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Marlee’s Caribbean Restaurant in Superior

I drove past a new restaurant today on Tower Avenue in Superior.  According to the Chamber’s website:

Marlee’s Caribbean Restaurant
525 Tower Avenue
Superior, WI 54880
Phone: (715) 392-1279
Fax: (218) 579-2909

Marlee’s Caribbean is a full service restaurant offering Caribbean and Cajun cuisine along with American fare. A full-service bar is included.

My interest is definitely piqued!  Anyone have any more information about actual opening date, sample menus, etc?

44 Comment(s)

  1. The owners of Marlee’s are Penny and Bob Gellatly. They also own Off the Wagon in Superior, which is the bar across from the Anchor. They bought that almost a year ago, when it was Adam’s Pub. Before that it was Jo D’s Corner Oasis, and before that it was Tin Can Alley.

    The location of Marlee’s is the building that originally housed Lurye Furniture, built in 1919. From about 1940 to 1999 it was Berger Hardware. Since then it’s been three restaurants: Mama Gets, Shakers American Grill and Sakana.

    Penny told me she plans to open Marlee’s on August 30. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    “We’ll be serving Caribbean and a little bit of Cajun food, with takeouts available,” she said.

    There is no one named Marlee associated with the place. The name is a reference to Bob Marley — purposely misspelled.

    “We’ve been in the bar business a long time,” Penny said. “We used to own the Silver Dollar gentleman’s club in Hurley and the Indigo Flame.”

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 20, 2010 | New Comment
  2. Wow! Thanks Paul!

    Did you just call her for this exclusive or did you have this on hand?

    I looked up in the City of Superior Council Agendas and Minutes to see who the operating company was, but didn’t recognize the CCOC, Inc.

    I hope they are good cooks and have lunch specials! It’s in a good spot for takeouts for a variety of businesses in Superior including my place of business.

    Rae | Aug 20, 2010 | New Comment
  3. Just called after I saw your post.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 20, 2010 | New Comment
  4. So glad to see that building put back into use. That is an absolutely amazing space! I remember going into Berger Hardware when I was a kid. It was like something from another time. I’ve always had an infatuation with that building.

    bfinstad | Aug 20, 2010 | New Comment
  5. Speaking of Berger Hardware, just wanted to share a link with you guys so those of you who go to check out Marlees will have an appreciation for the space it occupies. Here’s the link:

    Berger Hardware

    bfinstad | Aug 20, 2010 | New Comment
  6. In the 90s, that bar across from the Anchor was called “The Dee Tees.” Now it’s called “Off the Wagon.” Maybe sometime in the future it will be called “The Destroyed Career and Marriage.”

    Barrett Chase | Aug 20, 2010 | New Comment
  7. “The Destroyed Career and Marriage” sounds like my kind of place! At least if it is across the street from the Anchor, I won’t go hungry, unless I become a vegetarian.

    L.T. | Aug 20, 2010 | New Comment
  8. Sounds good, but why this building, again? Haven’t 2-3 restaurants already not done very well there? It’s a cool building, but maybe not such a good spot for a restaurant. It’s like opening another restaurant in the Bella Vita/Athletic Club/etc. space.

    Julian | Aug 22, 2010 | New Comment
  9. I’d say it all has to do with overhead. Mama Gets was cool, but as they were the ones who rehabbed the building, I would bet they sunk a ton of money into that place.

    I think there is great potential in the North End if the City of Superior would focus some planning and resources there. The North End lends itself to be convenient for both Duluthians and Superiorites. In the 1970s Superior created the crappiest of all urban planning by deciding to develop the south end of tower for restaurants and retail and demolish the historic North End to create an industrial park (and thereby cutting their downtown off from the waterfront). It should have been the other way around.

    If the building has changed ownership and the place was gotten for a song, the numbers will likely work better, but of course any new restaurant venture is an unknown. However, considering they have a significant history in the industry, I would bet they are savvy business people. I don’t believe the previous ventures were due to a bad location, but significant overhead.

    bfinstad | Aug 22, 2010 | New Comment
  10. Probably the best reason to visit Superior is the Anchor and that is thriving right in the same vicinity.

    bfinstad | Aug 22, 2010 | New Comment
  11. I just got back from this “new” restaurant. It was absolutely horrible.

