There’s a new Lower Keys restaurant to crow about.
Veteran restaurateur Rob DeGennaro, his wife Ana and daughter Carly have opened the Bucktooth Rooster on the site of the former Big Pine Restaurant, 29943 Overseas Highway bayside on Big Pine Key.
“We saw the need for a nice family-style restaurant with good prices to really take care of the Lower Keys, so we’re hoping to pull from Marathon down to Key West,” Rob said. “We’re opening it as a locals restaurant. The prices are going to be priced attractively.”
He said Eric Poon bought the Big Pine Restaurant about a year ago, “fixed it up and leased it out to us.”
The restaurant name was inspired by Big Pine animals. “We’ve lived here for quite a few years. Going to the Winn-Dixie, we’ve had all kinds of chickens and roosters coming up to us so we figured we would tie it in with that,” DeGennaro said.
The menu is expansive. Breakfast includes traditional egg dishes, five different kinds of eggs Benedict, pancakes, oatmeal, French toast, yogurt and granola parfait, breakfast burritos and quesadillas and mimosas (the Bucktooth Rooster serves beer and wine).
The lunch and dinner menu has all kinds of sandwiches, burgers, seafood, pasta, steaks, soups, salads and sides. Prices are reasonable.
“Everything on the menu is made from scratch,” DeGennaro said.
He said “we’ve had restaurants for over 30 years clustered on Sanibel, Captiva and Fort Myers Beach. We had Nervous Nellies, a 600-seat restaurant on the water, on the intracoastal on Fort Myers Beach. It was a very popular restaurant and we decided to sell it and move down here about five years ago. We sold the restaurant two years ago. I used to travel back and forth.”
“We brought some really great people down with us who worked for us for 15, 20 years at other restaurants. They actually bought homes on Big Pine,” DeGennaro said. He said he’ll employ “around 35 [people] when all is said and done.”
The Bucktooth Rooster has 80 seats and when it’s hooked up to the Lower Keys sewer system, it can expand to 120 and have seating outside in the back.
The restaurant had a soft opening on Thursday. It’ll be open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day but Tuesdays (starting on Wednesday; until then, it opens at 11 a.m.).
Larry Kahn: 305-440-3218