Planning a Trip to Key West?
Debbie and I have lived in Key West since 1992. There is much to be excited about as you plan a getaway to one of America’s most unique destinations. Key West is a small, laid back, tropical island. Plan your trip to avoid the often cool January and the August/September tropical storm season. Delta flies jets in from Atlanta. A nice option, if you have the time, is to fly into Miami, rent a car, and drive down the Keys. Stop at mile marker #81 at the World Wide Sportsman for lunch on the fish pier next door. Do not drive down the Keys late in the day or at night. Duval Street, the home of Sloppy Joes, is largely a tourist trap. We are rarely on Duval Street, except to eat at Antonia’s, Banana Café, or Croissants de France.
I have intelligence for you on two recently opened businesses that Key West locals have embraced with the very ultimate enthusiasm. Debbie and I are regulars at both and are excited to let you in on the great culinary news.
Eaton Street Seafood Market
Eaton Street Seafood Market is centrally located in the waterfront area of Old Town, not far from our favorite Island City House, as well as Pepe’s, Half Shell Raw Bar, Waterfront Market, Schooner Wharf Bar, Blue, and Paradise Café. We buy locally caught Key West pinks (shrimp), tuna, hogfish (a don’t-miss rarity), grouper, snapper, and the ultimate delicacy-stone crabs. Along with the Key’s best and freshest seafood is a nice array of all the compliments your gang will need for the ultimate Key West tropical feast.
Eaton Street Seafood Market owners Sean and Andrea ice fish for us for our trips to Naples-a nice convenience. Just one stop at Easton Street Seafood Market will convince you that you have chosen wisely to vacation in America’s only tropical island, just 90 miles from Cuba.
And when looking to rent in Key West, ask your realtor to set you up so that you can walk to Seven Fish, The Good Life, Michaels, Café Marquesa, and Sarah Beth’s, as well as to my group above. You will not need a car for your tropical getaway in America’s Southernmost City.
(A catchy name for Key West’s best, by a country mile, organic pit stop for breakfast, lunch, afternoon pick-me-up, or early evening-on-the-run light dinner.) The organic hand-pressed juices are unmatched. The vitalizing salads, nourishing bowls (like Key West Coconut Curry), and wraps (like Organic Chicken Salad) are delicious. Also on tap are one-of-a-kind power breakfasts (like the organic 3 Egg Omelet or homemade granola), the No Moo (no kidding) Ice Cream, or the awesome smoothies (like the Happy Monkey). Makes me ravenous just writing about it! OK, so you can see we’re on board and just about as bias as one can be.
And if you are in town as a homeowner or renter, the icing on the cake is Sunday’s organic farmer’s market at Help Yourself. Stuff goes fast, so get there early. And you might even run into Jimmy Buffet, whose Shrimp Boat Sound Studios is just down the street on the wharf next to Key West’s best outside music venue Schooner Bar (noon ‘till late). Have fun.
Dick in Front of B.O.’s Fishwagon
This picture was taken in front of B.O.’s Fishwagon on the corner of Caroline and William Street in Old Town Key West’s waterfront. B.O.’s is right across the street from my highly favored Pepe’s, a stone’s throw from Key West’s best outdoor waterside music bar, and a block from the #1 place for stone crabs and shrimp The Half Shell Raw Bar.
I have known BO’s Key West legendary owner Buddy Owen for over a decade and always mention BO’s on my short list of places you must hit while in Key West. Try the cracked conch or fish sandwich on Cuban bread with Bo’s special sauce and don’t miss out on the side of conch fritters and BO’s fries. On Friday from 6 to 9, you can check out Barry Cuda and the Sharks for old time 40s/50s/60s New Orleans-style rhythm and blues.
Dick and Pepe’s Owner Allan Miller
Dick with long time owner Allan Miller in front of Pepe’s. A first stop for Key West locals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or simply Allans $1 draft beers and roasted oysters.
Allan is one of our oldest Key West friends. We’ve known him almost from the first time we came to Key West nearly twenty years ago. Every Sunday night is Barbecue night.
Every Thursday is Thanksgiving with roasted turkey. The porkchop smothered steak is a monster. I love the black bean soup and salads, and the broiled chicken is super. Pepe’s is right across the street from my highly favored B.O.’s Fishwagon. Hit both for a real taste of Key West from the old days and have a lot of fun!