    I ordered a Caesar salad. When I received the salad I thought it smelt funky to me. I ate some of it anyways and started feeling sick. I had my dad and stepmom both taste and smell the chicken. They said it was bad, spoiled chicken. The crutons were stale and it took almost 45 minutes to even get our appetizers. Our waiter told us the deep fryer was down after we had ordered. When my parents received their order it tasted more like it had been microwaved. It took a very long time as well to get drinks refilled.

    I thought being open for only five days and how many workers they had there, they would have wanted to put on a bigger and better image then that. I will not be going back there.

    Nicole | Sep 3, 2010 | New Comment
  12. There were four of us in for dinner on Sept 10, 2010, arriving shortly after 6 pm. We were seated immediately. The waitress arrived fairly soon to take our drink orders, and then things seemed to go downhill from there.

    The drinks came after about 10 minutes. The wait for her to return was 15-20 minutes and then it was because we asked the hostess to send our waitress to us. We actually considered paying for our drinks and leaving.

    When she finally returned to take our orders, she did not write anything down. That should have been another indication of problems. The diners near our table were unhappy … spoke with the manager … should have been another clue … we were obviously hoping for a better outcome. My husband even stated jokingly that we need to stay now and see how this experience actually plays out.

    We did not see our bread, (hushpuppies and cornbread), salad, or soup course. After a long, long wait, the waitress arrived with a tray with the meals and two beers. One of the beers was spilled on my husband. Our salads were served with the meal. My brother-in-law never got his soup, my husband did not get the fried okra with his waffles and chicken, my rice was cold. There was no butter for the waffle.

    Every request for what should have come with our meal took at least 10 minutes or longer. We actually went to the bar to get the drinks that were ordered. Water was not refilled.

    The food that did arrive, sans my cold rice was very flavorful and tasty. The hassle to get it made the experience one of the worst I have ever had in a restaurant. We spoke with the manager about all of the problems. She was apologetic, and gave many reasons why things were not up to par.

    I felt that the waitress was playing against a stacked deck as the meals should have been complete before they even left the kitchen. The manager offered us dessert, which we all thought was to be complimentary due to our bad experience. My sister-in-law and I ordered the banana chimichanga at the managers suggestion along with coffee. Our spouses each had a beer. Again, the wait for the food and drinks was so long. The dessert and coffee arrived before the beer. How long can it take to get two beers out of the cooler and to a table?

    When we got the check, the coffee, and three beers were written off the bill. I was incredulous to see that we had been charged for the dessert. I was amazed that while we were trying to get our point across about the service and maybe we should have a part of the meal deducted, the manager actually encouraged us to order the dessert which we were then charged for.

    We paid our bill and left as we did not want to spend any more time waiting to voice another complaint. We were plain tired of being there and waiting for the next scrap of attention.

    Pamela Lisdahl | Sep 10, 2010 | New Comment
  13. Hmmmm. Here is the owner’s quote from above:

    “We’ve been in the bar business a long time,” Penny said.

    Must be something else going on for things to be such a disaster … she says they owned a “gentleman’s club” before … maybe there really isn’t a kitchen back there. Kidding of course.

    Jude | Sep 11, 2010 | New Comment
  14. Irie -- Jamaican word for “everything is alright, mon.”

    Disappointment -feeling of being let down!

    I think the chef/manager should read the article published in the Superior Telegram dated August 27. The restaurant is filling a niche, has a unique menu and wants repeat business. The owners are trying to make this a destination??? NOT!

    After my dinning experience last night burgers and fires do not sound too bad. The partial orders that were brought to our table were great, but we wanted the entire dinner in a timely manner. Was that too much to expect? Shame on you for blaming the waitstaff for all the problems. The problem starts at the top, maybe if you were not selling your signature desert and managing the kitchen our dinning experience would of been irie — Jamaican word for “everything is alright mon,” instead of disappointment, my word for your establishment!

    Debra Lisdahl | Sep 11, 2010 | New Comment
  15. Visited Marlee’s for lunch yesterday. Service was terrific, food arrived within ten minutes. Fish tacos were very good but would have been better with grilled rather than breaded and fried fish, and with beans. Will go back soon to try dinner!

    MK Bates | Sep 16, 2010 | New Comment
  16. I had the Creole Jambalaya last night and enjoyed it. It’s great to be back in that building, sitting at the ol’ brass bar.

    Here’s the menu:

    Paul Lundgren | Sep 29, 2010 | New Comment
  17. Bad experience tonight at this place. After one hour still no food. One drink and the waiter brought us some cornbread because of the wait. He finally came back and said he didn’t know what was going on in the kitchen but we should have our food shortly, we paid for our one drink and left.

