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.

Key Largo Fish Tacos
Capt. Craig’s Restaurant, Tavernier

For good food, prices and service, drop in to Capt. Craig’s for lunch favorites like the Key Largo fish tacos. Inside the corn tortillas are slaw, shredded cheese, baja sauce and pico de gallo. 

Located at MM 90.1 in Tavernier, the restaurant is known for delicious and creative sandwiches, seafood menu features fresh local grouper, yellowtail snapper and mahi-mahi as well as Florida Keys specialties and creative dinner choices along with innovative fresh salads, an excellent selection of wine and the coldest draft beer anywhere.

Capt. Craig’s is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Strawberry Basil Lemonade
Sloppy Joe’s Dockside at The Perry, Key West

Neighborhood lemonade stands would have been a lot more profitable if this version was available. 

Decidedly adult and perfectly refreshing, the Strawberry Basil Lemonade from Sloppy Joe’s Dockside at The Perry Hotel  is made with Grey Goose Strawberry & Lemongrass Essence vodka, with muddled, fresh strawberries, fresh basil and real lemon juice.

“The sweetness from the strawberry really blends well with the fresh lemon juice and basil,” said bartender Matty Weinmann. 

Sloppy Joe’s Dockside at The Perry is located on the waterfront at The Perry Hotel and is open from 3 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The hours will expand as the weather cools off, so check their website and Facebook for updated hours.

Shannon Hammett 
Bartender at Castaway Waterfront Restaurant, Marathon

How long have you been in the Florida Keys? Two years.

What is your favorite part of the job? The customers and the people I work with. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be part of owner John Mirabella’s team. It’s grown so much since my husband, chef Bo Hammett, and I have come here.

What’s the best life advice you’ve ever gotten? Be kind. Always be kind. And keep moving forward.

What do you do to relax during your downtime? We love to fish. Every Wednesday night is our date night, and we have a nice dinner.

What’s the last thing you watched on Netflix? White Lotus. And we were so tired, we fell asleep.

What’s the last thing you ordered on Amazon? (Laughs) Pee pads for our dog. Extra large.

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