Photo courtesy of Jannette De LlanosMixed among the seafood shacks and tiki bars in Islamorada, M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom is a carnivore’s dream. The brainchild of Chef George Patti and sommelier Thomas Smith, the restaurant opened in 2012 in a small strip mall at mile marker 88 on U.S. Highway 1 in the Florida Keys.
Don’t be fooled by their humble facade. Inside, Patti cooks up “gourmet fast food” like homemade sausages, specialty burgers made with Kobe beef, turkey or chorizo, freshly cooked pork rinds, cherry-wood smoked bacon and duck fat french fries.
Photo courtesy of Jannette De LlanosThe cozy interior has the feeling of an ultra-modern pub with faux brick walls and a 20-foot long bar. The 40 seats are usually bustling with a combination of regulars and visitors in-the-know. Watch the chalkboard for daily specials like homemade duck sausage or porchetta topped with Guinness gravy, as Patti delights in coming up with new decadent, artery-clogging delicacies. If you can catch Patti out of the kitchen, he’ll happily tell you about his from-scratch methods for everything from the perfect buttermilk fried chicken to hand-casing sausages.
Desserts are equally mouth-watering with homemade ice cream flavors like Nutella with marshmallow and peanut butter fudge. Cupcakes come in creative combinations like carrot cake with foie gras cream cheese frosting. Adult milkshakes round out the menu like Wells Banana Bread Ale from England blended with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Add a wide selection of craft beer (12 on tap), organic wines and microbrew sodas, and you have the recipe for a truly adventurous meal.