Sharon Silva bopped in to the… shall we say… ‘boutique for cuisine conscious,’ looking for a Christmas gift for her husband.
“He’s Brazilian. He does all of the cooking,” Silva says as she pores over the pots and eyes the aisles of accessories.
The couple owns the UPS store in Marathon and Sharon prefers to shop “small town.”
“I think they have a nicer variety here, and it’s a much more quaint atmosphere… a hometown atmosphere, and you get the attention you need to find the items you’re looking for.”
“If it’s sold in Wal-Mart. We don’t have it,” insists Richard Tallmadge, a Lansing, Michigan native who bought The Restaurant Store with his wife, Cathy. They moved to the island in 1988 after meeting in Fort Lauderdale. “This is where you come for the kitchen. It’s just the best.”
Talmadge first leads The Weekly over to the Big Green Egg. “It’s a slow cooker, a smoker, and it’s also a bar-b-q,” he explains the cooking contraption. “”It’ll heat up to 700° and cook as low as 180°.”
Just by using lump charcoal.
“It’s just the bomb,” Richard raves. Suggesting “the egg” as one of those top-of-the-line-gifts for the grilling enthusiast, perfect for smoking a Christmas ham.
He also has stocking stuffers like spatulas, cookie cutters, and glassware to glam up your table. Settings, which aren’t super expensive.
“There’s such cool stuff here,” Silva admits. The Weekly can’t disclose what she’s shopping for because her beau, Arto will be reading this before the 25! But we can say the gift will give the businesswoman more time with her four-year old.
Perhaps the allure at this store is being able to handle the merchandise.
“You know, that’s the trouble with buying stuff online,” Richard points out. “You can’t see the quality until you get your hands around it.”
Regardless of how well-equipped the holiday host and hostesses seem to think they are. There is always a panic.
Tallmadge laughs, “It can be as mundane as a turkey baster or a meat thermometer. The tool is just any and everything and that’s why we try to keep a nice breadth of product!”
When the non-stick roasting pans are sold out that means Talmadge is done for the year.
Sharon Silva is a small business owner herself in the Middle Keys and she appreciates the hometown atmosphere of The Restaurant Store when shopping for gifts or kitchen necessities. “I’m just going to browse and look for some cute, little gifts!”
Richard & Crew
Owner Richard Talmadge with his employees Marilyn Boerema and Sarah McGuigan.
“We have god, quality kitchen gadgets, and a lot of holiday baking and cooking essentials,” notes McGuigan.
What are the holidays without a gingerbread man to decorate? The Restaurant Store stocks sturdy, copper cookie cutters to appease the Betty Crocker’s in all of us! “We have Santas, angels… anything for the holidays! Even lobsters and dolphins. Those are big down here!” remarks Talmadge!
The Restaurant Store is situated on Eaton Street in Old Town Key West. Sharing his business philosophy Talmadge says, “Here you can buy commercial grade products, and it lasts forever. If you come in and say, ‘I can buy that for less at Wal-Mart,’ I will chase you out the door!” The location, visibility, and parking lot make the store easy to access.