Christos Iordanou might agree that the movie Roadhouse with Patrick Swayze could describe the changes that have occurred over the years at Malarky's, a restaurant and nightclub at 147 Flindt Dr. in Storm Lake.
When he first bought Malarky's 11 years ago, Iordanou inherited a host of challenges. The community was on the threshold of a host of growing pains. Many diversity issues had yet to be entirely addressed.
"We used to have a lot of problems," Christos said.
Iordanou and his wife, Jeannie, took a good, hard look at what needed to be changed. The result was a much-improved Malarky's restaurant and nightclub, an establishment that caters to various generations, young and old alike.
The Iordanou's have just recently completed remodeling of an expanded dining section that brings diners out on an elevated area toward the dance floor of the only dance club in northwestern Iowa, featuring large-screen videos and light show. Diners can feast on Malarky's delicious fare or observe the crowd over the brass railing reminiscent of yesteryear, but with a modern twist. There is also a lighted bar somewhat reminiscent of what one may have seen in another film, with Tom Cruise.
Those who wish for the days when dining was an event need to wish no longer. Malarky's restaurant serves meals from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. Malarky's features upscale yet reasonable entrees that are found in few restaurants anymore, including Texas T-bone, ribeye, top sirloin, and steak and shrimp. Seafood offerings include fantail shrimp, seafood combo, baked cod, chicken and shrimp, and Alaskan walleye. Pasta offerings include the chef special, an eight-ounce ground sirloin with a side of spaghetti; chicken marinara, veal parmesan, spaghetti with meatballs, and chicken fettucini. Hors d'oeuvres include such varied snacks as jalapeno cheese sticks, buffalo wings, combo baskets, and shrimp, chicken, and cod baskets.
Probably one of the biggest changes the Iordanous have made is improving the Malarky's environment. People can still have a good time, but in a safer environment than what one have found in earlier days.
"We keep an eye open and if there's a problem, we call the police," Iordanou said. "This is a great environment I think for Storm Lake. I think Malarky's is a great asset to the community and especially for Storm Lake."
Iordanou said a number of other business owners have told him that they enjoy a weekend spinoff from the college crowd that Malarky's keeps in town over the weekend, preventing BVU from having the onus of a "suitcase college".
"I believe Malarky's is holding at least 300 to 400 people in town every weekend," Christos said.
In order to help ensure that BVU students are having a safe but fun time, Malarky's has donated $5,000 to the RIDES-Regional Transit Authority bus to discourage student drinking and driving.
Another big factor in improving customer safety is a metal detector at the door and a tight screening system in which minors and those 21 and over have their hands marked to ensure that no minors are served.
As a result, Malarky's has had only two violations for selling to minors in the last 11 years, an outstanding track record considering the mountains of fake IDs that have been confiscated over the years.
"We don't sell to minors," Christos said. And while they're welcome to enjoy the dance floor, minors had better not try to get served alcohol at Malarky's.
"I work with the police," Christos said. "I think they do a good job."
In addition, Malarky's has its own staff to help keep things in order.
Malarky's has a zero tolerance policy for anyone fighting at the establishment. "They're out of here for life," Christos said. "I will not let them in here again. We're here to help keep things under control."
While some people may believe that all that college students want to do is drink and party, Christos said that is not the case at all with the BVU students that come in the door. "Some don't drink at all here," Christos said. "They just like to dance."
Malarky's welcomes those who want to book family or company parties. Call 732-2055 if you would like to set aside room for your group.