By Kiara Bush
Thanks to thoughtful suggestions from the community, the 2023 Best of Marathon Awards featured seven new categories, allowing us to honor previously unrecognized segments of our business community.
Best Wings – Driftwood Pizza, Pasta & Subs
Driftwood owner Tony Piscetello not only secured a new award category for his wings – he also recently unveiled a new location in Big Pine Key with Driftwood Express. He told the Weekly he’s ecstatic that Driftwood is now receiving recognition beyond its pizza. The restaurant offers an array of 20 different wing flavors, with Piscetello favoring either Ranch or Asian as his personal top picks.
Best Fishing Charter – Huntress Sportfishing
With a born-and-raised Keys captain in RD Goodman aboard a 47-foot Cabo Sport Flybridge vessel, Huntress has earned its place among Marathon’s fishing elite. Pictured, from left: Kristina Helms, Erika Goodman, XXXX.
Best Leisure Charter – Marathon Mermaid Charters
Known for its sandbar and sunset cruises, Marathon Mermaid’s offerings have exploded in popularity in just three years since its opening, and the charter company has opened its decks to numerous community groups and birthday parties the entire time. “The entire crew of the Marathon Mermaid would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the community of Marathon for recognizing us for Best Leisure Charter,” said owner Angela Tizzano. “It is incredibly meaningful to be acknowledged by the people who cherish this place as much as we do. We are blessed to be able to share our beautiful island that we love with so many people.”
Best Alternative Health Care Provider – Alex Belke
Dr. Alex Belke relocated to Marathon in 2020, leaving behind Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Just three years later, he’s officially known as Marathon’s Best Alternative Health Care Provider with Overseas Chiropractic. Belke expressed his fulfillment in serving a medium-sized community and reigniting his passion while connecting with the people of Marathon.
Best Pet Service – The Keys to Dog Training
Not to be outdone, Alex Belke’s wife Sharleen took home a new category win of her own with Best Pet Service for The Keys to Dog Training. “Winning Best Pet Service is an incredible honor. My relationship with my community runs deep – I was born here but moved away as a child,” she told the Weekly. “Coming back with my husband and starting two successful businesses is a dream come true. My goal when I started dog training was to help local families build healthy relationships with their dogs. I put my heart and soul into what I do seeking to operate with integrity, openness and a passion for helping dogs and humans alike.”
Best Thespian/Performing Artist – Allison Sayer
The inaugural Best Thespian award is fitting for actress Allison Sayer, who has served as an integral member of the Marathon Community Theatre for more than a decade. Immersed in the world of theater from a young age, Sayer garnered invaluable insights from her father Les White, who passed away in May after serving as a mentor for several actors in the Marathon community. Sayer said she carries with her the conviction that he watches over her with immense pride, celebrating her every achievement.
Not Pictured: Best Conch Fritters – Cracked Conch Cafe