These lucky winners were chosen to be SFGN's Key West's Best of Key Lime Pie, Non-profit, and more by our readers.

Best Burger: Mary Ellen's Bar & Restaurant

https://maryellensbar.com/

305-294-78750

MaryEllen

Photo via Facebook.

Mary Ellen's Bar & Restaurant won for Best Burger in Key West. Located at 420 Appelrouth Lane, Key West, it has both a restaurant and a bar.

They serve two types of burgers on Kaiser burger buns. The Cheeseburger Irma is a beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and mayo. They serve a Patty Melt, a beef patty, American cheese, and grilled onion.

Besides burgers, Mary Ellen’s serves grilled cheese, five types of fries, pizza, soups, salads, and desserts.

On Mondays, Mary Ellen’s has Comedy Key West Spelling Bee. On Tuesday, they host trivia games, on Wednesday, Bingo. On Sundays, sports are on the TV. Occasionally, Mary Ellen’s has “Charity Vibrator Races” which sounds intriguing.

Mary Ellen’s has on display the beer can collection of David Sloan, Minister of Debauchery for the Conch Republic.

Runner-up: Frita’s Cuban Burger Café

– SMS

Best Pizza: Clemente's Trolley Pizzeria

(305) 900-7035

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Clemente

Photo via Facebook.

Clemente’s Trolley Pizzeria won for “Best Pizza” in Key West. Located at 516 Fleming St, Key West, Clemente’s serves 12-inch thin-crust brick-oven pizzas. They offer 15 types of pizzas, ranging from the traditional Margarita (mozzarella, Roma tomatoes, basil, and pecorino Romano) to the more innovative Hawaiian (thick-cut bacon, fresh pineapple, and pecorino Romano). Clemente’s serves six vegetarian pizzas. One of those vegetarian pizzas is a Caesar salad on a pizza crust. They make gluten-free pizzas upon request.

Customers can order individual Sicilian thick-crust pizza slices with a variety of toppings.

For dessert, they serve cannoli. Beverages include wines, beers, coffee, sodas, and juices.

This restaurant began in a refurbished trolley, hence the name. A bit on the cozy side, but that only adds to its charm. Both indoor and outdoor dining are available.

Runner-up: Mr. Z’s

- SMS

Best Activist: Teri Johnston

TeriJohnston

Photo via Facebook.

Teri Johnston, Key West’s first lesbian mayor, has won Best Activist. She won Best Politician in 2020.

Before running for mayor, Johnston spent eight years on the Key West City Commission. In November 2018 she was elected as mayor, and won a second term in August 2020.

She worked hard on guiding the residents of Key West through the pandemic.

“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 said in early 2020.

Runner-up: Gwen Filosa

- KS

Best Drag Queen: Maya Montana

MayaMontana

Photo via Facebook.

For four years in a row, Maya Montana has won Best Drag Queen of Key West.

“I'm really flattered and I'm really happy at the same time because this is something that I really still love doing and I really enjoy doing,” she said in 2020. “It doesn't feel like work.”

In 2020, Montana talked about how she struggled with the pandemic.

“During the shutdown, I felt like I needed to do something. So when I wasn't working, I volunteered for six and a half weeks handing out food with S.O.S. Food Distribution. And then I kept myself busy making masks and I donated them to our local charities.”

However, she is back working at Aqua, and you can catch her shows along with Beatrix Dixie and many others.

​​”That is so awesome,” she said this year. “Just honored to be voted after being in this business for almost three decades. I feel blessed and I'm truly grateful!”

One of her favorite quotes is "life is too short to cry over a broken heel!”

Runner-up: Beatrix Dixie

- KS

Best Hidden Gem: Fort Zachary Beach

601 Howard England Way, Key West

FortZacharyBeachpublicDomain

Public domain.

For the first time ever, Fort Zachary Beach has won Best Hidden Gem”

The beach has plenty of activities for people such as snorkeling, picnicking, or simply reading a book in a hammock. You can also fish in some areas too.

