527 Bald Eagle Dr, Marco
Everything goes in cycles and bold new trends and unbridled ideas always set the style for the future. For many when there is a slump in economics or a down turn in the economy, the reaction is the same. Reduce the staff — everyone on four day weeks! Cancel all new renovations! Close early! Open later! Don’t advertise and try to the weather the storm.
Almost 24r years ago, Ellen and Bruce Kretschmer opened Kretch’s Restaurant and an island favorite was born. Bruce Kretschmer Jr. was born about one year later, and over the years Kretch’s has weathered many storms; not just tropical storms and the occasional hurricane, but also the fluctuating trends in economics that have made the Kretschmers seasoned restaurateurs. Kretches has learned that when challenges arrive it’s time to think ahead of the curve and look over the horizon. Many business plans have proven that when expansions and renovations are achieved during recessions the market share dividend and return on investment is better than expected, but the opposite strategy of cutting staff, closing early, and canceling renovations can be detrimental or even worse.
Recently at lunchtime, I had a small window of opportunity for a quick bite to eat. Thirty minutes was all the time my schedule would allow when I stepped into a local Marco restaurant. Almost every table was full, but the bar was empty. The sign at the abandoned hosting station said, “please wait to be seated” but the clock was ticking and I needed to get lunch underway. Before I could understand what was going on, I pulled out a stool and sat down at the bar.
Several minutes later alone, without a bartender, I began to watch the customers. Everyone was looking around — especially toward the kitchen — when a server appeared under the weight of two large trays. The server was obviously in a rush, the lunches that were on the trays were quickly distributed, and the server was headed back to the kitchen with every patron that did not receive their meal looking disgusted.
After a few more minutes, I watched another harried server in a fluster near the bar.
“Excuse me,” I said, “Can someone wait on me at the bar. All the tables are full. I am by myself and just want a quick lunch.”
“Oh no! No one can wait on you at the bar. We have no bartender because of the economy, only two servers, one person in the kitchen, and no seating host.
“But the place is packed,” was the only response.
“So, there is no way I can have a meal and be out of here in 30 minutes?
“Oh no! The chef is completely behind. It will be at least an hour!
After the stressed-out server vanished into the imagined refuge of the kitchen, I noticed all the customers that had not been served were looking to each other, shaking their heads and ready to rise from their tables.
The restaurant mentioned above has not been in business for even a fraction of Kretch’s 23 years and clearly could not imagine Kretch’s newest endeavor.
“Bruce Jr. has always liked the restaurant business even as a kid.” Ellen Kretcshmer explained. When we saw the opportunity to expand and open a new bar we thought this would be the perfect timing. We started our homework several months earlier, applied for a liquor license and on June 11, the license arrived and Bruce Jr. opened his bar.
“He did everything,” Ellen continued. “Bruce made the bar, tiled the floor, made all the fixtures and all the details.”
On the first Friday of Bruce’s new full liquor bar, the culinary adventuress and I arrived to find Kretch’s newest endeavor open with a flourish. With a blue marlin trophy fish bursting through the wall, a cozy bar with a distinctive island feel, and the unmistakable aroma of Kretch’s kitchen tempting happy hour patrons, we settled in to sample one of the best little taverns on Marco.
Kretch’s new happy hour at Bruce’s bar begins every afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, then kicks off again from 9 p.m. until midnight. For the Friday afternoon happy hour, free appetizers are waiting as Bruce Jr. features tempting treats such as hot, mild or teriyaki chicken wings, spring rolls with a spicy dipping sauce and mini pizza slices. Every Friday the appetizers can change, but patrons will not be disappointed!
Drink specials for Kretch’s happy hour include, $1 draft beer, $2 bottled beer, $3 wine, and $3.50 for all well liquor drinks. A new light bar menu features fried oysters, peel and eat shrimp, chicken wings and Bruce’s favorite steak sandwich with fries and cole slaw. The New England clam chowder is made fresh daily. A true testament to Chef Kretschmer sweet side is the black bottom rum pie. All the bar menu entrées are under $10!
Vicki Lynn enjoyed the complimentary spring rolls and pronounced the teriyaki chicken wings excellent and the spring rolls delicious. I chose Bruce’s favorite steak sandwich and found the lean New York-style steak tucked into a soft bun with steak fries, cole slaw and a very tasty au jus dipping sauce just perfect!
Kretch’s is located at 527 Bald Eagle Drive and open for lunch 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. A website is waiting for a visit at kretchs.com and gift certificates can be purchased through PayPal online, anytime, anywhere.
Passionately providing consistent service and quality cuisine since 1986, Kretch’s has been a Marco Island mainstay and local landmark for over 23 years. The restaurant has a cozy and intimate atmosphere with a nautical flair, a touch of Bavarian style and cookery, and a recipe for loyal patronage that is beyond impressive. Reservations and specialty information are available by calling 394-3433
With so many finding ways to cut corners, reduce staff, and allow quality and customer service to suffer, it certainly is refreshing to find Kretschmer’s new bar and endeavor open, busy and enthusiastic!
Tom Williams debut adventure/thriller novel “Lost and Found” has been released by Archebooks and is now available on Amazon. A Web site with reviews and storyline is available at www.lostandfoundadventure.com