The Florida Keys boast some of the most iconic eateries and bars in the world. 

Creative culinary minds elevate local seafood to new levels and celebrate contemporary fusion, Cuban, Caribbean, Asian, French and other international influences. Our chain of islands is one of the world’s top food and drink destinations. 

But our magnetic appeal goes beyond the menu. The skilled professionals who define our local hospitality industry do much more than mix creative cocktails and serve delicious meals. These hard-working men and women are ambassadors, social directors, travel advisors and unlicensed — but often effective — therapists. 

To celebrate our unique culinary culture, Keys Weekly brings you this bi-weekly feature to highlight the  food, libations and local personalities that define our “must-try” destinations across the Florida Keys. 

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a fifth-generation local, your options are endless. Indulge in something new or revisit a familiar favorite. And above all, support the local owners and loyal employees who are vital to our Keys communities.

Lemon drop shots
Overseas Pub & Grill, Marathon

Bartender Brittany Cherkes of Marathon’s Overseas Pub & Grill is damn proud of her lemon drop shots. Sometimes, she can serve about 60 in one night. “My lemon drops are awesome. We’re a late night bar and don’t do many fancy cocktails.” Her shots may not be fancy, but she definitely creates them with care. “It’s muddled lemons, simple syrup and Tito’s, and I shake it like hell. It always comes with a sugar rim and lemon for garnish.”

Server at Mangrove Mike’s Cafe, Islamorada

How long have you been in the Keys? Since March 2010.

What’s your favorite part of the job? I love the fast pace and everyone who comes in is very friendly. It’s positive, fast and quick. And the people I work for are great.

What’s the best life advice you have ever received? My cousin said this: “When things don’t go right, go left.”

What was the last thing you watched on Netflix? The Outer Banks.

How do you relax when you’re off-duty?I garden. I hang out with my kids and do stuff in the yard. I have three boys, ages 10, 14 and 15.

What was your last order on Amazon? A crow collar for my rooster. (Laughs.) So my neighbors won’t be annoyed.

Stone Crab Tower
Alonzo’s, Key West

Seafood goes sky high at Alonzo’s Oyster Bar, on the waterfront in the A&B Marina complex, 700 Front St., Key West. 

With stone crabs now in season, Alonzo’s tops one of its trademark seafood towers with decadent large claws, served with their homemade Key lime mustard. 

Underneath the claws is an icy layer of oysters on the half shell and peel-n-eat Key West pink shrimp. Indulge at Alonzo’s.

If you would like to have the Weekly delivered to your mailbox or inbox along with our daily news blast, please subscribe here.