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.
Tangis Moroccan Pita
Green Pineapple Wellness Cafe, 1130 Duval St., Key West
Healthy food never tasted as good as it does at Green Pineapple Wellness Cafe on Duval Street. The Tangis Moroccan Pita features roasted sweet potato, pickled cucumber, purple cabbage, avocado, spiced pepitas, cilantro, Harissa aioli in a whole-grain, gluten-free pita.
Lemon, Basil & Blueberry Martini
Florida Steak & Lobster House, 3660 Overseas Hwy, Marathon
Bartender Cara O’Neill said you can give yourself a pat on the back if you order her Lemon, Basil & Blueberry Martini. “It’s refreshing, not too sweet, and with all those antioxidants, it’s good for you.” First she muddles the blueberries with lemon and sprigs of basil, then she combines the mixture with Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka, which is handcrafted in Austin in small batches. “Then it’s double-strained so it’s not chunky.” Oh, and the vodka is gluten-free. We’re talking practically a guilt-free martini here.
Manager Jennifer “Jenna” Towson
C&C Wood Fire Eats, 99201 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo
Jenna Towson of Wilmington, Delaware, has been a server at Key Largo’s C&C Wood Fire Eats, but she was doing such a bang-up job that she has just been promoted to manager. Co-owner Jill Atwell said, “She is very well liked in town.” We asked the likable gal a few questions:
1. How long have you been in the Keys?
Jenna: A collective 4 years.
2. What is your favorite part of the job?
Jenna: The relationships I make with all of my customers, both from near and far.
3. What was the last thing you watched on Netflix?
Jenna: The series Manifest.
4. What do you like to do in your off hours?
Jenna: My dog, Pinot, is my pride and joy, so I love hanging out with him.
5. What was the last thing you bought on Amazon?
Jenna: A guest bed for my house, wax for making candles and a telescope.
6. What’s the best life advice you’ve ever gotten?
Jenna: Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business. So just be yourself.