FOOD TRUCKS EMERGING ONTO THE DINING SCENE – UPPER KEYS TABLE

They’re making their presence known throughout the Upper Keys island chain (and no, we’re not talking food chains). Everything from luscious barbecue pulled pork and authentic Mexican food to hot, fresh doughnuts are served out of these joints into the hands of hungry patrons.  

Call it a food truck frenzy. From Key Largo to Upper Matecumbe, the rapidly growing cuisine machines add to a long list of eating options for visitors and locals. For families with busy schedules, it’s a viable option that’ll bring the “mmm” sounds to the table. Visitors needing to make a quick food stop as they traverse the Keys have some food trucks to choose from. 

MIKE’S BBQ 

A stomach-satisfying barbecue is no longer difficult to find thanks to Mike’s BBQ 101 food truck in Key Largo. Owner Mike Porcari made his entrance into the Keys food scene in early 2018. He wields more than 20 years of culinary experience and is mastering his own barbecue brand. Finger-licking feasts include the Carolina pulled pork, Texas beef brisket and BBQ chicken, to name just a few. Love ribs? A half rack or full rack of Mike’s won’t disappoint. Side item choices include macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans, green beans, corn bread, chips, or a roll. All are made from scratch.

SANDBAR DOUGHNUTS

Situated on the property of Sundiver Station in Key Largo, this charming little donut truck is taking the area by storm. Open during the weekends, hot and fresh donuts are made to order. Some 15 different flavors are available from Fruity Pebbles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch to chocolate bacon and Key lime. This food truck owned by Paula and Jordan Quade burst onto the scene in May 2021. Now, it’s the spot to go for a donut and gourmet coffee. 

TACOS JALISCO

What can we say. With one food truck on the grounds of Key Largo Chocolates and the other at Florida Keys Brewing Co., Tacos Jalisco is arguably the busiest lunch spot during the week. From quesadillas and tacos to chips and salsa, all ingredients are handmade. Hungry and thirsty? Order a taco, grab a beer and enjoy it all at the Florida Keys Brewing Co. garden. Hungry and got a sweet tooth? Order a burrito and stroll over to grab some ice cream at Key Largo Chocolates. 

BRAD’S FOOD TRUCK

It’s one of the newer food joints emerging onto the scene in Tavernier. Located at the Florida Keys Dive Center, Owner Brad Epstein and co-chef Sergio Valle serve up some of the freshest subs on freshmade bread. Subs come with a special touch of ingredients. For instance, the steak and cheese uses a special sweet pepper mix. The buffalo chicken sub (Brad’s favorite) uses a homemade sauce. There’s also the club sub that comes stacked with meats and cheese. 

ROADSIDE BBQ AT GREEN TURTLE 

If you haven’t tried this place on your way through Islamorada, you’re missing out. Opening roughly two years ago, the Roadside BBQ at Green Turtle offers up some of the best barbecue around. Coming fresh off the grill are BBQ chicken, BBQ pulled pork, smoked ribs and sausage. With sweet, creamy coleslaw, baked beans, southern style potato salad and collard greens as sides, it’s everything you want and more in a barbecue.

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Jim McCarthy is a northerner who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since his graduation from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 3 years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. Behind every community is resiliency and resolve in difficult times. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim serves as President of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. “It’s a group that lives by the motto ‘Service Above Self,’” he says. “We’ve done service projects at the Tavernier nursing home, sitting down and socializing with residents. “We’ve also supplied cameras to young students exploring the Keys ecosystem.” Jim loves sports, family and time exploring underneath the water depths.