The new owner of a Key West restaurant has brought a fresh philosophy, quite literally, to the corner of Duval and Angela streets.
Rob Patterson had done well in his professional life — marketing, retail and restaurants in Chicago and Fort Myers.
“Then I decided I was tired of making money for other people and wanted to open my own business,” said Patterson, who bought Key West Fish & Chips in May, when the restaurant was closed due to the COVID shutdown. “I was looking for a place to do a food truck business, and I’d been coming to Key West for 30 years. I had always planned to retire here, but then this place became available and I decided to make it happen with support from my parents, who are partners in the business.”
Key West Fish & Chips, 633 Duval St., is an ideal combination of food truck and traditional restaurant with an outdoor courtyard and table service. The food truck is the kitchen and giant umbrellas keep the courtyard dining area constantly cool.
“We serve fish and chips baskets, but instead of frozen fish filets, we use nearly all fresh, locally caught fish that was caught by local fishermen and is delivered to us daily,” Patterson said.
The menu does include some items that aren’t available locally, such as snow crab, calamari and golden-fried haddock. But nearly everything else was swimming in Keys waters just a few days before it’s served as baskets or sandwiches: yellowtail snapper, mahi mahi and Key West pink shrimp are always on the menu. Grouper and wahoo are additional options when they’re available. The menu also includes a lobster salad roll and a snow crab roll served hot or cold.
“Any fish basket or sandwich can be served grilled, blackened or fried and comes with fries or rice,” Patterson said. “We make all our sauces in-house, from our secret Key West sauce to a sweet chipotle, spicy mango salsa and a garlic aioli.”
“Our tacos can be made with fish, shrimp or chicken and on Taco Tuesdays, they’re always two for $6,” Patterson said.
But don’t let the name fool you. Key West Fish & Chips also takes care of its landlubbers and non-seafood fanatics.
“Our burgers, hot dogs, chicken tacos and flatbreads with pizza toppings are hugely popular and made with equally fresh ingredients,” Patterson said. “I honestly try not to freeze anything.”
The restaurant serves a wide selection of beer and wine, along with margaritas, frozen and on the rocks, made from agave wine products.
“You won’t believe that they’re not made from actual tequila. They’re strong and they’re delicious.”
Key West Fish & Chips is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday, from 11 to 11; and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight. Once the busier winter season starts, the restaurant will stay open until 2 a.m., Patterson said.
Order online for takeout and check their Facebook page for daily specials.