305.293.8181 530 Simonton St. Key West, FL 33040
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Photo by Richard Watherwax

Photo by Richard Watherwax

Who is this man and why is he always smiling? For those of us who walk down Simonton Street on a daily basis the answer is easy: he’s David Case from Sarabeth’s Restaurant and he’s got lots to smile about. David had been with Sarabeth’s (a well –known New York City restaurant) for 20 years before he was able to take Sarabeth’s to one of his favorite cities, Key West. In essence, he’s merged two things he loves to create a restaurant that makes you feel as though you’ve walked into your nana’s kitchen (albeit a very stylish and fashionable kitchen) with all the wonderful smells that remind you of what I like to call “classics with an edge”. Yes, you’ll find macaroni and cheese on the menu; but it’s made with roasted poblano peppers and three different kinds of cheeses and it’s the best you’ve ever had.

Last week, I spent a leisurely lunch hour on Sarabeth’s shady outdoor terrace and had a chance to talk with David. From the splendid simplicity of Sarabeth’s food to the cheery atmosphere, to the friendly wait staff, it’s obvious that David loves what he’s doing and where he is. David opened the restaurant last July and when asked how the business weathered the record breaking hurricane season, he replied, “People, local people, took care of us and we don’t forget it.” In a summer of mandatory tourist evacuations, the Key West locals were the first to fall in love with Sarabeth’s. Eating at Sarabeth’s is like a trip to the supermarket; you always run into someone you know.

I’ve had more breakfasts, lunches, and dinners at Sarabeth’s than I can count. It’s a bit emabarrassing that my husband, the Spaniard, has got the dinner menu practically memorized and brunch (though nonexistent in Spain) has become his favorite Sunday ritual. Some of Sarabeth’s must-haves include the following:

For breakfast start with the Four Flowers Juice, a combination of orange pomegranate juices blended with fresh pineapple and banana. Talk about refreshing! Try the Goldie Lox, smoked salmon with scrambled eggs. Be sure to select the pumpkin muffin with some of Sarabeth’s marmalade. The chicken apple, sausage made locally by Louie Sabella, can’t be beat.

There are so many wonderful items on the lunch menu. A few of my favorites include Sara’s Velvety Cream of Tomato Soup (a top placer in the Master Chef Classic), the Open Faced Tuna Salad Sandwich, or the One Great Simple Burger.

For dinner try the calamari with an amazing dipping sauce of chile, lime and coconut. The Spaniard’s favorite is the gazpacho. It’s made from yellow tomatoes; and being that the Spaniard is a gazpacho fanatic and very particular about what constitutes a good gazpacho, I nearly fainted when he said he liked it.

And yes, Sarabeth is a real person (complete with grandchildren) who is very hands-on. When David told her that many people were asking for Key Lime Pie, Sarabeth worked her magic and came up with a new twist on a classic: the Key Lime Cream Pie. It’s fabulous.

Sarabeth’s is located on the corner of Simonton and Southard Streets (530 Simonton Street) in a building that used to be a synagogue. Breakfast, lunch and brunch are served Wednesday through Monday from 8:00 am to 3:00 p.m. Dinner is served Wednesday through Saturday beginning at 6:00 p.m. Sarabeth’s is closed on Tuesday. Prices: from $5.50 to $8.50 (not including sides); lunches from $5.75 to $14.00 and dinner entrees from $15.00 to $19.00.

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