Like most small town papers, the Key Pen News has to get by with a limited number of staff. That’s why I can lay claim to the titles UFO reporter, etiquette columnist, and food reporter. Or, as we call it out here on the Peninsula, the grub reporter. It’s a simple job and one that traditionally involved more eating than writing until eateries began to appear all over the place.
First came word that the venerable Brookside is being resuscitated, rumors that a new Burger King is on the way, and talk of a new sit-down restaurant at the very heart of my high-cholesterol beat. But wait, how could this be? What about the unwritten law that we who dwell on the Peninsula must survive with only three restaurants (not counting the deli, the pizza place in the woods, and various convenience stores). Never one to put off either a good story, or a good lunch, I set off in search of the truth.
It didn’t take long to get there. The building destined to become Blondie’s Bar and Grill is yellow, has green trim, and sits perched on the hill east of Key Center. Once it’s finished, the restaurant will seat 100 people and serve American cuisine including prime rib, steaks, and burgers. (Oh yeah, and they’ll have salads and stuff too, but I’m an Atkins kind of guy.) None of that was evident as I got out of my car and passed the single workman who was sawing on a section of plastic downspout. I gave his Sussex Spaniel a pat on the head and entered via the double doors out front. Inside, I saw that while the sheet rock was up, and a brand new American Range sat to one side of what was going to be the kitchen, the rest of the restaurant was empty.
I emerged from the building in time to see a white Jeep appear. The woman who got out to greet me was Lisa Marshall, the same Lisa who owns Lisa’s Fresh Express Deli in Key Center, and the blonde in what will become Blondie’s Bar and Grill.
That was when I learned that the workman out front was none other than Douglas R. Fabre, a man who not only repairs his own downspouts, but owns the building in which the new restaurant will be housed, not to mention the apartment houses located to the south of it, and other Key Center properties as well. A reminder that appearances can be deceiving, especially on the Peninsula, where substance still means more than flash.
When asked about the logic for opening a restaurant in Key Center, especially in light of the fact that there are other eateries in town, it quickly became apparent that Marshall and Fabre share a common vision. Marshall put it this way. “Say you go out to dinner twice a week…How many times do you want to go to the same place? More is better.”
“That’s right,” Fabre agreed enthusiastically. “Besides, people are going too fast. They don’t have time to say ‘hi’ to their neighbors. When they walk into Blondie’s, people will know their names. Just like in the TV show.”
As for the timing, Marshall and Fabre are in agreement there as well. “Look at the bridge,” Fabre says confidently, “a lot of people will be coming here.”
“Yeah,” Marshall agrees, “there are a lot of homes being built out here.”
In addition to the interior seating, Marshall and Fabre plan to add a deck on the west (Key Center) side of the building that will include a 42-inch-tall glass barrier to break the wind. Blondie’s is scheduled to open no later than June 1. It will serve lunch and dinner, and the lounge will serve liquor and feature live music. Saturday and Sunday breakfast will be served at first—but might be discontinued if there isn’t sufficient traffic.
Once Blondie’s opens for business, Lisa’s Fresh Express Deli will have shorter hours. Marshall expects to have about 15 employees to start—and resumes can be submitted at the deli.
As for the quality of the food (grub), well, it’s too early for me to report on that. However, once Blondie’s opens for business, it will clearly be my duty to investigate.