(June 28, 2013) The Irish pub-gone-sports bar Smitty McGee’s celebrated its 24th year with a splash of color, officially unveiling its new look at an anniversary party last Thursday.
Like the bar’s most popular dish, the remodeling was inspired by the Florida Keys, a favorite vacation spot of owner Dawn McGee.
“I wanted to bring that Key West flair,” McGee said.
Switching out natural wood and off-white paint for bright blues, yellows and greens, she called the new veneer “full of energy.”
Some regulars at Thursday’s unveiling thought the décor was so apt they didn’t notice it at first. Others used words like “vibrant,” “cheery” and even “sexy” to describe Smitty’s new look.
“I think it is beautiful, and the carpet is extra-beautiful,” said Glen Burnie, Md. resident Marlene Willey, who comes to town to visit family.
“I love the music,” she said, and “the food is delicious.”
Smitty’s opened June 24, 1989 off Route 54 in Delaware. That spot has played into its success, McGee said.
Friday night is restaurant’s busiest time as visitors roll in by the thousands for a bite to eat on their way to the beach. Lines can stretch 50 or 60 people long.
An 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. happy hour, live entertainment and the addition of Keno and the Delaware sports lottery that allows customers to bet on football are also big draws, McGee said.
Many come for Smitty’s bestseller, its Key West Wings, topped with a mild sauce with a secret blend of herbs and spices, and others enjoy the restaurant’s unique sandwiches.
The renovation project came to McGee one night, she said, “and the next morning I woke up and started it.”
Remodeling ran ahead of schedule and was finished in three weeks in late May. McGee kept the restaurant open, only closing half of the building at a time to paint and replace the floor with a carpet she custom-designed to match the walls.
As for the restaurant’s quarter-century celebration following its 24th anniversary this year: “I’m going to try to top it,” McGee said.
Smitty McGee’s is off Route 54 at 37234 Lighthouse Road in Selbyville, Del., and is open 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.
Call 302-436-4716, or visit www.smittymcgees.com for a menu and entertainment schedule.