“Beach is perfect! Ocean colors are amazing and very clean. Nice trees around here and also a very nice picnic area is in the same place. When you come here you have to wait for sunset and watch that fascinating sunset time. I love that. It's a very beautiful experience,” a reviewer left on the website.

Runner-up: 22&Co

- KS

Best Key Lime: Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe

200 Elizabeth St. A Key West

Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe

KermitsKeyWest

Photo via Facebook.

Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe must serve the best pies because it has won Best Key Lime Pie for the sixth time in a row.

“Key Lime Pie is only the beginning,” said the owner and founder Kermit Carpenter in 2020.

The shop also serves cookies, teas, jelly beans and more that have key lime in them.

“Excellent service, friendly staff, and the best key lime pie and key lime cookies anywhere,” a reviewer wrote on their Facebook page.

In 2011, the shop opened up at the corner of Duval & Front Street, allowing more customers to visit the shop to enjoy its “delicious Key Lime goodness,” according to the website. They have two locations in Key West.

Runner-up: Blue Heaven

- KS

Best Restaurant: Santiago's Bodega

207 Petronia St.

santiagosbodega.com

SantiagosBodega

Photo via Facebook.

For the fifth year in a row, Santiago’s Bodega won the Best Restaurant in Key West.

Jason Dugan, the owner, wanted to open his own restaurant to fulfill a childhood dream. He said 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 food such as Spicy Shrimp Bisque soup, Smoked Salmon Carpaccio, and Miniature Quesadillas.

“Phenomenal food and pairings. Amazing atmosphere and super friendly, knowledgeable staff,” a reviewer wrote on their Facebook page. 

Runner-up: Poké in the Rear

– KS

Best Non-profit: Florida Keys SPCA

5711 College Rd., Key West 33040 

fkspca.org

FloridaKeysspca

Photo via Facebook.

For the first time ever, Florida Keys SPCA has won Best Non-profit in Key West for 2021.

SPCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to treating animals with compassion and promoting humane treatment through adoption, education and population, according to their website.

They provide behavioral counseling, end-of-life services, emergency pet housing, and more.

SPCA also organizes fundraisers, adoption and educational events every year to promote awareness and support animals.

Runner-up: Sister Season Fund

- KS

Best Annual Event: Key West Pride

KeyWestPrideviaPiqsels

Photo via Piqsels.

The people must miss Key West Pride dearly because it won the Best Event That Must Come Back award

The annual event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic but came roaring back this year. Next year’s event will take place June 1, 2022, according to gaykeywestfl.com.

On the website, it invites people to join their Pride whether they’re looking to party with friends, travel with family, or “get lost in the magic” of the island.

“After visiting Key West for over 20 years this year was my very first Key West Pride it was absolutely fabulous! Something I will always remember! All of the work and everything that went into it was phenomenal. Thank you for a great time and a great week! Key West is my ‘second home’ and I will be back in October,” a reviewer wrote in 2018 on their Facebook page.

Runner-up: Headdress Ball

- KS

Best Bar: Aqua

711 Duval St., Key West 

aquakeywest.com

Aqua

Photo via Facebook.

The voters have spoken: Key West’s Best Bar goes to Aqua, which has won five times in a year now.

Perhaps one of the reasons why it’s so popular is because it offers daily drag shows for its customers, claiming to be “The best Drag Show in Key West.”

“The Drag Show is unmatched in the talent, setting and performances. Located right on Duval St, our customers are treated to the true Key West experience from start to finish,” said Jenn Stefanacci, a spokesperson for Aqua. “Aquaplex is Key West’s only theme park for adults.”

reviewer wrote on their Facebook page, “First time patrons and boy did this place not disappoint! Everyone was amazing, so nice, and all-around good company. From the time we walked in the door to the time we left, the entire feel was so welcoming. We had a great time and can't wait to go back!”

