Dining in History

Key West Restaurants on Duval: Then and Now

Some of the most popular Key West Restaurants have the most interesting stories to tell and it’s not by your favorite bartender. On the menu today is a look back in history at two of Key West’s award winning restaurants in historic old town.  Dining in history on Duval Street at Bagatelle and Nine One Five.

Key West Restaurant: Bagatelle

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That Was Then

Turn of the century 1899-1912 Classic Revival home where the original site was not Duval Street but 716 Fleming Street. Believe it or not, Key West has a long tradition of moving wooden houses to newly open lots and that’s what happened with Bagatelle.  Imagine this, in 1974, this 2-½-story residence was trucked down the middle of Duval Street and set on new piers.  It opened as The Rose Tattoo, a popular restaurant in the 70’s.

Fun Fact: The restaurant “The Rose Tattoo” was named for Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tennessee Williams (a part time resident of Key West for nearly 40 years.) He was active with some local theatre productions of his play and he even attended a three-night local performance of his short play “A Perfect Analysis as Given by a Parrot,” a dinner theatre event at The Rose Tattoo in 1978.

The Conch Temple style building transformed into Bagatelle Restaurant in the 80’s and is now a trendy, Key West dining hot spot and popular bar.

This Is Now

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Bagatelle features brunch menu 7 days a week from 9am – 4pm, casual fine dining from 5-11pm. Guests enjoy local cuisine, award winning wine list with well over 250 selections and sweet treats and desserts including Key Lime Pie and Milk Crème Brulee.

A few of our favorite dishes at Bagatelle Restaurant are: Local Hogfish with Pineapple Salsa, Whole Yellowtail Snapper, Lobster Mac and Cheese and the Lobster Benedict!   Bagatelle, 115 Duval Street, Key West, Florida | Hours: 9am – 10pm 305-296-6609 bagatellekeywest.com

Key West Restaurant: Nine One Five

That Was Then

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Nine One Five: Classic Revival gem, referenced by one architect as a “Conch Mansion”, erected on Key West’s main street circa 1899-1903. This two-story wraparound porch is the defining feature, as the gingerbread, or wooden tracery, decorates the old frame residence.  Key West Historian Sharon Wells shared some other interesting bits of history:  built with Dade County hard pine, it originally served as residence for John H. Coleman, a local auctioneer of ships’ goods.  Later a foreman of the Ferdinand Hirsch Cigar Co. lived here at the Zenith of the cigar industry.  It passed on to other families through the years and in the early 80’s it opened as a restaurant.

This Is Now

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Nine One Five is very much like Bagatelle as it specializes in sourcing local ingredients and showcases the Florida Keys island cuisine and features a great wine list and James Beard recognized menu.

The difference between the two restaurants is the experience. At Nine One Five there is a dining garden experience downstairs with small plate menu featuring dishes like: Car Grilled Octopus, Burrata Salad or Hand Made Pastas – Lobster Ravioli or Pappardelle Bolognese.  Upstairs at “Point 5” is a totally different experience – serving craft made cocktails and a high-end pub style menu ~ Kobe Beef Burgers, Grouper Tacos, Marinated Asian Ribs and more. Nine One Five, 915 Duval Street, Key West, Florida | Hours: 6pm – 11pm 305-296-0669 Nine One Five

Damian DeAngelis, owner of Bagatelle and Nine One Five, looks forward to serving up great food, drinks and wine in two of Key West’s most iconic restaurants and buildings. “We strive to make each and every guest feel as if they are guests in our own home, said DeAngelis.”

Add these restaurants on Duval Street to your Key West Dining list.

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