At mile marker 95.7 in Key Largo sits a small yellow building run by a kind woman named Harriette Mattson, who’s been drawing locals and visitors inside for over 35 years. The restaurant is small with no frills. Wooden tables and palm tree curtains line the perimeter, and you can peek into a kitchen that takes up about half of the building. The staff is warm and friendly and honest about what to order.
Harriette is known for muffins. The array of options is almost paralyzing. In addition to the original Key lime, there are Key lime chocolate and Key lime coconut, as well as more than 20 other options including bacon maple, Oreo cream, cannoli, and black mission fig. I would love to have done a taste test of 10, but we stuck with two: the seasonal snickerdoodle and the fan-favorite Key lime.
These muffins are more like mini cakes than a traditional muffin. The Key lime is dusted with powdered sugar and has a super soft, custard-like center that melts in your mouth. It has a delicate balance of muffin and cake; sweet and tart. The snickerdoodle is more like coffee cake than anything else, with a sugary, dense topping and hints of cinnamon. Muffins are available to enjoy in house, or they can be wrapped up to go.
Conch Benedict, a weekend special, arrives on a huge, dense homemade biscuit. The conch has been mixed into a latke-like layer with green onions. It is delicious combined with the poached egg and a translucent, lemony Hollandaise. Other breakfast options include hotcakes, French toast, and omelets. There’s also a lunch menu of salads, sandwiches, fried clams, chicken wings, and more. It’s a good range for practically any craving, but there’s one thing you can’t leave without: a muffin.