Unique Restaurant Concept Coming to Punta Gorda

Later this month in Punta Gorda, two restaurant concepts will be housed under one roof. Seasoned restaurateurs Penny Rowe and Gordon Muir have divided a 2,832-square-foot space by erecting a wall and creating two separate entrances.

Their enthusiasm for both food and design is evident in the upcoming opening of Penny’s Diner and Penny’s Speakeasy on November 27.

Previously situated in the strip mall behind their new standalone building at 1121 Bal Harbor Blvd. in Punta Gorda Isles, the old Penny’s Diner closed its doors on October 27, 2022.

While the exterior of the new location, a freshly painted blue building erected in 1985, may appear unremarkable from the outside, a step inside reveals its potential.

The couple personally undertook the makeovers, with Muir constructing the bar in the speakeasy, and Rowe overseeing the design.

The Fifties-style diner showcases expansive black and white tile flooring, turquoise booths and chairs, a jukebox, and blue bar stools at the counter. The walls are adorned in shades of yellow, pink, and green. The diner’s distinctive statue, Mrs. Patty Melt, holding a menu and adorned with roller skates, stands inside the entrance, seemingly welcoming patrons.

On the other side of the building, Penny’s Speakeasy provides a fine dining experience, recreating a bygone-era speakeasy ambiance with antique furniture. Features include Roaring ’20s-style light fixtures, an upright piano, dark red walls adorned with photos of movie stars and posters, and dark wood barstools with red padded seat cushions. A Triomphe L’oeil depicting a vintage wine and bootleg cellar graces the rear wall.

Rowe expressed, “Everything is homemade and fresh, nothing is frozen,” when describing the food at Penny’s Diner. She emphasized the homemade nature of items such as biscuits and gravy, as well as the fresh burgers. Bread and produce are sourced every other day.

Rowe also takes charge of crafting the restaurants’ sauces daily.

The diner’s breakfast and lunch menu boasts affordability, with nothing exceeding $14.99, except for the exception—the Double Trouble Cheeseburger priced at $17.99, featuring two 8-ounce, hand-formed patties.

Specialties at Penny’s Diner include Ricky Ricardo’s Cuban (Lucy’s Favorite) sandwich, Telly Savalas gyro, and the James Dean classic burger. Meanwhile, Penny’s Speakeasy offers a menu featuring six land and six sea items, with reservations being a requirement.

Rowe, who has been in the restaurant business for 27 years, shared, “This is where my heart is, it’s my passion.


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