In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Head Mermaid, Kristi Ann to talk about how she got the idea for the festival, and how she applied her savvy retail skills into her creation.

Save the date: July 1st – 5th 2021

More on the Mermaid Festival

The Key West Mermaid Festival is founded by a Key West native mermaid. She, along with her crew and pod, invite you to step back in time to an island called Cayo Hueso (Bone Cay), where the Gulf meets the Atlantic, and the captains, seafarers, and fishermen would tell their stories of the sweet sirens’ songs.

This fin-tastic five-day event will unite the Key West locals and tourists, our neighboring Keys, visiting mermaid communities, and mermaid enthusiasts from around the world, on our magical little island. Family friendly, with fun for all, join us as we raise awareness for our beautiful oceans and educate all humans to swim safely in mermaid tails. #TheTakeOverIsReel we like to say, and we look forward to getting salty with all of the captains and mermaids who work hard to make Key West and the Florida Keys a better place for all who live the island life and our visitors.

Website: https://www.keywestmermaidfestival.com

Instagram: http://instagram.com/keywestmermaidfestival

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Key-West-Mermaid-Festival-393132694482477/

This episode is sponsored by Backyards of Key West art 🙂

https://backyards-of-key-west.myshopify.com

Limited Edition Giclee Prints On Canvas

In the episode, Mark Baratto sits down with travel blogger Michele O’Connor to talk about how she started her blogging business and how she grew her website into a full-time business.

More on FunInKeyWest.com

Who are we and what do we know about Key West?

We are avid travelers.  Road trip is our middle name.  Any chance we get, we are on the open road.  We even have jobs that have us traveling around.  I guess you could say it’s a way of life.  A few years back, we ended up at the end of the road, A1A that is, and found Key West.  It truly was love at first sight.

We met in Alaska and since then have been looking for a place that reminded us of that frontier spirit… we found it in Key West.

As often as we can we travel back to Key West and enjoy every minute we have on the Island.  Our youngest lives in Florida, so it gives us a great excuse to stop in and say “hi” to him before we travel down to the Keys.  Our boys finally were able to take a trip to the Keys and now have been bitten by the bug…. the Key West bug… and they travel there as often as they can too.

Which brings us to why we have created this website.  We want to help you plan your trips down to Key West.  Notice I said “trips”?  You will want to visit over and over again …. trust us on that!  Reach out we are here to answer your questions and help you not be overwhelmed when planning your trip.  

Want to explore ideas on your own?  Check out our website.  Every one of our posts is written by us… which means, we only write about what we have done, seen, or been.  You get our honest opinion about a restaurant, bar, or tour.

Kevin is a wonderful photographer and most of our website is filled with his photos.  I use my iPhone and find it does a pretty decent job.  Also, I write most of the articles – so if you find grammatical errors or unfinished thoughts… let me know… I will probably blame it on tequila but will appreciate your input.

Also, feel free to comment.  We love to hear what you think.  Comment on a post or we have a very active social media fan base on Facebook and Instagram and would love to hear from you.  Give us ideas on where to go, food to eat and of course drinks to try.

Like most of you, we want to live in Key West full time and are working on that goal every day.  Follow my blog as I will keep you updated on the struggle …. and some days it is a struggle because we really want to be there instead of here.  Here we work long hours and have days filled with cold and snow in the winter months… unless we have escaped for a short period of time to the Island.

Website: https://www.funinkeywest.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/funinkeywest/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FunInKeyWest

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FunInKW

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLPjTyll8Sp59G9KhysTgeQ

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Key West City Manager Greg Veliz (before the Covid-19 pandemic).

We talked about Greg’s journey from Conch to elected official, and all the bumps in-between.

I love and admire Greg’s tenacity and hope this episode teaches you that anything can happen with the right attitude.

More on Greg Veliz

The City Manager’s Department provides executive leadership in the management of all departments and enterprises of the City. The City Manager reports to the Mayor and Commissioners and responds to the needs of the public by proactively seeking public feedback.

Website: https://www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov/395/City-Manager

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Johnna, one of the owners of Cruisin’ Tikis, and Captain Ryan.

Johnna tells her story of going from the retired life to the Tiki life while actually on one of their famed Tikis.

More on Cruisin’ Tikis Key West

ENJOY A TIKI CRUISE IN BEAUTIFUL KEY WEST, FLORIDA


Cruisin’ Tikis Key West offers a variety of cruises from 1 – 3 hours with THREE locations to choose from.
We  also offer private parties and special events including but not limited to:

  • Birthday Parties
  • Bachelor / Bachelorette Parties
  • Engagements
  • Retirement Parties
  • Sunset Cruises
  • Sandbar Cruises 
  • Corporate retreats and events
  • Let your imagination design your TIKI CRUISE today!
  • Want to get married on a Tiki Boat? Two of our captains are officiates… so if you are looking for a laid back tiki wedding let us know. Or contact Ana at Key West Wedding Day to help design your perfect wedding package.   www.keywestweddingday.com/
  • We provide bottled water, sodas, cups, a cooler with ice, blender, Bluetooth Radio, and  USCG Certified captain!
  • All of our cruises are BYOB, guests are permitted to bring the alcoholic beverage of their choice along with food or snacks.

