By Noelle H. Lowery
After a one-year sabbatical, Konrad Mayerhofer has reopened his restaurant in a new location with a new name and revamped menu. Konrad’s Tropical Grille & Bar is open for dinner at 657 S. Collier Blvd. (just south of Winterberry and across from Marriott’s Chrystal Shores Resort) seven days a week starting at 5 PM. Happy hour is daily from 5-6 PM.
After working non-stop since 1981 to become one of Marco Island’s most-beloved chefs and restauranteurs, Mayerhofer was due some vacation time. “Our lease was up at the former location, and I needed a break,” he explains.
Mayerhofer’s kitchen time began long before he opened his first restaurant on Marco Island though. Born in Bavaria, Germany, Mayerhofer became an appren-tice chef at the tender age of 16. Five years later, he moved on to work in Swit-zerland and England.
“I’ve always worked in restaurants and hotels,” notes Mayerhofer.
He then spent seven years cooking and running kitchens on around-the-world cruise ships, stopping in San Francisco in 1974. From there, he worked his way to becoming the executive chef for New York City’s Essex House Hotel, then owned by Marriott International Inc.
Mayerhofer came to Marco Island in February 1981 at the behest of Marriott brass, who asked him if he wanted to take the executive chef position at the Marco Island Beach Resort. “I fell in love with the island right away,” he says.
In 1984, he opened the Bavarian Inn, and Konrad’s Seafood and Grill Room at Marco Walk in January 1992. Both restaurants were famous for traditional Bavar-ian cuisine, as well as seafood, steaks and prime rib. Regulars were enamored with the vast array of offerings on the salad bar.
The new Konrad’s Tropical Grille & Bar is casual family dining in a totally remod-eled lush, tropical setting. Sorry folks, no salad bar in the new location, but the menu features expanded sandwich and salad offerings, including Maine’s Best Lobster Salad and the Red and Blue Salad with lettuce, tomatoes and blue cheese. Many of the dishes that made Konrad’s a household name on Marco Is-land remain — Crispy Duck on Tuesdays, Old Bavarian Sauerbraten on Thurs-days and Bavarian Goulash on Saturdays.
There also is the Prime Rib, Wiener Schnitzel with Spatzle and Pork Grandmother Maria.
Relaxed and ready for business, Mayerhofer is happy to be back in the kitchen and working with his favorite Marco Island customers. “My main goal is make sure everyone leaves happy,” he says.