The Seaside Cafe at the Southernmost Mansion – Review

The Seaside Cafe is located on the grounds of the Southernmost House. This historic building has been converted from a one bedroom mansion to a gorgeous guest house and a free museum. The street beside the mansion has been turned into a park of sorts, where people can mill around and enjoy the sound of the water lapping at the coast and walk between the Southernmost Mansion and the Southernmost Beach Resort. If you are not staying in the immediate area, you can park just a few steps away at the paid parking lot next to the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory like we did.

The Restaurant

The Seaside Cafe at the Southernmost Mansion is so much more than what I expected. It is a family-owned and operated island eatery overlooking the gorgeous waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Actually, I was very surprised when my friend Pam and I walked up to the hostess stand to be seated; I really did think that it was just a food truck on the property grounds. But there is plenty of seating and an amazing wait staff as well. And, we were seated literally overlooking the Atlantic, so the view did not suck at all!

I ordered the spring mix and strawberry salad. Many times, I am disappointed when I order a salad at a restaurant for my meal. But, that was not the case here. A delicious blend of spring mix, sliced strawberries, creamy Gorgonzola cheese and candied pecans all lightly tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette. And, the lobster salad was so delicious; creamy yet light and just so very good. The honey butter biscuit tasted like deep fried dessert.

Pam ordered the veggie pizza which was basically personal sized. It consisted of a tomato sauce, cheese, mushrooms, caramelized onions, and peppers. The caramelized onions really brought a great dimension to the pizza, making it really special.

There are so many other menu items that I cannot wait to go back and try! And if I wasn’t driving, I would have enjoyed trying one of the signature drinks too. I think that the strawberry lemongrass mojito would have paired perfectly with my salad! Seaside Cafe is open seven days a week from 7:30am until 8pm.

The Mansion

After dinner, we met mansion owner Michael Halpern. He graciously gave us a private tour of the mansion. While I had previously visited the home with my husband years ago, I did not learn an iota of what I did last night.

Built in 1897 for members of the island’s famed Curry family, this one bedroom mansion was built for entertaining. And, sparing no expense, none other than the Wizard of Menlo Park, Thomas Edison himself, install the electricity for the home while he was on the island. He even gifted the family with a phonograph which is still on display in the home.

In the early to mis 1900’s, the home became a speakeasy and night club. During this time, it hosted many notable figures including Al Capone, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Gloria Swanson, Louis Armstrong, and Charles Lindberg to name just a few. In later years, a helicopter landing pad was added to accommodate King Juan Carlos of Spain who was a guest at the house. In addition to royalty, the house has also hosted five United Stated presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon and Carter.

Another interesting note is that there are more original letters and papers from Ernest Hemingway than there are housed at the Hemingway House and Museum on the island. And, one can also find original documents from the forefathers of our nation. The home is truly a wealth of information and historical content.

Today, the mansion has nine rooms available, with adjacent cottages and inns bringing the total room count to eighteen. For guests staying at the property, there is a zero-entry heated pool that is open 24 hours. And, a complimentary continental breakfast is available in the dining hall of the main hotel from 8:00 – 10:00 AM each day.

More About Key West

Mr. Halpern is also very active in charitable community endeavors through Michelle’s Foundation. Learn more at

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! 

Would you like to reserve some activities while you are visiting? I can help you pick the right options for you! FishingSnorkelingSunset SailsDry Tortugas tripsSandbar excursions, and more! 

Island Genn – Key West Concierge

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