599 South Collier Boulevard, Marco
With a touch of Europe, a feel for the tropics, and a cuisine to rival any café, Konrad’s in the Marco Walk offers a bar menu that simply can’t be missed.
When Chef Konrad Mayerhofer designs a menu, interviews a potential bartender, or creates a salad bar that is the talk of the town, the results are extraordinary.
After executive Chef Konrad politely told the Marriott no, that he was not accepting a promotion and moving away from Marco Island, he opened the Bavarian Inn in 1984. He then opened Konrad’s Seafood and Grill Room in 1992.
One of the first persons interviewed by Chef Konrad after he left Marriott’s Marco Beach Resort was Jamie Sullivan. Jamie was a bartender at Marriott’s Quinn’s on the beach, and causally knew the former Marriott Chef. The Bavarian Inn was a new restaurant with a chief bartender position open, and Jamie was entertaining the idea of moving to a new venue and working behind a bar of his own.
As Jamie tells the tale, Konrad invited Jamie into the almost opened Bavarian Inn and closed the door. When the two men were seated on opposite sides of a table in the empty restaurant, the ultimate bartender interview began.
“So,” Konrad asked, “Do you think you can work at my restaurant and also at Quinn’s? You think you can also work somewhere else?”
“Well,” Jamie answered, “I don’t see why ... ”
“I will tell you now,” Konrad interrupted, “You can not!”
“I really need to think about ... ” Jamie tried to intervene.
“No,” Konrad shook his head. “This would not be possible. The quality of work, required at this restaurant, will not tolerate a second job. This is a simple decision — are you capable of making simple decisions?”
“Sure,” Jamie responded, “I can make — decisions.”
“Good,” Konrad nodded, “So you work here and no where else.”
“But what about ... ”
“Don’t worry, everything will be fine.” Konrad continued. “You will work hard, and you will make money. This restaurant will be busy because the food and beverage quality will be the best, and the service outstanding. This is the recipe for success!”
After accepting the new bartender position Jamie worked alongside Konrad for many years. Jamie always smiles when he thinks of the toughest interview he ever had, and the good and lifelong friend that he found in Chef Konrad Mayerhofer.
With a February chill in the air, the culinary adventuress and I settled in to Konrad’s cozy barside terrace made comfortable by rolled down isinglass. In Konrad’s native German, there’s a perfect word to describe the overall ambience of Konrad’s dining rooms, lounge, and barside terrace: Gemutlichkeit literally translates into “coziness.”
When server Jorge Romero appeared, he announced that he was from a province of west, west, west, Germany also known as Mexico City. He also related that he had worked alongside Chef Konrad since 1995. “Our Chef Konrad is the best,” he explained.
After wondering what Jorge’s initial interview had been like, and smiling, we settled in to enjoy one of the best-kept secrets on Marco Island. Konrad’s appetizer and bar menu is all about quality and value and the fine art of making everyone feel cozy and welcome.
At Konrad’s, all bar menu entrées are served with freshly baked rolls and a variety of whipped butters. Konrad’s pretzel bread is a specialty that is famous. The curry butter with chives is extraordinary and the salad bar at Konrad’s is the most extravagant on Marco. For only $12.99, Konrad’s salad bar is exceptional.
After Vicki Lynn returned from the salad bar, I settled into an appetizer of Scallops Verde, which is a delicious combination of fresh baked sea scallops served on a bed of marina sauce and topped with a wonderful garlic pesto sauce. For scallop aficionados this one is a must!
On the Konrad’s bar menu for the incredible price of only $10.99, a hand carved prime rib sandwich — with or without the bun — is an incredible value that can’t be missed. All of Konrad’s beef is aged in-house and the quality of this Kansas City prime rib of beef sandwich is truly outstanding.
Other choices on the bar and appetizer menu include: Artichokes Alexis that is baked hearts of artichokes filled with spinach and feta cheese, infused with chardonnay, and finished with Romano cheese. An escargot appetizer is served on a bed of linguini with garlic, shallots, and pesto and a country onion soup fashioned after the classic French style is served in a crock with melted cheese.
Konrad’s Seafood and Grill Room is open from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. nightly. The full bar and extensive wine list would make any barman proud, and a children’s menu is available and offers tasty tidbits with a hint toward the healthful.
Reservations are available by calling (239) 642-3332. Visit their Web site at wwwkonradsrestaurant.com. Private parties are a specialty, and group and club business welcome.
For an evening of quality, value, and coziness, where the Chef is omni-present and always ready to please, Konrad’s Seafood and Grill Room, lounge, and bar-side terrace is the place to be.
Tom Williams writing has been published in Amsco School Publications; he is a local sailboat Captain and Marriott associate for 28 years. His debut action adventure novel is now under contract and will be published by ArcheBooks in the upcoming year. Tom is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.