Marker 7 Coastal Grill, Athens’ newest seafood restaurant, opened March 1, but not everything about the grill is brand new. The house it’s located in is nearly a century old.
Nestled in the corner of South Lumpkin Street and South Milledge Avenue, Marker 7 exists in an old house, which owner Chris Lloyd said was built circa 1920. After owning the Hilltop Grille in downtown Athens for 10 years, Lloyd approached the owner of the house after it was included as part of an historic district.
“I knew the concept that I wanted for the food and the inside and outside,” Lloyd said, who had the property rezoned to turn the house into a restaurant.
“There’s really not a place like this in Athens,” he said. “You can go downtown to an old building, but not in an old house. You see a lot of that in Atlanta.”
The house gives the restaurant a cozy feel. Though there’s only seating for 40 people on the inside, the deck that overlooks South Milledge Avenue and South Lumpkin Street not only gives the restaurant more seating, but also a place for people to get fresh air.
“In this part of the country, nine months of the year you can sit out on the deck,” he said. “In Five Points, people like to sit outside. The deck works real well here.”
The menu, the most important part of the restaurant, is different than the Hilltop Grille, even though they always have seafood.
“It’s a steakhouse,” Lloyd said. “I did not want to compete with myself. I knew I could do a lower price menu with seafood. I didn’t want to charge $25, $30 a head to eat here.”
Instead, Lloyd wants college students and young couples on a budget to know that they can come to Marker 7 and eat well for less.
Marker 7 has two different menus – lunch and dinner.
The menu has starters such as fried clam strips, catfish nuggets and Buffalo shrimp. They also have various types of oyster dishes from raw, steamed, oysters Rockefeller with watercress, garlic and shallot, oysters casino with red pepper, butter and bacon and oysters Bienville with white wine, cream, mushrooms and shrimp.
They also have sandwiches such as cheeseburgers and chicken sandwiches, salads, soup and baskets with such favorites as shrimp, oysters, chicken tenders and catfish.
But the most popular item, according to Lloyd, are fish tacos.
“We sell a ton of them,” Lloyd said. “I like fish tacos, but there’s a lot of other stuff on the menu like oysters or shrimp. People love the fish tacos. They love the fish tacos over the shrimp tacos.”
Lloyd’s favorite dish at Marker 7 is the Reuben sandwich.
“Outside of that, the oysters are great here,” he said. “I’ll eat them raw typically. We dress them up and do them different ways, too.”
The dinner menu at Marker 7 adds such favorites as shrimp and Andouille sausage over grits, red pepper shrimp with stuffed crab, Cuban spiced braised mahi mahi, mojo spiced chicken breast or the catch of the day.
According to Lloyd, Marker 7 will start serving softshell crabs soon since they are coming into season.
While right now, Lloyd gets shrimp from the Georgia coast and oysters from the Gulf of Mexico region, he said that they look around at various places.
“We’ll go anywhere,” he said. “We have a connection called Honolulu Fish. Within 24-hours, we’ll get fresh fish from Hawaii flown in.”
Marker 7 Coastal Grill
1195 South Milledge Ave.
Hours: Monday: 4-11 p.m.; Tuesday-Saturday: 11 a.m. – midnight; Sunday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
By Karah-Leigh Hancock