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EAT&DRINK

RESTAURANTS . . . 27-41 | BAKERIES . . . 28 | COFFEE SHOPS . . . 29 BARS . . . 32-33 | VEGETARIAN . . . 30 | ICE CREAM . . . 36

The Grouper Group Following the success of the original restaurant’s upstairs lounge My New Joint in Cudjoe Key, Square Grouper now has a second location in Islamorada.

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF KEY WEST MAGAZINE

W

hen Lynn Bell came to the Keys in 2003, this time to live in the place she remembered so fondly from childhood trips in the 1970s, she opened a restaurant of her own, drawing on experience from her family’s summer-vacation inn located in the Champlain Islands of northwestern Vermont. You could say she leveraged her hospitality know-how from the islands of Lake Champlain to succeed in the interconnected islands of the Florida Keys. “The ’70s was a crazy timdown here,” Lynn says of the era of her childhood visits. The daily catch by Keys fishermen occassionally included a bale of marijuana, aka “square grouper,” which brought quite a bit more income than fresh fish. “There were lots of rich white-boot fishermen wearing Rolexes and gold chains,” she says. “I was 14 or so and it was awesome—or so I thought, anyway! So Square Grouper for me is a great name for the restaurant, with

26 key west magazine spring–summer guide 2019

great memories.” Her restaurant Square Grouper on Cudjoe Key continues to thrive and receive top rankings from Trip Advisor and others. It got so popular the bar was packed with customers waiting for dinner, while the impatient ones skulked off to find the next-closest restaurant. Naturally, the answer was to expand—which she did by opening My New Joint in the space upstairs. “The upstairs lounge was born to fill a void that was missing downstairs. It’s a totally different atmosphere and menu than downstairs,” Lynn says. In February of 2019, Square Grouper became a school of restaurants, migrating a bit farther north with a location in Islamorada, at mile marker 80.5 bayside, where you'll also find the Islamorada Marina businesses. —Bill Semich 22668 Overseas Hwy, Cudjoe Key; call (305) 745-8880 or for information on all the Square Grouper restaurants go to www.squaregrouperbarandgrill.com.

Profile for Key West Magazine

Key West Magazine Spring/Summer 2019 Issue  

Here's 565 Reasons You’ll Love It Here in Key West, including in-depth listings and reviews of our 31 Beaches, 296 Bars Cafés and Restauran...

Key West Magazine Spring/Summer 2019 Issue  

Here's 565 Reasons You’ll Love It Here in Key West, including in-depth listings and reviews of our 31 Beaches, 296 Bars Cafés and Restauran...

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