Florida Keys Business
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Shops come and go

My word, there's stuff happening in this town. Every time I picked up my phone last week, there was news about businesses opening, closing, moving or expanding. And those are just the ones I've heard about.

I'm still mourning the loss of Fast Buck Freddie's from its historic corner of Fleming and Duval, and it was a sad Wednesday when I spent a few hours on Tony Falcone's back porch, listening to a man who loves Key West perhaps more than anyone I've met. And despite the economic factors and changes in retail shopping that prompted his decision to close many people's favorite shop, there was still hope in his voice, hope for the future of Key West and its main tourism thoroughfare.

I just hope others share that hope and decide to move in a direction that keeps Key West magical without catering to the lowest common denominator. We're better than that, really we are.

So let's not dwell on what was, but get started on what is now and what could be.

First off, there's a new doughnut shop in Old Town.

Jonathan and Megan Pidgeon opened Glazed at 420 Eaton St. and are quickly developing a loyal local following. The couple met in culinary school in New York, where he got a degree in culinary arts and she in baking and pastry arts. They managed catering companies in Virginia, worked for accomplished pastry chefs in Napa Valley and eventually decided to head south to warmth. Jonathan worked his way up to executive chef at Blackfin Bistro and Megan worked as a pastry chef at Fin before trying her hand at doughnuts in the privacy of her kitchen.

The pair and their friends (lucky people) went through a series of arduous recipe-testing and finally agreed they could sell their little fried creations.

Glazed offers traditional doughnuts for $1.50 and fancier ones for $3. And by "fancy," we're talking orange hibiscus doughnuts, coconut pineapple doughnuts and doughnuts filled with homemade apple butter and topped with caramelized apples.

Eaton Street's jumping for dessert these days.

Cakes by Karol has moved her sweet operation from Truman Avenue to 533 Eaton St., where she continues to churn out stunning specialty cakes for weddings, bachelor parties and every other occasion, along with cupcakes, cookies and other treats.

Before dessert, don't forget the new Five Guys Burgers and Fries place is open in the old scooter rental place at the corner of Truman and Duval. They even have some parking spaces. The burgers are meaty, the fries are crispy, the place is lively and the soda fountain has 120 choices. No word yet on when the New Town location at the old Key West Diner will open.

There are changes afoot at KWest Men and the adjoining liquor store in the 700 block of Duval Street, where Flamingo's Cafe has closed and walls are coming down between the liquor store and the men's club.

We're still waiting for the definitive word on what will become of the existing Publix once it moves to the old Albertsons, and the age-old rumor about a Walmart on Rockland Key is alive and well, but still just that -- a rumor.

Conch Scoops is no more and Bangla Deli is gone. Bobalu's Key West is going and will host a grand finale party on May 27 next to the Green Parrot.

You may have read earlier this week that Pat Croce will install a late-night barbecue restaurant in 404 Southard St. come this fall, and we're still waiting to hear what will become of the giant void left by Fast Buck Freddie's. I know Tony Falcone is doing his best to ensure that his shoes are filled by something that won't make us all roll our eyes.

So in honor of his positive outlook and love of Key West, let's all hope for the best and in the coming week, head downtown and spend some money in one of Old Town's locally owned shops, restaurants or bars. It's worth it.

And as always, keep me posted about what's going on by emailing

business@keysnews.com.

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