These lucky winners were chosen to be SFGN's Key West's Best of Restaurant, Burger, and more by our readers.

 

Best Activity for Tourist - Key West Butterfly Conservatory 

1316 Duval Street 

Key West  

KeyWestButterfly.com

KeyWestButterflyConservatory

                                                                                                                                                              Photo via Facebook.

For the third time in a row, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory has won Best for Activity for Tourist.

Perhaps the reason why the conservatory has won three times now is because of its variety of animals. It has over 50 species of butterflies and 20 species of exotic birds for visitors to enjoy observing.

That’s not all though. There’s a short film about Monarch butterflies’ migration and life cycle for butterfly lovers, and people can also watch caterpillars feast on their host plants. Finally, there’s a gift shop and gallery when the visitors are done.

Hours: Conservatory 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Gift Shop & Gallery 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Runner-Up: Fort Jefferson | Dy Tortuga

– KS

Best Bar - Aqua 

711 Duval St. 

Key West

AquaKeyWest.com

Aqua

Photo via Facebook.

For the fourth time in a row, Aqua has won Best Bar.

“We're honored to have been named Best Bar, especially considering what a challenging year it has been for everyone,” said Shawn Clark, bar manager. “Our amazing staff really stepped up and went above and beyond to ensure our customers had a fun, wonderful and safe experience during every visit.”

Known for its drag shows and karaoke, the bar features a SideBar, which plays music and dance videos. However, if customers want a quieter area, then there’s an outside bar where they can enjoy their drinks in peace.

The bar also hosts performances by Aquanettes, Aqua’s drag ensemble of six performers.

“Even when there was no money coming in our amazingly talented drag queens stepped up with new group numbers, new costumes, and even worked with no pay to ensure that the doors stayed open during the time when we were not allowed to serve alcohol,” Clark said.

Even though the shutdown and subsequent restrictions severely impacted the business Aqua is already forging ahead into the future.

“The vision and support of owner Michael Ingram allowed us to expand and grow in ways no one thought possible,” Clark said. “We have added a restaurant, upgraded our sound and lights, added more square feet, and made countless other improvements to ensure a fun and unforgettable experience for everyone who comes through our doors.”

Runner-Up: Bourbon Street Pub

- KS

Best Burger - Moondog Cafe

823 Whitehead St 

MoonDogCafe.com

MoondogCafe

Photo via Facebook.

For the second time in a row, Moondog Cafe has won Best Burger.

The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a variety of salads, pizzas, and seafood.

It's mostly famous for its “Moon Burgers” such as The Moondog (Vermont white cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onions, pickle spear & magic sauce); Cinco De Mayo (spicy Mexican salsa, queso fresco, grilled fresh jalapeño, avocado, fresh cilantro); and the Rise & Shine (Vermont white cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, fried egg & bourbon maple syrup).

All of the burgers can be upgraded to Kobe beef as well.

Runner-Up: Frita's Cuban Burger Cafe

– KS

Best Island To Visit Besides Key West - Bahia Honda Key

FloridaStateParks.org/bahiahonda

BahiaHondaKey

Photo via Facebook.

A 35-mile drive north of Key West and you come to Bahia Honda Key.

The island is home to a 524-acre newly restored state park. The park’s highlight is Sandspur Beach, one of the larger stretches of sunbathing sand in the Lower Keys.

“The Sandspur area restoration project will mark a tremendous milestone,” said park manager Donald Bergeron. “Countless Keys residents and visitors have shared stories of their time at Sandspur and deep emotional connections they have with the area.”

Bahia Honda is Spanish for “deep bay” and the key was made accessible by rail in 1912 when Henry Flagler extended his Florida East Coast Railway to Key West. Today, it is a popular spot for nesting sea turtles, wading and shorebirds and the endangered Miami blue butterfly.

Gary Breman, a gay man and avid outdoorsman, noted the draw of Bahia Honda Key can be found in the waters to the Southwest.

“Looe Key is one of the best reefs in the Lower Keys,” Breman said.

Visitors should plan for cabin reservations 11 months in advance.

Runner-Up: Islamorada

– JMD

Best Key Lime Pie - Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe 

200 Elizabeth St. A 

Key West

KeyLimeShop.com

Kermits

Photo via Facebook.

Kermit’s won Best Key Lime Pie – the fifth time for the iconic Key West shop.