    I hope they get things together quick! They definitely needed more help, both out front and in the kitchen!

    Ann J | Oct 15, 2010 | New Comment
  18. I was very upset on the wait for drinks. There is no bartender??? What happened the the great bartender Mike?

    The food was so so. They need happy hour and drink specials! There were only four of us at dinner. Last week there was only six of us at lunch. Ate there six times in the past few weeks. May have to change places to eat.

    MaryAnne | Dec 27, 2010 | New Comment
  19. 1-6-2011 dinner in Superior WI
    Great service, great food, a must to return to.

    Joan Cervenka | Jan 7, 2011 | New Comment
  20. I stopped for lunch on Sunday and they were closed. Are they normally closed on Sundays?

    Jean | Jan 31, 2011 | New Comment
  21. We had dinner at Marlee’s last Friday and had a wonderful time. We were a group of 4 and each had a different dinner item. All the food was great!! Out waitress Michelle was delightful — she knew the menu well, was very attentive and very entertaining. We had a great evening and will definitely go back again.

    Doris | Feb 8, 2011 | New Comment
  22. Good decor, needs soft music to set atmosphere, food fairly good, service good but cooking slow, as you would expect at a Jamaican place. Drinks OK. Need conk fritters for appetizer.

    Corey | Feb 14, 2011 | New Comment
  23. Lingering impressions of my experience at Marlee’s

    Atmosphere: If you’re a fan of wax museums and/or have a pirate fetish you’re in luck! If not, super creepy.

    Service: Staff was friendly although our server knew nothing about the menu.

    Drinks: Marlee’s has a large selection of mystery drinks, the ingredients remain unkown even after asking our waiter (who couldn’t be sure). My guess, Mountain dew, food coloring, various rail booze, cough medicine?.

    Food: Terrible. I had the gumbo and I’m pretty sure you could find fresher seafood in the alley behind Hanabi. Getting slighty sick just thinking about it.

    Prices: Ridiculous, we could have eaten a glorious meal at the Scenic for about the same price.

    Conclusion: Fail

    Watson | Mar 18, 2011 | New Comment
  24. Initial observation: This place looks fancier than I thought it would. It is 8pm on a Saturday night…why is there only two other people in here?

    After I sat down and let the atmosphere sink in: This doesn’t look like a Jamaican-themed restaurant — tacky wall paintings, unfinished/half finished interior design, a visible upstairs balcony area with nothing but a walkway and industrial doors (no dining seating) … and why is there twangy American country music playing? Is that what they listen to in Jamaica? Doesn’t really set a Jamaican mood….at all. Oh, and I should mention the tacky pirate statues and parrots — their poor attempt at a Jamaican theme.

    On to the menu: When you see the menu you will notice there are no pictures of food on the menu. I think there may be a reason behind this! You can’t polish s***! Visited Marley’s for the first time. Ordered pork tenderloin and the gumbo. Tenderloin came with six small (I’d like to stress small) pieces of pre-cut tenderloin (medallions) overpowered by a coconut sauce (and I really like coconut) and a healthy portion of bland white rice with peas and an over-sized portion of red cabbage. The gumbo looked like a serving of plain white rice with a can of Campbell’s chunky soup.

    At about $15-$20 per entree, I was very disappointed. Margarita’s were without a doubt, very small and heavy on the lime syrup. Had to choke that down too. But at buy one margarita for $7 and get one free, they have to make their money/cut somewhere right?

    I have never had Jamaican food before, but if this is an accurate representation of what that is, count me out. I should have gone a block further and enjoyed the Anchor at half the cost. I think that’s where everyone else went tonight!

    Honest Truth | Apr 2, 2011 | New Comment
  25. Pictures on menus? Most restaurants don’t put pictures on menus. Just saying.

    zra | Apr 3, 2011 | New Comment
  26. Quite simply, the rule of thumb is: If a restaurant has photos of food on the menu, it is part of a chain. If it doesn’t, it is not part of a chain. (Obviously there are a few exceptions to this; that’s how rules of thumb work.)

    Photos of food on the menu do not reflect the quality of the food at a restaurant.

    Paul Lundgren | Apr 3, 2011 | New Comment
  27. Sometimes, even independently owned Japanese and Chinese places will have photos of the food on their menus, I’ve noticed.

