All Hail the Conch Republic
When we decided to make the trip to Honeymoon Island, the idea was to take some subs with us from Publix. That, of course, didn’t happen. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t remember. I am, after all, merely the driver.
Therefore, when we finally decided to get out of the heat at about one o’clock, most of us were famished. Breakfast only lasts so long and in the heat it lasts even less. So, after packing everything back up and heading toward the condo, we decided to pop into the first restaurant that we passed where we wouldn’t look too out of place in our bathing suits. Since I was leading, I was the one able to choose and I pulled into a WingHouse. Now, you may have heard of this Hooters lookalike, but I hadn’t and I figured eating wings didn’t require proper clothing, especially since the waitresses were showing most of their asses as they walked around with our food. The girls on the beach were covered more than these ladies. While I don’t mind gazing upon the female anatomy, when it is time to eat, it’s time to eat and I don’t need someone’s ass crack in my line of vision as I’m about to chomp down on a wing. Along highway 75 there is a total nude eatery called Café Risqué where they bring you your food in the buff. I just don’t see how that is sanitary and I would be afraid of ordering crabs.
Still, WingHouse had some awesome food and the largest beer I had had to date, so the trip wasn’t bad. I did find it ironic, however, that while we were sitting there watching the waitresses’ bums bouncing here and there that a speed boat was being pulled down the road with the words “Condom Depot” painted on the side. Perhaps they knew something about the appetizers.
Once we finally made it back to our condo, it was time for showers and naps as we waited the dinner hour. The rest of the afternoon was to be spent lounging around reading books or watching television. I took the time to get caught up on some tweeting and writing before finally being enticed by the pillow on my bed.
Dinner was to be at the Conch Republic. It was actually the only restaurant that we had chosen because as we were researching this trip we noticed that they apparently had the best Rum Runners. Don’t you choose your dining experience based on the alcohol they serve?
The Conch Republic is a raw bar much like any other raw bar you may come across, except this one was at the top of the list of raw bar experiences. As their website says, “At the Conch Republic Grill, we aim to provide you with an island kind of experience, in the Key West style. We think that you should be able to have a great meal in a casual and fun environment – with no compromise in quality or service just because you’re wearing a shirt emblazoned with flamingos rather than a pin-striped tie!” And we had a great meal. Actually, this was the best dining experience on our trip. They wanted to provide us “with a place that embodies these qualities (the humor and uniqueness of Key West) and allows you a tropical getaway.”
We had called ahead to warn them that a party of ten was on its way. There was no waiting, they said, and we should be able to be seated right away. We were and at a table that allowed us to talk to each other without leaning over the person next to us. Jason, our server, arrived, and I was grateful his ass was covered and not showing like the girls' backsides at WingHouse. He was in great spirits and seemed to really enjoy his job. That’s always helpful when dealing with our crowd, because we are joking more often than we are looking at our menus and patience is a requirement. He had it in abundance.
Jason was drilled about their drinks and he gave us his best picks. The girls each tried a different drink, and as always, they were passed around and sampled by all. It was then time for appetizers. We had not had raw oysters in awhile so we ordered a few of those while the other couples each ordered something different. Like the drinks, these were also shared and sampled by all. Bill and Katie had ordered the mussels and were brought out a huge platter full. After the oysters, I was excited to try a few as I had never had them before. I was also handed some Bang Shrimp, which I was told meant I was going to burn my taste buds. It wasn’t that bad and all in all, everything was delicious.
The food finally arrived, not that we were waiting long. We wouldn’t have minded if we had been because we were caught up in all the conversations and joking that was going around. Pictures were being snapped as they always are whenever we do something and Jason was nice enough to help us with a group shot. He had actually shown great patience with our group and the ordering, telling us the specials over if needed and making sure we had everything we needed and enjoyed it, as well. He even joined in on the jests as they were being slung around.
Another round of drinks was ordered and the food was dived into bringing a more quiet banter to the table, but not silencing the conversation. I had ordered the shrimp platter, with grilled, fried, and Cajun shrimp while the girls each ordered something different. Again we sampled each plate and had enough to take home to snack on later. From seafood, to burgers to prime rib, the Conch Republic did it all with flare and flavor. We had already determined that this restaurant was on our To Do list the next time we returned to Redington Beach. The atmosphere, the food, the service, the music playing over the speakers, it all invited you to kick back, relax and forget the outside world while you were there. We were in no hurry and they were not rushing us back out the door. It was well worth the cost of the meal and I would recommend it to anyone visiting that area. I only wished they had one near us.
By the time we were ready to leave, we were as stuffed as the stuffed crab and filled with good food as well as good times. That’s the way it should be when leaving a place with friends.
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