Key Biscayne's long-time diner the Donut Gallery might be a tiny, unassuming place, but it's the kind of joint where you can meet lots of big-name people. Former Key Biscayne resident and President Nixon crony Bebe Rebozo was said to be a frequent patron. Federal prosecutor Dick Gregorie has been known to enjoy a pancake or two. Career Crandon Park lifeguards claim seats at the counter, as do charter boat captains and pro golf caddies. About the only thing you probably won't find at the Donut Gallery is ... a doughnut. "There's almost no doughnuts, there's just like a box of Krispy Kremes," says Sherryl Woods. A onetime TV critic for the Miami News and best-selling author, who is fast approaching publishing her 100th book, Woods should know. She's been a regular at the diner since moving to the Key in the 1980s. "There's people to talk to about everything under the sun," she notes. "For somebody who does writing and is isolated so much, it's a wonderful place because you feel like you're really tapped into everything."
Woods is such an admirer of the Donut Gallery, where she partakes of scrambled eggs and cheese or, in high-carb moments, a bagel and cream cheese, that it has seeped into her work. Her latest novel, Flamingo Diner, takes inspiration from her beloved breakfast place. Set in a fictional Florida town called Winter Cove, the story concerns a family-run eatery that also serves as a community meeting place. Unlike the real-life restaurant, though, the owners are struck by tragedy and a mystery is left to be unraveled.
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One thing that's not puzzling to Woods is her love of Key Biscayne. Drawn to the water, she spends winters there and resides the rest of the year in Colonial Beach, Virginia, where she also runs Potomac Sunrise, her own independent bookstore. Would she ever consider taking over the Donut Gallery if need be? "Oh, no!" she guffaws. "I have enough trouble trying to figure out how to keep a bookstore afloat -- and I understand that!"