Curator's Corner

Patricia Murphy's Candlelight Restaurant

The Leasing of Bahia Mar

Patricia Murphy - A Story by Candlelight

Patricia Murphy was the proprietor, creative mind, hostess, and landscaper of Patricia Murphy’s Candlelight Restaurant. Patricia Murphy was born and raised in a small fishing village in Newfoundland. By her own account she had a loving childhood where she helped her father man the general store which is where she first uncovered her love of sales. She would eventually leave her town in 1928 to make her way to New York City to pursue a career in music, specifically the piano. This career path died almost as soon as she set foot in the Big Apple.

Patricia had 60 dollars in a savings account in 1929, 60 dollars which she invested in a little basement in Brooklyn. Patricia would turn this basement into her first Candlelight Restaurant. A restaurant built on the idea of serving good food at the price a woman could cook it at home for. A restaurant that would net 50 dollars a day during the Depression.

“Atmosphere” was one of the draws to the Candlelight Restaurant. People came for the good food and prices (45-cent lunch and 65 or 85-cent dinner), but always exclaimed about the atmosphere. The “party spirit” groups or individuals would find themselves in. Atmosphere and popovers were what the Candlelight Restaurant became known for.

By the end of her career, Patricia Murphy had opened a Candlelight Restaurant in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Manhasset, Long Island, Yonkers, Westchester, Deerfield Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. Patricia Murphy built herself a brand. A brand that for a moment in time stretched out from Florida, from Fort Lauderdale, from Bahia Mar.

Shortly after construction began on the new restaurant, Patricia Murphy’s Corporation sold all its shares to an investment group, the group taking over the lease of the marina. However, the restaurant continued to operate as Patricia Murphy’s’ Candlelight Restaurant and Patricia would remain involved with the running for more than a decade.

During her time managing the Bahia Mar restaurant, Patricia was also managing the Westchester restaurant. A simpler task as she was also a pilot with her own Cessna, “Miss Tango”. Patricia would fly between New York and Florida, bringing plants back and forth to continue to build atmosphere within her restaurants.

Patricia Murphy fully retired, selling her restaurants and business interests by 1977. Her home in Stuart, Florida was sold in 1967 and she rented a home in Harbor Beach area of Fort Lauderdale where she remained until her death in 1979. Her autobiography, “Glow of Candlelight”, was deeply encouraged by her husband, but not seriously written until years after his death.

Bahia Mar Candlelight Restaurant

Inside the Menu

Bahia Mar Candlelight Restaurant