A family dinner around a restaurant table or an evening out with friends has reached a new level since Marlow’s Tavern came to town. In the past several years, this local neighborhood tavern has set up shop in three of the area’s most bustling communities, serving classic dishes with a modern twist.
The area’s first location was opened at Pointe Orlando on International Drive and offered Southwest Orlando residents the opportunity to venture into the tourist corridor while still having the neighborhood feel. Marlow’s Tavern was then welcomed into the Winter Park community before its newest location joined the lineup at Waterford Lakes Town Center just last month.
When it comes to the menu, don’t let the name fool you. Marlow’s Tavern doesn’t have a rowdy pub atmosphere, although the daily happy hour and live entertainment, which vary by location, is a big draw. The Marlow’s Tavern experience as a whole encompasses the neighborly atmosphere in both the bar and dining areas, along with the presentation of a chef-inspired menu packed with items prepared from scratch using only the freshest ingredients, just like you would prepare for a guest in your own home.
Bar offerings include a variety of wines from around the world along with local craft beers and imports served on draft and by the bottle. Handcrafted cocktails are made with fresh juices and many options include specialty, small-batch liquors. The Blueberry Buck is a refreshing mixture of blueberry vodka, fresh lime, simple syrup, Barritt’s ginger beer and shaved nutmeg, and you will pucker up after a sip of the Grapefruit Ricky, which is crafted with Smirnoff vodka, fresh grapefruit and lime, and St. Germaine.
When it comes to the food, there is only one way to get started, and that’s with a snack like J.T.’s Kettle Chips, a variation of nachos that is smothered in gorgonzola cheese, bacon, Roma tomatoes and scallions. Another take on this classic starter is the Shrimp and Crab “Nacho” Plate, crispy tortillas that are loaded with rock shrimp, crab, pepper jack cheese and jalapeno. At this point in the meal, you might even be able to sneak a vegetable onto your child’s plate with the Asparagus Fries, a vegetarian appetizer that is served with a tarragon and citrus aioli.
The entree selection for both adults and kids is varied. On the menu for the little ones, you won’t just find chicken fingers and cheeseburgers, though those options are available for pickier eaters. More adventurous palates will enjoy a Crazy Cheese Quesadilla with two cheeses and avocado (chicken can be added too); the Big Kid Steak, which is served with tavern fries and steamed broccoli; and a kid-style Surf and Turf with one tiny cheeseburger and tempura fried shrimp.
Adults will find a lighter meal in the Grilled Chicken Stack, a Prestige Farms chicken breast served over squash carbonara (that means gluten-free noodles), bacon, sautéed spinach, herbs, parmesan, sun-dried tomato sauce and parslied olive oil. There are plenty of heartier options, too, like the classic Tavern Burger with a house-made tomato bacon jam. The Shrimp and Grits, a Marlow’s Tavern signature and crowd favorite, recently won the Best Foodie Award at the Downtown Food and Wine Festival. This version of the low-country classic boasts big flavors with a roasted tomato beurre blanc sauce, shrimp, spinach, Roma tomatoes and shallots over a crispy white cheddar grit cake.
End the entire meal on a sweet note with the Classic Crème Brulee, a light dessert with a base of Madagascar vanilla bean cream that is topped with a crunchy caramelized sugar crust.
Marlow’s Tavern is proud to partner with local charities in every community that it calls home. Typically, during events surrounding each Central Florida opening, the restaurant has supported Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida through the collection of donations from generous patrons. The Waterford Lakes location collected over $4,000 in donations during its three days of mock service. The partnership with Second Harvest continues throughout the year through participation with the organization’s Taste of the Nation event and its No Kid Hungry program.
Neighbors are welcomed into Marlow’s Tavern with open arms, and its daily operation revolves around the mood of the community. While the opening is consistent day by day, closing time is at the manager’s discretion, meaning the doors won’t close until the last guest has been fed and is ready to call it a night. So when you plan an evening here, just know that you won’t be rushed as you make yourself at home and explore the selections.