It is a Thursday in September. I am dreaming of turkey. No problem, because every Thursday throughout the year, Pepe’s Cafe offers a Thanksgiving style turkey dinner as a special. Admittedly, it had been awhile since I’d eaten here. But, with new owners and a turkey craving I decided to give it another shot.
Established in 1909, Pepe’s is the oldest restaurant on the island. One can tell from the rustic interior. It is pretty cool to think of the people that have enjoyed a meal here throughout the years. It is said that Hemingway used to dine here. And, according to a placard outside, President Harry Truman also enjoyed coffee at Pepe’s when he visited Key West during his presidency. In addition, I have also read that Beat Generation poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti dined here and actually wrote a poem in which he mentions Pepe’s Cafe.
We arrived just before 6pm and were seated inside. Although, the outdoor seating is nice and dog friendly. To start, we ordered a few appetizers which were half price since it was happy hour. We went with oysters, peel and eat shrimp, and fish dip. We did not have to wait long until our apps were brought out to us. Oysters were first. They were shucked very well and there is not too much more to say than that! Next, peel and eat shrimp. These were not overly seasoned and tasted good, but they were a bit overcooked. And, the fish dip, which I really enjoyed, was a nice portion size. Off to a good start!
Next, our turkey platters consisted of stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, peas, and a piece of cornbread. My platter had a lot of stuffing and not a lot of turkey while my husband’s plate had the opposite. The turkey was moist, and although a bit bland, a little salt helped it out. The corn bread, which I did not eat because my husband snaked mine before I got to it, was apparently delicious! I did miss cranberry sauce which was not included.
Pepe’s has several home made desserts available as well. We decided to try their home made key lime pie. This was the real star of the show. It was thick and delicious with just the right amount of tartness to sweetness ratio. This key lime pie was definitely one of the best I have tried on the island. So, put that on your list!
More About Pepe’s
Service was friendly and very good. And, the best part is that we ate all this for about $60 plus tip. That makes a pretty affordable dining experience for Key West. We will be back. Actually, there are a few very tempting items on their lunch menu that I would not mind trying.
Pepe’s Cafe, located at 806 Caroline Street, also served breakfast and lunch and has a full bar. Actually, they are probably most famous for their breakfast, which I remember being delicious. Oh, and let us not forget their fresh squeezed mimosas and screwdrivers! Yum! Plus, there is plenty of parking available at this end of Caroline Street. Access to parking makes coming here that much easier.
More About Key West
For more information about the fun side of Key West, things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site. And, remember to check out our restaurant reviews as you surely must eat while down here!
Island Genn – Key West Concierge