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Name:Islander Beef and Grog
Street:301 N Atlantic Ave
City:Cocoa Beach

Canadians Richard Archer and Beverly Delaney purchased the former Oceanside Steak House from Steve Hall and re-opened it as the Islander Beef and Grog in February 1975. Years earlier, they had visited a “broil-your-own” restaurant in Hawai’i and were inspired by the idea. They brought that to their new Cocoa Beach restaurant, and “broil-your-own” steak became an Islander Beef and Grog signature concept, unique on the Space Coast at that time. Wayne Coombs created the Polynesian and nautical décor for the restaurant. A snack bar, the Islander Hut, was operated behind the restaurant right on the beach.

Here’s an excellent background article from the archives...

Florida Today February 8, 1980

The Islander Beef and Grog offered live entertainment. Here’s an article on one of the singers who periodically performed there (remember, it was the 1970s)...

Florida Today February 28, 1975

The Islander Beef and Grog’s chef was a professional...

Florida Today August 7, 1976

And his wife was a Polynesian dancer...

Florida Today September 10, 1976

Sports celebrities visit the Islander Beef and Grog...

Florida Today September 3, 1976

Highs and lows in succession at the Islander Beef and Grog...

Florida Today February 2, 1978

Florida Today March 30, 1978

At least they left the rum!

A tornado that damaged quite a few Cocoa Beach businesses in 1979 did not entirely spare the Islander Beef and Grog...

Florida Today July 10, 1979

Some representative ads over the years from Florida Today...

April 6, 1975

October 31, 1975

December 18, 1975

May 3, 1977

This one's got a Kona Kai style Tiki in it...

August 19, 1977

Wayne Coombs was certainly a busy guy in those days...

Florida Today June 4, 1976

Sabu, this place was made for you! Come back in time and savor your favorite Polynesian cocktail amidst exotic surroundings on the beach, while you broil your own steak and chat with like-minded souls.

Next, what came before and what came after...


The building that later hosted the Islander Beef and Grog was formerly a restaurant known as the Oceanside Steak House. Steve Hall owned it and was also the manager from February 1970 until he sold it five years later to Richard Archer and Beverly Delaney, who then made it into the Islander Beef and Grog. In Hall’s story, told in an article below, he leased it to someone else prior to coming to Florida from Cleveland in February 1970, who “turned a German smorgasbord into a financial disaster.” I found several Florida Today ads from 1969, just prior to Hall’s arrival...

October 12, 1969

October 12, 1969

Here’s Steve Hall’s story...

Florida Today April 7, 1971

Here are some representative Florida Today ads (apparently Hall favored rhyme)...

December 24, 1972

March 11, 1973

April 22, 1973

Returning to the Islander Beef and Grog, in late February of 1980, Richard Archer and his partner (aka his wife) sold the restaurant to Dee Gunter, an Austrian expatriate who decided to drop the Polynesian menu specialties and replace them with European cuisine. Accordingly, he dropped “Islander” from the restaurant name, so it became just the Beef and Grog. Here’s Gunter’s story...

Florida Today April 1, 1980

And here is a Florida Today ad for the new Beef and Grog (the Tikis in the ad presumably reflect the exotic décor and possibly exotic cocktails, but not cuisine)...

April 4, 1980

Next, something entirely different arrives...



In October 1980, seven months after dropping “Islander” from the name and Polynesian from the cuisine, the Beef and Grog was sold for $450,000 by Richard Archer and Beverly Delaney to Peter and Darlene Cunningham. Apparently, the original Islander Beef and Grog owners retained title to the property or else it reverted back to them when the Beef and Grog failed. The Cunninghams extensively remodeled the building, opening as Desperado’s Mexican Restaurant and Saloon in November 1980. Here are several articles that tell their story...

Florida Today November 21, 1980

Florida Today November 13, 1981

And here are some representative Florida Today ads over the years...

July 3, 1981

October 25, 1981

June 8, 1984

January 18, 1985

February 22, 1985

October 25, 1985

Desperado’s was deservedly a very popular Space Coast beachside eatery for nearly two decades. Pat and I can personally attest to that based on our own dining experiences there. Near the end of the 1990s, it succumbed to a scourge that killed off many a popular establishment along the coastlines of the Florida peninsula and the Keys: condo development. Prime waterfront land was far more valuable as a condominium site than as just about any other kind of business. Very few landowners could resist the riches offered by the developers if they sold. So sell they did. In the case of Desperado’s, it was demolished to make way for the Palmas de Majorca Condominium, constructed in 2000 and still there today...


Dang Tom..... They need to find you some work out there on the Cape. You seem to have too much free time on your hands diggin' up all this.

Crappy condos. They're taking over the waterfront in South Florida also. Too easy to sell the same view only stories above the other to folks interested in living on the water. Couple cool places went down in Riviera/Singer Island during the last real estate boom..... Rutledge Inn on Singer Island and The Crab Pot in Riviera Beach. Both were there forever and are now sitting undeveloped since being torn down and the market went flat. And, of course there was the time capsule in Fort Pierce..Moon Garden.

It was cool when I first moved to South Florida in '84. There were still some old motels with lounges on Singer Island, but most have been mowed down. Seems if you want a cocktail now, it's off to Chili's or one of the clones (TGIF, Ruby Tuesday, Applebee's) or maybe Red Lobster. And unless there's a "mix", they don't know how to make anything.

Off topic: Been enjoying the Pina colada recipe from the Moon Islander thread....never made a Pina Colada with lemon juice before and it's got just enough tartness to keep me interested. Thanks.


The Crab Pot was always a favorite after a day of diving and/or fishing.

Tom - Thanks for chronicling the full history of the Islander Beef & Grog! Based on my matchbook and a few others I've seen from other states, I assumed that cook-your-own-steak gimmick was pretty common in the 60s & 70s. But evidently from your news articles, the idea was new to Florida and the Beef & Grog was unique for its time and area.

Tom - I found this while sorting through my Dad's estate. (He was on the Voyager launch team in 1977, and spent about 6 months at the Cape preparing for the launch. Mom had sent off to the Chamber of Commerce for information on lodging and restaurants for when we went down to visit and watch the launch.)
Islander Beef & Grog listed about half way down the page. Between HoJo's and Mickey D's - go figure.

For the urban archeologists out there I also have the listings for motels and apartments/condos for Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, Merritt Island, Cocoa, Rockledge and Titusville (all circa 1976) from the same packet if anyone is interested in seeing them.

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