Saturday, March 2, 2019

Land Fishing

So here's the conundrum: you like to eat seafood but you don't fish...Well obviously you find a restaurant and order a fried fish sandwich, or if you are feeling less inclined to the starches you order a grilled fish on a caesar  salad and then you thank me for reminding you of two of the best local dishes you can find in the Lower Keys. Let's face it, there are tons of excellent eateries and dozens of styles and ethnicities of foods cooked for us but Key West is a former commercial seaport. So we want fish, it stands to reason, especially if you live here. 
My wife loves Fishbusterz so I love Fishbusterz, especially as I know we are getting seafood after she makes Fishbusterz noises. Key West Old Town residents have an excellent seafood place on Eaton Street which also offers seating with cooked seafood for consumption on premises. I have heard only good things about them but as I live (and my wife cooks) outside Key West we gravitate to the shops that involve less traffic and parking issues than those downtown. Having said that I feel an urge coming on to explore an Eaton Street fish sandwich...
Fishbusterz offers the proper range of local seafood as you might expect. However their history is quite interesting as they were started as a business to support local boats and offer a market for local fishing. Checking a  story I did on this place in 2008 you can see they have evolved over the past decade. 
They started out selling cooked food while highlighting their intimate connection to the fishing fleet. It was at a time when the commercial fishing docks on Stock Island were under threat of development and Fishbusterz stepped in to keep the fleet  from disintegrating. As it was commercial boats had retreated to the Stock Island docks from Key West Bight, pushed out by massive development.
 And so you can still find locally caught seafood  for sale...locally.
 And if you fancy a conch feast you can buy five pounds of the stuff right here. I am not a huge fan of conch or abalone (on the west coast) as I feel it's one of those foods that gets its flavor from the breading or the lemon juice or whatever coking agent is used. However I am almost alone in that, and this stuff is massively popular.
 Limes and lemons are for sale too, essential accouterments for fruits of the sea.
 And let us not forget suaces and spices from the Key West Spice Company.
 Clothing of one sort or...
 ...another.
 Yes and we should all love Stock Island, shouldn't we?
Fishbusterz is on the main drag from Highway One which starts out at the traffic light where the street is called Macdonald and then the road evolves into Maloney -don't ask, it just does- and on the right just past West Marine the low blue building will appear will all its fishy goodness.