Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Conch Republic Rocketts, a new Key West-themed cafe, breaks ground Monday.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Quite a number of local owners and chefs have talked about starting a new restaurant at Rocketts Landing. Most of those projects fizzled, but now one's apparently got staying power. Bob Cox, owner of Metro Grill and Curbside CafAc, is getting a sweetheart deal to open Conch Republic Rocketts at the urban community next year. He'll operate the business in their brand new building.

A ground-breaking for the hillside project just east of The Boathouse restaurant is set for Monday. The building, designed by H&A Architects and Engineers, is a 6,000 square foot hillside contemporary with industrial elements. Its notable feature is a 2,000 square foot deck looking over the James River and the boat slips at Rocketts, beckoning business from the water and the city. It will serve lunch, dinner and brunch with entrees averaging $16, Cox says.

The restaurant will seat about 220 people in a “fun, laid-back, very unpretentious, very casual Old Key West style cafAc and bar,” Cox says. The 49-year old attorney-turned-restaurateur spends at least one vacation a year in the Keys, and has been in talks with the Rocketts owners for more than a year about this concept.  

Conch Republic is named after an uprising of Key West residents who seceded from the U.S. to protest heavy-handed border patrols in 1982. Now they celebrate independence day every April 23. Cox expects to celebrate those renegades here as well, once construction is finished next spring.

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