For years, bars and restaurants around the country have tried to imitate the laid-back, Key West vibe found in southernmost hotspots like Sloppy Joe’s and the Hog’s Breath Saloon. But , with its colorful, mermaid logo and eclectic decor, has mastered the Margaritaville motif without being a tourist trap that’s just hopping on a trendy bandwagon.
Perhaps it’s because Molly’s, which sits in an old house in the heart of underappreciated Ozona, was Key West-cool long before strip mall bars began displaying conch shells and pumping Jimmy Buffett music through the speakers. “When the owner bought the place in 1985, there was nothing else here,” general manager Lynn Sans says of the still sleepy downtown area. “The house is a 170-year-old Cracker-style house, so she went with a Key West theme.”
The History of Molly’s.
Despite the fact that the area was basically deserted save for the old post office next door, owner Laurel Flowers slowly built her restaurant into a destination for locals and visitors alike, thanks to positive word of mouth and a very noticeable sign. “We used to have a big sign with our logo on it out on U.S. 19,” Sans remembers. “It brought a lot of people over here to check us out, just out of curiosity.”
While the patrons originally may have been drawn in by a desire to see what the place was all about, what has kept them coming back is the fresh food Molly’s is known for, Sans says. “We became famous for our grouper sandwich because we serve black grouper, not red like most restaurants do,” Sans says. “We spend a little more money for it, but you can taste the difference.”
More Than Just Seafood
Sans is quick to point out that Molly’s is more than a seafood place; there are 126 items on the menu, with new specials being added regularly. In addition to the seafood, Molly’s offers pasta, burgers, sandwiches, steak, ribs and chicken. Everything is prepared fresh daily, including the breading used on their original onion rings and fish and chips.