For those in the Philly area, Key West is a once a year vacation to Paradise.
So Eve and George Dougherty decided to bring Key West to Philly.
They had a dream and brought it to life several years ago.
They love Key West and ventured out to find the perfect setting.
And they couldn’t have picked a more perfect one.
Sitting at the Ridley Township Municipal Marina, right on the water of the Delaware River,
what more can you ask for?
You can sit at an outdoor table and watch the boats motor on by.
And some of those boats pull right up to the dock.
In the distance, you can watch the planes soar into the sky
as they take their passengers to far away places.
Some may even be flying to Key West!
At night, there’s the sound of water life.
On the weekend, there’s even fireworks that can be seen in the distance.
They saw the potential of this setting
A Taste of Key West was born!
Everything here revolves around that small, 2 miles wide by 4 miles long, island,
that sits at the Southernmost Point in the continental United States,
only 90 miles from Cuba.
The decor – with pictures of Jimmy Buffett and scenes of Key West …
the drinks – from Captain Tony’s Pirate Punch to any number of tropical delights…
the food – all named for a place in Key West.
And then there’s the entertainment!
Although ATOKW has many local bands and entertainers,
as the years go by, more Key West entertainers are making their way to ATOKW.
Some come on their way to visit family.
Some are on tour and ATOKW is one of the stops along the way.
And some come to ATOKW specifically!
Let’s start with a beautiful afternoon and night in June.
The 28th to be exact.
What a beautiful, absolutely perfect, night!
It was warm, with a slight breeze that kept the insects, and humidity, away.
The sky was a beautiful blue, with light wispy clouds, that turned into a clear, starry night.
Arriving at 7 PM, the parking lot was overflowing.
There were parking attendants and George was greeting those who were arriving.
Talk about customer service!
In case you don’t know, or have never been to A Taste of Key West,
George and Eve Dougherty are the owners.
They are wonderful, much-loved people
who have put their heart and soul into this establishment and it shows!
We were taken to our table close to the stage.
Immediately our server, Jessica Rowles, appeared and took our drinks order.
Although all the servers, wait staff and employees are excellent, Jess was exceptional.
It seemed to be only moments before Jess was back with our drinks and took our dinner order.
We weren’t fancy with our drinks,
although ATOKW does make a pretty mean Pirate Punch
(fashioned after Captain Tony’s namesake drink).
I have to take a moment and talk about the food.
We ordered the Islamorada Spicy Crab Soup,
The Douglas House Coconut Dipped Shrimp,
ATOKW Signature Lobster Roll,
and The 801 Grouper Sandwich.
All I can say is DELICIOUS!!!
But the best part of the evening was a performance by Key West‘s own
Gary never disappoints!
He was his normal happy, cheerful, friendly, outgoing, talented self.
He’s a classic troubadour,
weaving his tales into, around and through his songs.
Tales of adventures, funny stories, meetings with other musicians,
a discussion with Neil Young about Gary‘s version of “Old Man”
to name a few.
I personally love when Gary gets into the instrumental part of a song,
and seems to forget there’s an audience.
The pure rapture on his face as he plays his guitar with abandon is priceless.
After approximately 2 hours of uninterrupted performing,
Gary took a break.
It was 9 PM and, as if on cue,
the fireworks erupted.
What a spectacle!
Philly sure know how to put on a fireworks display!
It was a good 30 – 40 minutes of continuous visual delight.
So Gary’s break ended up being a little longer than expected.
Of course, not a soul complained!
Gary came back for his 2nd half fired up.
Song after song and story after story.
No one dared leave because no one wanted to miss a moment.
Which means that until 11 PM, the house was packed!
Great news for both Gary and ATOKW!
BUT … there’s more!!!
On July 27th we were in for another special treat!
None other than Carl Peachey and Kingsley, straight from Key West!
Sitting in on drums was Ray Sipple, an amazing local percussionist.
I have to admit, I arrived late.
I had a previous engagement which was also important.
Although, no way was I missing all of this fabulous performance.
I knew I was in for a treat because, even though I was late,
the parking lot was still full.
THAT in itself is a telltale sign.
I’m so glad that I made it in time.
I arrived in the last hour … arguably their best hour!
Because, let’s face it, most musicians get better
and more into the music the longer they’re on stage.
I was told their entire show was outstanding,
of which I have no doubt.
I can only go by what I experienced
it was AWESOME!!!
These 2 play so well with, and off of, each other.
And they seemed to be having so much fun
that I couldn’t help but smile the entire time.
I ordered a drink and sat back to relax and enjoy.
Couldn’t help myself though – just had to chair dance!
There’s something about Key West entertainers and their prowess with a guitar.
These two were, in a word, mesmerizing.
And so much interaction with the audience.
They make you feel right at home, as though we were at a house party.
That’s no easy feat.
When they finally called it a night,
a collective groan went up.
No one wanted the evening to end.
Getting to talk with Carl afterward was special.
He’s so down-to-earth and downright likable!
I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with him.
But others wanted his attention too,
so I reluctantly relinquished him.
They were immediately returning to Key West
the next day.
As word gets around, and it will since Key West is a small, close-knit community,
there will be more and more musicians making their way to ATOKW.
And YOU don’t want to miss any of the fun!
If you can’t get to Key West, ATOKW is the next best thing!
A Taste of Key West really is a taste of Key West!
You’ll find A Taste of Key West at
401 South Swarthmore Avenue
Ridley Park, PA 19078
Open: April through September
We love Key West and want you to love it too!
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