The Olive Garden Obsession

Since the moment I stepped foot on the island of Key West in any type of permanent capacity, I have noticed two things. (OK, a few more than two, but whatever, work with me here). Number one, is that there are an abundance of really good restaurants.

Yes, there are also a few crappy ones, and there are some that I will not revisit, but overall, we have a lot of really good, independently owned dining establishments. There are many places where we have gotten to know both the owners and staff simply from dining on a regular basis. I am thrilled to have an abundance of choices.

The thing about Key West, though, is that it is an island at the end of the road. The nearest Wal-Mart is about 130 miles away, Target is even further. We have Home Depot, Sears and Ross. That is about it. So when locals lament about our lack of shopping (there is always the internet) and eating (huh?) I am amused and slightly horrified at the same time. Why? Because (Number two) it seems that all of these people want one thing: The Olive Garden. I am not kidding. It is an actual topic of conversation around town. Now, I like unlimited salad as much as the next person, but really? The Olive Garden?

Just the other night I was talking to some people that live on Big Pine Key. When I mentioned that I was baffled by the overwhelming desire for an Olive Garden by pretty much everybody, ¬†and that I just didn’t get it, she laughed. Her response? “You just haven’t lived here long enough.” I can honestly say that I don’t think I will ever live here long enough to long for an Olive Garden. Instead, I will console myself with amazing gnocchi (and other stuff) from Azur, fresh fish and unique takes on everything at The Flaming Buoy, small plates at Santiago’s, sushi at Origami, omelets, burgers and more at Blackfin and many, many other local places. Where is your favorite? And where do you stand on The Olive Garden issue?

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