Grill’s Restaurant & Sunrise Marina


As a long time angler fishing out of Orlando there were many, many days that we would trailer our boat over to the port and launch at the boat ramps located next to Grill’s Restaurant & Sunrise Marina. The convenience of getting your bait, ice and a cup of coffee in the morning is great. However, the cold frozen rum runner when you return while cleaning your fish next to the tiki hut is the icing on the cake! Even though the boat ramps have been moved to the east next to Jetty Park, it’s still business as usual at Grill’s & Sunrise.


I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Robin Roark. To give Robin a single title would be insulting on my end considering she wears so many hats and is involved in most, if not all of the day to day decisions that help make both Grill’s & Sunrise Marina so successful. I asked Robin what she likes most about her role, she explains” my job is so diverse, I get to do a lot of different things. There is never a dull moment” I have been fishing out of the port for some time but I was curious to know more about the history of the

restaurant and marina. All good things start somewhere and such is the case for Joe Penovich, owner of Grill’s & Sunrise Marina. Joe is a Brevard County resident born and raised. As an avid angler, diver & surfer Joe developed a passion for playing and working on our surrounding waters at a young age. He began working as a mate on local charter boats and mated on several tournament boats in Venezuela before becoming a charter captain himself. In 1986 he purchased his very first private charter boat, The Obsession. With a lot of hard work, in 1992, Joe purchased the party boat the Ocean Obsession which he ran out of Dolphins Leap Marina. In 1994, he purchased the marina along with the old tiki bar and renamed it Sunrise Marina. In 1996, Joe built the party boat Ocean Obsession II and in 1997, Grill’s Restaurant and Tiki Bar opened which at that time was an open air restaurant. That’s quite an undertaking in a very short period of time. In 2002, Robin joined the team and was part of the original expansion of the new marina which included the new metal building with covered boat slips and the store. I asked Robin about the challenges that come along with their business and she shares, “Customer service. There is a delicate balance, whether you are a server in the restaurant or helping a customer with their boat, that’s the biggest key for us.”


If you have visited the Port recently you will notice Grill’s & Sunrise have gone through a renovation of sorts. When you visit the restaurant, the first thing that jumps out besides the wonderful view, is the full liquor bar inside. They have done an amazing job with the renovation! The bar itself is the stern of a sportfisher, it looks awesome! Sunrise Marina has built a brand new bait & tackle /gift shop which still carries everything an angler would need for a successful day on the water but also now includes some really neat items such as artwork, paintings, apparel, trinkets, etc. It even has a huge fish tank designated to raising awareness about the lionfish invasion our waters are currently under. You can view these fish in the store. There are no real predators that consume these fish so Grills has taken matters into their own hands.

If you are unaware, lionfish are known for their poisonous barbs, however, once removed they are a delicious eating fish with a white flaky flesh. When available, Grill’s now serves these fish as an appetizer. They are served whole, Bahamian style with a dipping sauce and they are delicious! Let’s just say I am happy to do my part in decreasing the overall population of this invasive species! Although Sunrise Marina now showcases a completely new look, make no mistake about it, they understand where they came from and who helped drive their success over the years. The anglers and residents that continue to patronize the marina & restaurant will always be their top priority. So much so that the new set up for anglers will be very user friendly. You can pull right up in front of the old marina get your live bait, barrel of ice, cup of coffee, beer, pay inside and keep moving. They will be able to fit two boats side by side at a time for quick and easy service. Someone once told me the key to success is doing the ordinary, extraordinarily well. I truly believe this holds true with Joe, Robin, Chris and their entire team. So much so that in 2010 Grill’s Riverside was opened on US 1 in Pineda.


True to form, the views are incredible, the food is great and the drinks are right on time. Robin also shared with me that they are breaking ground on a new location on Lake Fairview in Orlando which backs up to College Park, my old stomping grounds. I believe the new restaurant, true to form, will be very well received. If you have not visited Sunrise Marina or Grill’s Restaurant and Tiki Bar at the port lately you are missing out. Stop in and have a cold beverage and a great meal. Tell them Damon sent you.