If anything is worth an extended drive south on U.S. 1, this is it. Blond Giraffe creates the pinnacle of key lime pie: heavenly peaks of meringue atop a silky pie filling with just the right sweetness-to-tang ratio, held together by a buttery crust. Owners Roberto Madeira and Tania Beguinati opened the shop in Key West in 1999 — but as a small vegetarian restaurant. When the two decided to add a dessert to their otherwise healthy menu, they called on a treasured family recipe for key lime pie. The dish became a huge hit and an overnight sensation after it beat 17 other varieties in a Key West contest. Soon, Madeira and Beguinati renamed the store "Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory." They moved to the Tavernier location in 2014. Though its bright-green walls and shack-like structure feel like a neighborhood joint, Blond Giraffe is far from a local secret. Their pie has earned repeated appearances on Food Network and acclaimed mentions in national publications, including Southern Living and National Geographic Traveler. A full pie costs $18.25 — settle for a single piece only if it's the signature frozen dark-chocolate-dipped slice on a stick ($4.95). Blond Giraffe is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.