Summer is the time to drive down to Key West. It's empty now, the streets and beaches quiet. Here's a list of places to eat on the drive down (or back up).
Robert Is Here Fruit Stand
Summer is perhaps the best time to hit up what should be a mainstay of any drive south of Miami: Robert is Here In these hottest months, this fruit market and shake shop fills up with local varieties of mangoes like Haydens and Kents, several local varieties of lychees, and the curiously-named puzzle of a fruit known as monstera deliciosa (let it ripen until the scales fall off and then scoop out the flesh, which tastes something like Froot Loops). The papaya-key lime shake is worth a stop by itself.
Address: 19200 SW 344th St., Homestead
Phone: (305) 246-1592
You'll find this friendly, impeccably-clean
sit-down taqueria attached to the Raceway gas station at the corner of
Palm Drive and Redland Road in Florida City (just a few blocks west of
Robert Is Here). Especially good are the tacos de suadero, fresh corn
tortillas topped with succulent, near-shredded chunks of beef short
rib. Also worth trying are the tortas--crusty Mexican sandwiches made
with any of the available taco meats--and the ceviche tostadas (when
available). The array of salsas and condiments at a bar near the
register borders on overwhelming.
Address: 961 W Palm Dr., Homestead
Phone: (305) 247-7552
the Atlantic Ocean is beautiful, especially when seen from any of the
bridges on the drive down the Keys. However, instead of hanging your
Palmcorder out of your sunroof or taking your eyes off the road for
dangerous amounts of time, why not actually stop? The upstairs patio at
Lazy Days in Islamorada
features an amazing view of the Atlantic as well as a fine fried fish
sandwich. Take in the resort atmosphere before spending the night in
your car in Key West.
Address: 79867 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada
Phone: (305) 664-5256
5 Brothers Grocery and Sandwich Shop 2
people may not realize that Key West's best Cuban coffee and sandwich
shop has another location, tucked back just off US1 in Ramrod Key.
Perhaps the best part about this second 5 Brothers location
is that they still make molletes on a regular basis. For those
unfamiliar, a mollete is a sandwich-length piece of Cuban bread that's
been hollowed out, stuffed with picadillo, sealed up, and then
deep-fried. Eat that behind the wheel!
Address: 27023 Overseas Hwy, Ramrod Key
Phone: (305) 872-0702
Hogfish Bar and Grill
Oddly enough, a place that feels like "old Key West" is located just outside of Key West itself. The Hogfish Bar and Grill
sits on the docks in Stock Island, just across the Cow Key Channel
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Bridge. You'll find the eponymous hogfish there in sandwich form, as
well as peel and eat Key West pinks, a pool table, and the occasional
cat prowling in from the docks.
Address: 6810 Front St., Stock Island
-- Nick Vagnoni