“Key Lime Pie is only the beginning,” said the owner and founder Kermit Carpenter. Kermit’s offers many other foods that have Key Lime in them: cookies, salsa, chutney, taffy, jelly beans, tea, and more.

Not only does the establishment offer Key Lime foods, Kermit’s also supports organizations that advocate for those with mental disabilities such as the Monroe Association for Remarkable Citizens, Inc., The ARC Volusia, and DeLand Training Center.

Runner-Up: Blue Heaven

– KS

Best Nonprofit - Sister Season Fund 

SisterSeason.com

SisterFund

Photo via Facebook.

The award for Best Nonprofit goest to the Sister Season Fund, who has won before in 2018.

Founded in 2005, the fund aims to provide financial assistance to unemployed people to prevent them from becoming homeless, especially those who work in the hospital, who become sick or injured, or simply do not have enough money to keep a roof over their head.

“We are proud to be a 501(c)3 organization and have been able to help hundreds of individuals and families to the tune of over $400,000,” said Board President Julie Hanson in 2018.

Runner-Up: Florida Keys SPCA

– KS

Best Pizza - Pizza - Mr. Z’s 

501 Southard St. at Duval 

Key West

MrzsKeyWest.com

Mr.Zs

Photo via Facebook.

For the fifth time in a row, Mr. Z’s has won Best Pizza for its delicious pies that keep customers rushing back.

They serve a variety of pizza choices such as the Tomato Pie, White Pie, Roasted Veggie, Meatball, and Cheesesteak Pizza. However, their specialty is their signature Cholesterol Bomb Pizza.

“If you're ever in Key West you have to go to Mr Z's!!! The food is Great and the service is Awesome! Thank you all for taking care of me and I'll see you in a couple of months. FYI they are open late,” one Yelp reviewer wrote.

Like many pizza parlors, they also serve Stromboli, hot and cold sandwiches, and salads as well.

Runner-Up: Clemente's Trolley Pizzeria

– KS

Best Politician - Teri Johnston 

Mayor of Key West

Teri

Photo via Facebook.

Teri Johnston has won Best Politician.

Johnston, Key West’s first lesbian mayor, has a lot of experience serving the city. Before running for mayor, she spent eight years on the Key West City Commission.

Then in November 2018, she was elected as mayor. She won a second term in August of this year.

Johnston is continuing to guide Key West through the pandemic. She expressed her optimism about her future.

“I’ve got three things to focus on: get our community healthy; reboot our economy; and put all of our people back to work,” she told SFGN earlier this year.

Runner-Up: Clayton Lopez

– KS

Best Restaurant - Santiago's Bodega 

207 Petronia St.

SantiagosBodega.com

SantiagosBodega

Photo via Facebook.

For the fourth time in a row, Santiago’s Bodega has won Best Restaurant.

The owner, Jason Dugan, said it was his childhood dream to look for adventure, so he decided to open his own restaurant.

The restaurant is inspired by Ernest Hemingway's “The Old Man and the Sea,” where the main character Santiago links his life's work as a fisherman with his own core values.

They serve a variety of soups, salad, and cold and hot tapas such as Beef Carpaccio and Shrimp and Chorizo.

“Although this is currently in COVID-19 timing, everything was absolutely amazing. Quite frankly, the food was delicious, they exceeded expectations and service was amazing,” a Yelp reviewer wrote.

Runner-Up: El Siboney Restaurant

– KS

Best Bartender - Valerie E.

Valerie

Photo via Facebook.

Valerie E. has been bartending for more than 25 years. This year she wins Best Bartender.

“I pride myself on giving the best service and listening to my guests,” she said. “I want to create memories where they might not remember my name, but they remember how I made them feel.”

Right now her favorite drink is a Mule. You can catch Valerie nowadays at Alexander’s Guest House.

“Locals are welcome on Saturdays for our new Drag Queen Bingo,” she said. "I just really want to thank everyone. I am not sure who nominated me, but at a time when I was low this made a difference. And I want to thank everyone that voted for me! It makes me feel like in a small way I am making people smile.”

Runner-Up: Ryan M. at Bourban St. Pub

– JEP

22 & Co has won Key West's Best Kept Secret award.

504 Angela St, Key West, FL 33040


To view the other winners, visit SFGN's Best of 2020 Winners page.


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