    Claire | Apr 3, 2011 | New Comment
  28. Well, just read all the reviews, AFTER buying a $25 voucher on the DNT 51% off deal. Should be interestering.. oh well after tax and tip still getting a meal @ about 2/3 of the price.

    Will definitely avoid their “specials” the way it sounds…

    Pamalama | Apr 5, 2011 | New Comment
  29. Food photography is a specialized art. And the more it looks like delicious food, the more likely it is not.

    adam | Apr 5, 2011 | New Comment
  30. There’s this place in NYC, it’s Japanese, and has a screamingly loud menu, with lots of photos. The food is **fantastic** but, then, so are the photos. I think Adam is right, though, East is the exception that proves the rule. Look at Perkins. Yuck.

    Claire | Apr 5, 2011 | New Comment
  31. You can’t eat “local” in most Asian countries without reading from a menu board with pictures of their entrees. I think this is mainly for the benefit of the touristas who lack the ability to read (Thai, Korean, Chinese, et. al.)…

    zra | Apr 5, 2011 | New Comment
  32. Two of the most delicious places in Duluth--Mexico Lindo and Beijing--have pictures on their menus. Well, Beijing’s are above the counter, but still.

    Once again proving that Duluth, as a rule, is the exception to the rule.

    jessige | Apr 6, 2011 | New Comment
  33. I had a wonderful experience at Marlee’s! I had the curried lamb, meat was fall-apart tender with a nice spice balance. Others had the Caribbean Pork and Jamaican Jerk Chicken, which was enjoyed by all! Dessert was excellent Key Lime Pie and Banana Chimichanga were shared at the table. Key Lime Pie was my favorite, looked (not neon green!) and tasted like it should! Service was great Sat. late lunch though so it wasn’t very busy. If I had to change something it would be the rice, it was a little wet, I prefer the fluffy white rice from a rice cooker like at a Chinese restaurant.

    Overall great experience, I will be going back!

    Carrie | Apr 16, 2011 | New Comment
  34. Nasty business. Went in Jan 2011 with my wife. For lunch on a weekday. A table of four were the only other customers and they had finished eating. My wife had a coupon of buy one….get half off second order of an entree. She ordered a Pina Colada and I a Margarita. Whoever above said buy one get the second free was LUCKY. $7.00 for a normal sized Margarita. Not a Jumbo mind you. When the drinks FINALLY came we ordered the crab cake appetizer. Everything was at least 15 minutes wait time. Even the drinks and by that time we were the ONLY customers. The crab cakes were delicious with the aioli. In the meantime we had ordered. She the muffaletta and I the shrimp po’boy. While the muffaletta was humongous, it bore no resemblence to the true one at the Italian Village in West Duluth. It actually appeared to have simple bologna on it. The bun was huge and flufy, not somewhat hollowed to incorporate the filling. I could not smell the olive tapenade like the Italian Village either. The wife was satisfied with it but she has never had the Italian Village one. My shrimp po’boy was fabulous. This will be the only good comment but it truly was fabulous tasting large battered crispy shrimp. Mmmmmmthinking about it now. The wife had regular fries and I had the sweet potato fries which were also delish. They came with the order. Are you ready for the total? With the coupon for buy one get the second half off? Initially it was somewhere around $35.00 and some odd cents. When we complained about the bill and saw a subtraction that didn’t look right the waitress took the bill and returned about a half hour later. We watched her at the bar the entire time with another lady. Evidently the owner. When the waitress returned the bill had increased to $40.00 and some odd sense. I had already tipped the waitress. Silly me. We no longer had the menus to review the prices but by that time we just wanted to get out of there having spent around 2 hours and $40 on a simple lunch or 2. We also purchase one of the 51% certificates of $25.00 for $12.50 and plan on returning to order the exact same items. We will be checking food quality and the total bill. Wish us LUCK! I have a feeling we will need it. We are both curious as hell to see what happens on our next visit.
    At this time would not recommend this restaurant for service, authenticity of food, service or anything else.
    What others said about the truly tacky decorations and cut outs of pirates, phony looking parrots is true. We were there in daylight and it was sad to say the least. Maybe at night with proper lighting it may look less sleazy and tacky.

    ownit | May 1, 2011 | New Comment
  35. And we listened to country music in this caribbean themed dining experience as well.

    ownit | May 1, 2011 | New Comment
  36. Ownit wins “worst review ever written.”

    tamara | May 4, 2011 | New Comment
  37. I think they are maybe starting to take a lot of the suggestions and past reviews into consideration. Tonight my other half and I went for a late dinner. There were only a couple of other tables and we were the last to walk in.

