Review by: Michael Stern
Memorable | One of the Best
Dine With Chickens at Blue Heaven
Wild chickens run among streets and gardens over much of Key West. Even al fresco restaurants manage to keep them away from dining tables. Blue Heaven virtually invites them to the table. And the birds feel right at home. In this supremely laid-back restaurant in old Bahama Village, cocks, hens, and chicks roam along the dirt-floored patio. They peck for bugs or the occasional scrap of pancake offered by a diner. On occasion a particularly bold rooster hops onto the back of an unoccupied chair at YOUR table. He puffs up and crows loud to wake you up better than a triple espresso. A magical meal in this restaurant always includes the company of roaming birds.
An incredibly colorful place to eat, Blue Heaven long ago hosted a boxing ring where Ernest Hemingway sparred. It has been a bordello, a bookmaking parlor, and a cockfighting pit. (Heroic roosters once were laid to rest in a little graveyard behind the dining area.). Legend says that this restaurant inspired Jimmy Buffett to write “Blue Heaven Rendezvous.” Delightfully disheveled, casual in the extreme, it offers one of Key West’s most evocative dining experiences.
You can come for three meals a day. Dinner features such local treasures as an Island plate (vegetarian), on which you get a honking-big sliced Portobello mushroom wallowing in buttered curry sauce. Big, sweet blackened Key West shrimp star in a Caribbean presentation, deglazed with beer and finished with butter. Jerk chicken and yellowtail snapper earn raves, too.
Breakfast Is Best
Breakfast, Blue Heaven’s most magical meal, starts at 8am, when neighborhood roosters greet the sun with gusto. I love to sit out under the shade of the banyan trees and fork into banana pancakes with maple syrup. Or I will spoon into nutty-flavored granola with fresh fruit. Coffee comes in mugs inscribed with the house motto: Blue Heaven: you don’t have to die to get there.
One other reason I like early breakfast best is that you can more easily find a seat. In the evenings and on weekends, expect to wait for a table.
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||No|