Story & Photos by Josie Koler
Two familiar faces on our island have entered into the sea of entrepreneurs! Fred Isch is the bartender at Seven Fish. His partner, Scot Foreste is the former assistant to Melissa at the Mel Fisher Museum!
The two, formerly from Cincinnati’s Bearcat country, had a vision for a neighborhood restaurant featuring family recipes.
“I doubt we’ll ever be a hot spot for tourists,” Isch explains matter-of-factly.
But The Buoy definitely has the makings of becoming a hot spot for locals.
“My favorite nights,” Scot informs us, “are when the tables are full and everyone goes from table to table because they know everyone.”
As Tom Waits plays from the sound system and a dish of Lobster Mac & Cheese is in front of the Key West Weekly, we pry for more details about the location and the theme.
Fred, who exudes friendliness and sophistication only those who log extensive hours in high-end restaurants can seem to capture says Lobster Thermidor is from his mother’s recipe box.
“You take a Florida Lobster Tail,” Scot describes from behind the dimly lit bar.
Elephant ears fan out from a 2 ½ galloon water cooler jug. “Bake it. Pull the tail meat out, and with a little cream, and spiced portabella mushrooms, you do a little bread crumb top and bake ‘til it’s finished!”
Scot is an English major hailing from the Northern Kentucky University. He claims to have escaped from the region via “hot air balloon.” When he and Fred designed the menu, he wanted the items to read like a Key West story, complete with accompanying music.
“I have 17,000 songs in my iPod. I picked 1,500 to play in here; ranging from sexy French music, to hot south American…even Tina Turner,” Scot explains.
Interestingly, The Buoy may be the island’s first restaurant operating on a MAC system.
“We’re waiting for the iPad. The waitress will be able to come up to the tables and take an order with an iPhone or an iPad and send to our iMac operating system.”
A snazzy system somehow making the Fresh Catch with Banana Salsa even more flavorsome.
“I always have a nice Pinot Noir. Mount Difficulty is one of my favorites to pair with our dishes,” says Isch.
As he sends out an Avocado Cheesecake from the kitchen to a nearby baby shower, claiming his mom and brother know how to do a cheesecake with any kind of fruit, Isch let’s us in on the finish that makes this new eatery claim its name “The Flaming Buoy Filet Co!”
“We’ll also do a dark Chocolate Quesadilla with a scoop of Tahitian vanilla ice cream, drizzled with a relatively spicy chili-pepper infused chocolate sauce.”
A saucy end to a swanky meal!
The Flaming Buoy Filet Co. is located at 1100 Packer Street and is open for lunch and dinner. To make a reservation call 295•7970, delivery is free!
Old Town and Mid Town residents can walk or bike to the new bistro at 1100 Packer Street to dine inside or outside on the wrap-a-round porch. Jimmy Weekley tells the new owners the building was also his Grandmother’s first grocery store!
Owner Fred Isch describes the wine lost as a compilation of “boutique wines.” Pictured is a Hungarian dessert wine served room temperature. Disznoko 6 Puttonyos Tokaji Aszu has flavors of honey and apricot with a green tea finish!
Partners in business and partners in life, Scot Forste (left) and Fred Isch have personal touches dotting the dining room to create a unique ambiance. They’re pictured with a print depicting the sperm whale in Moby Dick, Forste’s “all-time favorite novel!”
Before moving to Key West Isch sold high-end art and children’s toys at a Cincinnati boutique, “The Fifth Elephant.” He had his old ties made into pillows and then covered The Buoy’s bar stools with the neckwear.
Ring it up pro
The Buoy is in the beginning stages of going paperless with Apple’s iPhones and iPads. The app is called Ring It Up Pro! “You just tap on the menu for what the diner wants,” the tech-savvy Isch explains.