    Were we greeted, our waitress was nice and very helpful. He had a drink which was just a rum and coke, but it had a good amount of rum in it for $3.50.

    We shared an appetizer of the Fried Plantains with Adobo sour cream which were great! The soup we got with our entrees was “stuffed green pepper” which was also delicious, but REALLY hot when we got it.

    Then I got the Homemade Pasta and thought it was excellent. It had an awesome Cajun kick to it and the peas, ham and red peppers in it paired together well. He chose the steak entree and that was good too.

    The menu was priced higher than what we are used to, but I don’t understand why people complain about that. For what you are getting it is not unreasonable. It’s nice to see something different. Next time I think we’ll be a bit more adventurous and try the Alligator Bites!

    I would definitely go back. Hopefully the good service is starting to be the norm there from now on.

    Pamalama | Jul 7, 2011 | New Comment
  38. My husband and I were extremely pleased with our experience at Marlee’s. We were traveling through Wisconsin and and were told to go to the Anchor Bar to have a “famous” hamburger. The place was full but we were able to sit at the bar with a great view of the kitchen. After seeing the disgusting kitchen, the bar stacked with dirty glasses and the don’t care attitude of the help we finished our brew and left.

    This is when we found Marlee’s. We came in and were promptly greeted. We decided to sit at the bar, ordered drinks and checked out the menu. That was enough to keep us there. We had the Panko Cheese Curds for an appetizer (we were in Wisconsin). My husband loved them, I however do not care for any type of cheese curds. We followed this with a cup of the Gumbo. This alone is worth coming back for.

    My entree was the blackened Catfish and my husband chose the Brisket. Absolutely wonderful. Our server was excellent. We shared a bottle of wine with our meal and my husband finished off with Key Lime Pie (no will power).

    Our total bill was under $90, not including tip. We are from Sioux Falls SD and a comparable meal for 2 would have been well over $100.

    We met Bob and Penny that night, they gave us a history of the building and truly appreciated our business. We have but one complaint … Marlee’s isn’t in our hometown.

    Thanks for the excellent food and a memorable evening.

    Sherri | Jul 26, 2011 | New Comment
  39. The Anchor vs. Marlee’s … sounds like it’s on.

    zra | Jul 26, 2011 | New Comment
  40. My wife and I had lunch at Marlee’s today. Server was great and food was awful. My wife had a chicken salad, the tomatoes where unripe and hard. I had the pepper cheeseburger that was awful. It looked like a lump of coal. Overcooked to the point it crumbled when cut in half. Being Minnesota nice I did not complain, maybe that is how it is supposed to be? Sever saw me struggling to eat this thing and apologized. She reduced the cost of the burger by 50%. Be careful if you go.

    TOM | Aug 16, 2011 | New Comment
  41. My husband and I have been to Marlee’s twice. The first time the service was kindly but VERY slow. The second time the service was improved in speed. Both times we have had the same dishes. I had the Jamaican Jerk Chicken plate (w/plaintains, beans and rice, and a mango (I think) salsa). I thought it was all very well done and tasty. My hubby had the chicken and waffles, which he thought were also really good. We let them talk us into the banana chimichanga the first time, and it was also very tasty. The second time we resistied because really we don’t need to eat that much food in one sitting. My platter ends up being two meals as it is (and it tasted really good the next day). The decor is indeed tacky -- I’d rather not look at pirate women’s cleavage while I’m eating, thank you very much, but the food was good. The prices are a bit high, but it’s not that much different than a chain restaurant (and remember you’ll save a chunk in tax just by virtue of it not being in Duluth!).

    Elizabeth | Dec 15, 2011 | New Comment
  42. Pirate women’s cleavage: are we talking a server with cleavage dressed up as a pirate, or a pirate with cleavage dressed up as a server?

    adam | Dec 15, 2011 | New Comment
  43. I think she means pirate-themed art.

    If they’re really offering either of the two possibilities Adam mentioned, please confirm! I’ll be there every night!

    Jerome | Dec 15, 2011 | New Comment
  44. As noted in the “Chain restaurants are fun” post, Marlee’s closed at some point in June 2012.

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 8, 2012 | New Comment

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