Runner-up: 22&Co

- KS

Best Bartender: Jennifer S. at 22&Co.

JennStefanaccicreditHarryPurdyfacebook

Photo via Harry Purdy, Facebook.

For the first time for SFGN’s Best Of, Jennifer S. at 22&Co. has won “Best Bartender” in Key West.

Jennifer has received many praises for her work at the bar.

“I’m the Tutu Boss. I’ve bartended all over town at the best bars before opening our location, 22&Co,” she said. “I pride myself on my creative martinis and cocktails and use the best ingredients available. From our Peanut Butter Martini to the Espresso Martini, every drink is served with love and glitter! Our ‘22 Crew’ follows my leads and takes every drink to the next level to give the best customer service.”

The bar loves to express its love for tutus, flamingos and unicorns and is known to have glitter everywhere that customers love.

Runner-up: Mark W. at Aqua

- KS

Best Island to Visit: Dry Tortugas

DryTortugascreditTamiHeilemann

Credit: Tami Heileman

More than 80,000 travelers make the journey by boat or by air to visit the Dry Tortugas National Park located off the coast of Key West each year.

Made up of seven small islands, this adventure destination is one of the world’s most unique eco-attractions. Anchored by the historic Fort Jefferson, visitors can explore the rich history with a guided tour as well as an array of fun activities. Snorkeling, secluded beaches, and camping are all available in this bird watcher’s paradise.

You can explore the Dry Tortugas by a two-hour boat ride or a quick flight on a sea plane directly from Key West. Add this fun day trip to your itinerary for your next Key West getaway. 

Runner-up Bahia Honda Key: Bahia Honda Key is located at mile marker 37 in the Florida Keys and is home to over 500 acres of Island Paradise. This outdoor wonderland features award winning beaches, 3.5 miles of bike paths and world class fishing. Travelers can camp in style with 80 campsites ready for tent or RV campers. If you’re a glamper, check out one of the deluxe cabins that are fully furnished with all the comforts of home. Kayaking, paddle boarding, bicycling and swimming in the crystal-clear turquoise water are some favorite activities of visitors while they disconnect in this accessible Island oasis, just three hours south of Miami.

If you prefer guided tours, there are also snorkeling tours, fishing excursions and a full calendar of programs offered to park visitors on a wide range of natural and cultural history subjects.

– JP

Best Tourist Activity: Fort Zachary

FortZacharyBeachpublicDomain

Public domain.

Located three hours south of Miami, Fort Zachary is a must-stop for any Keys trip. Built in 1845, this 54-acre historical landmark in the Florida Keys once served as a military fortress, but today hosts plenty of activities for every kind of sun seeker.

The grounds of the fort are open to explore daily from 8 a.m. to sunset daily with wooded nature trails and bike paths. Grab a bite to eat at the Cayo Huesco Café or hike down to the Jetty with your fishing pole to catch your own lunch!

Snorkel right off the white sand beach in a one-of-a-kind underwater marine habitat or relax in Chickee huts and hammocks by the spectacular turquoise waters.

No trip to Fort Zachary would be complete without a shore side stroll against the back drop of its iconic sunsets where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Gulf of Mexico.

Runner-up Key West Butterfly Conservatory: Like stepping into a magical movie, The Key West Butterfly Conservatory is an oasis of peace nestled in the hustle and bustle of Duval Street in downtown Key West. One step inside and you’re enveloped in a tranquil tropical environment filled with flowering plants, the relaxing sound of waterfalls and the home of more than 50 different species of butterflies from around the world. A variety of colorful birds fill the exotic environment of native shrubs, flowers, and trees that patrons walk through on this surreal experience. This magical education destination explores all aspects of the butterfly world with a wall size mural map, depicting butterfly identification by country of origin, as well as illustrated information on butterfly anatomy, physiology, and a look at the incredible Monarch migration.

– JP

Check out the rest of the winners at SFGN's Best of 2021 Winners.


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