Key West Stories and Tips

Let's Talk About Food!

Conch Fritters Stand at Mallory Square Photo, Key West, Florida

Let's talk about food; the most famous local food of Key West.

It is the official dessert of Florida Keys and Key West. Traditionally, this pie is made from the juice of the Key lime. This lime will give the pie a yellow color. It must never be pastel green, if it is, you can be sure it isn’t a real Key Lime Pie. Limes are related to lemons and are hard to come by, even in the Keys. I love the Key Lime Pie. It’s delicious, fresh, it’s just a perfect pie. It’s hard to make this pie at home, because in The Netherlands we haven’t the right ingredients. That’s why we order this pie several times during our holiday in Florida. You can’t leave Key West before you’ve tried a piece of Key Lime Pie.

Every restaurant in the Florida Keys, and especially in the city of Key West, serves this delicious pie. Many restaurants claims to have the best Key Lime Pie of the city. I’m not that specialized to give you the name of the restaurant who has the best pie. You have to try it yourself.

Many Florida Keys businesses also sell related Key Lime products, like candies, beverages, cookies, etc. There is a store, Kermit's Key Lime Shop, that sells everything related to the Key Lime. The store is located at 200A Elizabeth Street. (In 'Old Town' at the corner of Elizabeth & Greene.) It’s a funny shop where you can buy Key Lime Chocolate Balls, Key Lime Syrup, Key Lime Pie candy, Key Lime Cookbook, Key Lime Pie Kit and you can even spend your money on Key Lime Moisturizer (bath & body).

Website of Kermit's Key Lime Shop:

Did I already convince you to try a piece of Key Lime Pie? Yes? Good, because once you tasted the real Key Lime Pie you don’t want anything else!

Another local food of the ‘Conch Republic’ is like the name says a conch. First of all, let me tell you how to pronounce conch: KONK. It’s that simple, but on the street I hear differently. Conch is a local favorite and it also refers to a native of Key West (someone born on the island). Conch is the meat of a shellfish. There are many ways to prepare food with conch as an ingredient. For example conch chowder or fried, like conch fritters. Most restaurants have conch fritters and conch chowder on the menu. Why not give a try?

If you want to try conch fritters you can go to a restaurant or you can go to the original Conch Fritter Stand at Mallory Square. (This stand operates since circa 1934.) They sell a half-dozen conch fritters made with onions, green and red peppers, celery and about 15 different spices. Then fried and served with key lime mustard sauce. Are you hungry yet?

Note: It is illegal to take live conch in U.S. waters.

When reading about this famous local food, you know what to do… First order some conch fritters as an appetizer. Then enjoy the fresh fish the island has to offer. Finish your meal with a piece of Key Lime Pie.

We are not done yet. Gentlemen, nothing compliments a great dinner better than a fine cigar! In Duval street, you'll find the Key West Havana Cigar Factory. Here you can relax in the island atmosphere. There you can sit on the porch and watch the people go by. Other cigar stores that are worth a visit are Old Key West Cigar Factory, you’ll find this shop in "Cigar Alley", it's almost a museum of old-style cigar items and Rodriguez Cigar Factory, owned and operated by Cuban rollers who remember Key West's cigar days.

Every country has local specialties. When traveling, try these specialties, it makes your journey complete!

The French says: Bon appétit
The Germans says: Guten appetit
In my country I say: Eet Smakelijk
For all those who are traveling to the USA: Enjoy your meal!

Been to this destination?

Share Your Story or Tip