fish Camp breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings. It includes eggs benedict, French toast, biscuits and gravy. Or try the Fisherman’s Scramble —scrambled eggs with ham, peppers, onions, toast and hash browns

Geiger Key also serves beer and wine and, most recently, liquor and cocktails including favorites like Key Lime Martinis. The restaurant has expanded to include a new bar area next to the serene water’s edge. Meals are reasonably priced and there is a happy hour daily from 4-6:30 p.m.

Geiger Key Marina is located at 5 Geiger Rd. and open seven days a week. Turn at the road next to the Circle K on Big Coppitt and take a left on Geiger road.

Geiger Key Marina

5 Geiger Road, off Big Coppitt Key

Lunch and dinner served daily; breakfast on the weekend.

This article was originally published in the Key West Weekly and written by Alex Press. http://keysweekly.com/42/hidden-restaurant-with-noticeable-flavor/