It is no secret that with time comes an abundance of change, and the culinary scene of Key Biscayne no exception. Thirty years can do a lot to a village, and the streets of Crandon Boulevard have seen many eateries come and go. Despite this, it’s not too difficult to recall where you would have gone to eat some time ago.
For instance, the early 90s of Key Biscayne heralded the English Pub, a “hub” of continental cuisine, known to be fond of adding a bit of flair to their newspaper advertisements. Or, if you happened to be feeling a little more casual, Blimpie’s boasted America’s Best-Dressed Sandwich and the air of legitimacy that could be generated by preparing their famous subs right in front of your eyes.
The protein-oriented could find solace in Chicky’s Flame Roasted Chicken, and, for those with more of a sweet tooth, Jean and Gene’s offered a Giant Oatmeal Cookie on Fridays and Saturdays.
Another local favorite was The Snackerrie on the beach at the Sonesta Beach Resort & Hotel. Longtime resident Carolyn Koslen calls it her "favorite restaurant growing up. They made fantastic burgers, footlong hotdogs and had the best potato salad ever."
No matter your bias, you could have found something to satiate your hunger around Key Biscayne. And while this is still true, the names on the logos have changed drastically.
Granted, not all have succumbed to the hands of time and have managed to keep the taste that attracted customers in the first place. Even in our current economic climate, Sir Pizza has stayed open through it all, proving that those who best adapt are the ones who survive.
The only other establishment that has remained open all 30 years is the Donut Gallery, and anyone can attest that they’ve hardly changed. This goes for the diner’s setup as well as their mouthwatering selection of food.
And of course, there was Stefano’s, located in what is now the entry block. It was THE place for locals and visitors coming across the causeway to gather. Betty Sime Conroy, an integral part of the island’s incorporation movement, recalls a “crowd of us met at Stephano’s to hear the election results” on June 18, 1991, when the incorporation vote took place.
No matter their means, it goes without saying that residents all over the island of Key Biscayne are grateful for the end. And if we’re lucky, both restaurants will survive another 30 years, the two sturdiest anchors in our local culinary scene.
And while the names might have changed, one constant remains -- the taste of Key Biscayne serves as a sumptuously unifying community feature.