First Flight Restaurant and Brewery, Key West, Florida

Nancy and I met Michael, Liza, Ella, and Lily at Key West’s wonderful Butterfly Museum. (Sue and David Boyd had been there the week before with the California Boyds, Peter, Christine, Devon, and Ryan, so took a pass.) It’s a magical place, and you should go there with or without children.

Afterwards, we went our various ways and regrouped at the First Flight Restaurant and Brewery.

First Flight is in the old Pan Am building. Kelly McGillis of Top Gun fame turned it into a restaurant. It shatters your preconceptions of a brewery by having a lovely courtyard with well spaced tables

and, for a brewery, some above average champagne selections in the cooler.

First Flight also has abundant inside seating and a bar (which is the wing of an airplane) where, as in all bars, the six foot distance is a polite fiction.

It being a brewery, we ordered beers: an Endless Summer strawberry mango wheat beer for Liza, and a Beach Day IPA for Michael. I started to order the Beach Day, but read “pineapple and passion fruit” and, in honor of the film, went for a Maverick IPA, which was quite good. Michael liked the Beach Day which he described as crisp.

I ordered deviled eggs with jalapeños to start.

I expected a little round of jalapeño on each egg, and was thrilled to get the fried jalapeños. The eggs were very good, and the jalapeños were delicious. Michael ordered the street corn to start. Very tasty — and isn’t that a nice presentation?

We got two black and blue salads (blackened shrimp with blue cheese)

and two orders of shrimp tacos.

Both were very good, fresh, and well prepared. The beans and rice also were tasty.

Ella opted for macaroni and cheese, while Liza sensed that Lily would love some chicken tenders. Fearing it might offend the chickens who were sauntering around at will, as chickens do in Key West, I felt awkward about ordering chicken tenders. As it turned out, the local chickens share the pervasive Key West insouciance, and it also turned out that the chicken tenders were really good as, indeed, was the macaroni and cheese. You may want to bring a child along so that you can order them.

Meanwhile, I shifted to a Havana Red, a slightly hoppy amber ale, and Michael decided to try the Flying Rooster, a white IPA. We were both happy with our choices, and Liza was happy to stick with the Endless Summer.

As I trust you have gathered, this was a great place for lunch. The food was good, the courtyard setting was delightful, and a band across the street was playing Grateful Dead music far enough away to be just the right volume. If you’re in Key West, stroll on down to First Flight.


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