Who knew something as simple as "free bacon" would lure so many people to a restaurant? The new gastropub tucked away on Applerouth Lane dangled that carrot is now witnessing the results. Foodies, bacon lovers, and their dogs have found a new safe haven at pet-friendly 2₵ restaurant, which opened in January 2012. Funky décor consisting of re-used "junk" material like discarded safety deposit boxes (which make the bench) and graffiti-painted walls add to the atmosphere, and the outdoor garden makes for a brunch oasis.The Mussels with Naan Flatbread — Photo courtesy of Prissy in Paradise
Chris Otten (former chef at nine one five) and Chris Schultz (owner of The Porch, The Café) are the brains behind this endeavor, which may explain the high quality of the cuisine. Small – but by no means simple – menus (which change seasonally) advertise entrees like roasted New Zealand rack of lamb with ﬁngerling potatoes, or the Moroccan spiced chicken breast over cous cous with apricot, dates, and almonds. Fresh ingredients make the Thai chicken wings and curry mussels with naan flatbread downright irresistible. Craft beers like Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale are available on draft, as well as a selection of beer in bottles and cans – which seem to pair nicely with the endless bacon at Happy Hour (a bit random, but hey, why not?)
Sunday brunch items are far from the ordinary French toast and omelets: expect poblano rellenos with olive oil poached tuna, Scotch eggs with IPA mustard sauce, and grilled turkey with fried green tomatoes and cheddar cheese velouté.
In a town full of so many different cultures and characters, it's no surprise that an eclectic culinary scene follows suit. With such unique menu items and an unpretentious setting, guests will "sense" that 2₵ is off to a promising start in Key West.