OZONA — Molly Goodheads will be rockin' Wednesday with live Key West-style music, some free food and happy hour prices until closing — all in celebration of the popular restaurant's 25 years in the quaint waterfront community.
The party will start at 6 p.m. and continue until 11 p.m. with activities that include clowns painting children's faces, cartoonists drawing adults and free T-shirts and cooler cups. A special anniversary seafood sampler will be available for $5.
Owner Laurel Flowers bought the two-story wood building in the 1970s from the local pioneer Stansell family, after moving here from Damascus, Pa. She turned the former boardinghouse into a restaurant and opened it in September of 1985.
"I had always worked in restaurants and wanted to have my own," Flowers said.
She persuaded her good friend and cousin Betsy Donovan, a real estate agent in upstate New York who had also worked in restaurants, to join her in the business.
A local restaurant supplier came up with the name Molly Goodheads, which was a takeoff on the Dr. Holly Goodhead character in the James Bond movie Moonraker.
"I thought it was real catchy," Flowers said, but she got a few letters from people who didn't think it was that cool. The name stuck anyway.
Over the years, the menu has expanded to include a little bit of everything.
"But our claim to fame from day one has been our grouper," said Flowers, 50. "I think we've survived because we have such loyal customers.
"I think the fact that we have so many regulars is what has helped us through the bad economy. Fishermen come in, relax and tell their tales, families come in with their kids. We have everything from yuppies to retirees."
The restaurant can seat 120. She has 25 employees during the summer and expands to 30 during the winter.
When the restaurant opened, Ozona was a laid-back fishing village. Nowadays, Flowers said, some of the older beach houses are being replaced by multi-million-dollar mansions. But the community has retained its quiet, sheltered environment.
"When you turn off Alt. 19," she said, "it's almost surreal here."