End of the Line
Article and photos by Jimmy Jacobs.
At the southwest side of Marco Island, just before you cross over to the mainland, the village of Goodland sits to the right of the highway. It is hidden back in the mangroves, surrounding a harbor snug against the northern edge of the Ten Thousand Islands. All of which is to say, it’s not a place you stumble across. You have to want to get there. And, there is a restaurant and watering hole that will make you want to get there.
The Little Bar & Restaurant operates on the “Ends of the Earth Good Times Theory.” The idea is when you have gone as far as you can on the land, you are where you likely find the best food, friendliest people and greatest entertainment. A right turn out of the harbor on which the building sits takes you directly into the Ten Thousand Islands, so it is at lands end.
But that theory is not just words – the bar and restaurant operate on that philosophy. Obviously, that makes this place a perfect fit for On The Fly South’s End of the Line coverage.
From the outside, the Little Bar Restaurant, which has been in business since 1978, seems non-descript, but once through the door that changes. The interior of the bar and restaurant could pass for a museum. Co-owner Ray Bozicnik brought an eclectic array of items with him when he moved to Goodland from the Chicago area. The back bar is over 100 years old and comes from a neighborhood joint frequented by Al Capone in Cicero. The stained glass above the bar is from the Everleigh Sisters’ Sporting House that closed just before World War I, and the door with the Perrier Jouet mirror was their backdoor, which got the most use. Also scattered around the establishments are parts of a pipe organ salvaged from the Civil War era Mentone Springs Hotel in Mentone, Alabama.
While interesting, those artifacts are not why patrons keep returning to the Little Bar. It’s the fresh seafood, fully-stocked bar, good service and Friday to Sunday live music that creates the siren song. They also have many special parties and events throughout the year to keep things lively. Besides the inside dining room and bar, they also have a deck overlooking the harbor.
Open seven days a week from Mid-October to June, starting at 11:30 a.m. The dinner menu kicks in at 5:30 and the bar stays open at least until midnight, or, as they advertise, until everyone is through singing.
If you need more reasons to visit Goodland and the Little Bar Restaurant, Ray Bozicnik sums those up. “The fish are biting, the women are beautiful and the men are hunks!”
Check out their website for the full menu, music and events schedule or directions.