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Nokomis: Pop's Sunset Grille

112 Circuit Drive , Phone: (941) 488-3177

Reviewed by: Jeff H from NH, review #3706

When: 2011

Very casual dining in a seafood restaurant that is indoor/outdoor and weather beaten by the sea.

Directions: State Rte. 41 through Nokomis, turn West on Albee Road W, turn left on Circuit Drive - Pop's is on the right just as the road curves to the left.

As we went down Circuit Drive a sign for Pop's, with an arrow pointing right, looked like it was pointing us down an alley...but through a small archway is the parking lot and further along down by the water is the restaurant.

Made up of two rather low slung buildings (one to the left and one to the right) connected by a central outdoor atrium that serves as the entrance and has seating for dinner too. This area connects the various parts of the haphazard arrangement of buildings and areas covered by awnings via boardwalks and pathways. The whole set up is made to look authentic, in that the whole place weather worn and in need of paint, but the atmosphere appears to have been an outgrowth of the days when these buildings were used for something else years ago.

Pop's Sunset Grille is so named because it faces west across the upper reaches of Lyons Bay in Nokomis, FL and grilled and fried seafood are the specialty. There's a raw bar, too and you can get a burger or a sandwich if you'd like. Music on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays, year round. Also, there's a gift shop on the premises.

Very casual - sandals, shorts and a T-shirt are all you need to fit right in with the other patrons. Because it is basically an indoor/outdoor environment, you'll see signs like "Please don't feed the Birds" or on the menu a short blurb about "Junior, the Yellow Crowned Night Heron," who is apparently a regular visitor with his friends.

The four of us sat straight ahead through the central outdoor area on a worn wooden deck overlooking the water and enjoyed watching a small school of porpoises work their way steadily up the Bay for about half our meal. They were briefly breaking the surface every minute or so and they could have been dolphins - we couldn't tell and didn't ask.

The four meals were: two fried grouper dinners, served with choice of veg or slaw or small salad and choice of potato; one fried grouper sandwich, with french fries and slaw, that was an "open faced" sandwich and Gary needed a fork and knife to eat it; and mine was fried shrimp and scallops with french fries. Everyone's meal was very good, all were served quickly by a friendly waitress, who was one of many young-ish people working as wait staff or bar staff (there were two bars - one inside and one out, within 50 feet of each other.) The bill was about $100 for four with beer and wine (two beers in my case), not including the gratuity and for that price you get a lot of good basic seafood in an interesting fair weather environment.

Not a place for anything but eating or drinking or maybe dancing when there's music. The casual nature of everything, including the layout may mean they'd have trouble dealing with a group of more than 8-10, but then again the whole place seems to operate in a friendly casual manner and they may be more flexible than that. Good eatin', though!

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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