Website: https://www.cruisintikiskeywest.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cruisintikiskeywest/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cruisintikiskeywest/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CruisinTikisKW

COVID – 19
We are adhering to the guidelines provided to us by the CDC, State of Florida, as well as the county/city. To reduce the spread of COVID – 19 enhanced safety measures will be put in place for out crew and guests. All  guests will have temperature checks upon arrival. If an individual’s temperature is 100.4 °F or higher, they will not be permitted to board. Social distancing procedures will be in place throughout the experience. Hand sanitizer will be available before, during, and after each trip.  We will be diligent about disinfecting all frequently touched objects. Guests are required to wear masks to and from the tikis (while waiting on the dock, walking down the dock, and leaving the dock).

In this episode, Mark Baratto sings down with musician Joal Rush to talk about his musical origin story (more than 20 years ago), the time he puts into his music, and where he is headed.

We recorded this podcast for the Songwriters Podcast many months before the COVID-19 lockdown.

More on Joal Rush

Born & raised in Camden, South Carolina, Joal Rush began his musical quest at an early age(singing, drumming, playing guitar & bass, as well as dabbling on piano), and has been performing live for the past two decades, sharing the stage with nationally renowned artists Zac Brown Band, Jason Isbell, Darius Rucker, Lee Brice, Shovels & Rope, Sister Hazel, Drivin’ n Cryin’, Edwin McCain, Jay Clifford(Jump, Little Children), Jakob Dylan, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Styx, and Foreigner, while releasing a handful of albums along the way(Delightful Things, Imagination, Wares).

Rush relocated to Nashville, TN in the summer of 2014, to focus on writing/recording the songs for his upcoming album, Kaleidoscope Emotions. Joal Rush uniquely blends influences of Folk/Pop/Rock & Soul, to create a style all his own.

Website: http://www.joalrush.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joalrush

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joalrush 

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/JoalRushMusic

In this episode of the podcast, Mark Baratto sits down with the Kiteboarder, Chef, and owner/creator of the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery, Paul Menta.

We talk about how Paul took a number of chances when creating his rum distillery and how his “failures” help him find success.

In a post-COVID-19 world, Paul saw how hand sanitizer was hard to come by, so made his own product mixing 140 proof alcohol with aloe and transmission gel, used in ultrasounds.

Menta gave away the 3-oz bottles around town to service workers, retailers, mail carriers, and anyone else hard at work in Key West during high season for tourists.

Key West First Legal Rum Distillery

WHAT IS CHEF DISTILLED?

For centuries, Distillers have been making the sweet libation…Rum.  Some legal, some not so legal.

One common task shared by rum Distillers and Chefs alike is cooking sugar cane in big kettles or “stills.” We are Chefs first and Distillers second, so our process is called Chef Distilled!

This combination of skill brings out the best flavors in our original white rums, made with Florida sugar cane and with infusions of Coconut, Vanilla Creme Brulee, and Real Key Lime. Our 6 times distilled specialty rums are sure to twist your taste buds on an adventure!

We are still “Chefs,” so we jar rum cakes, fresh fruits, and savory vegetables. Why is our craft different, you ask?  Because homemade has no preservatives!

Taste History at the First-Ever Legal Rum Distillery in Key West Fla.  Chef Distilled means a whole new way to craft food and drink!

Website: https://www.keywestlegalrum.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/keywestlegalrum

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/keywestrumdistillery

Location & Contact Infor
105 Simonton Street
Key West FLA 33040
[email protected]
T  /  305-294-1441      

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with owners and mother-daughter powerhouse, Jasmine and Morgan.

We talk about how they got into the business, how they work together in a family business, and how their passion for the environment, spills into everything magical they do!

*A little note that this episode was recorded before COVID hit, but they are still open and living the dream!!

More on AMRI

We are an ethical and sustainable day spa, salon, and boutique located in the heart of Key West, FL. 

We aim to always put people and the planet above all else. We accomplish this by thinking of the people involved in every area of our supply chain. From the people who make the products we sell, to our team members at our storefront in Key West, to you,  our guest! Our main priority is making sure Amri is impacting all of these people’s lives and the planet in a  positive way. From making sure the factories our products are made in are up to code and the workers are getting a fair wage- to making sure the materials our products we sell and use in our Day Spa + Salon are good for the planet and every living thing in it.

We couldn’t express our gratefulness to be apart of this One Human Family and for all of the support we’ve gotten from the community during this time. Our heartbeat has always been people and the planet first, and it continues to be😊❤️.

Please visit our website for more info on our covid precautions and protocols 😊.

Website: https://www.amrikeywest.com

Instagram: http://instagram.com/amrikeywest

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amrikeywest

Location
1204 Simonton Street
Key West, FL 33040

Hours
Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm

Phone
305.292.4000

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with owners Matt & Katie Wills of The Spice & Tea Exchange of Key West.

This episode was recorded in December of 2019 and I wanted to wait for them to be back open after the COVID shut down.

We talk about how they took a leap of faith to start a brand new business in Key West, how they work the family dynamic, and how a “little rub goes a long way 😎.”

More on The Spice & Tea Exchange

At The Spice & Tea Exchange, we offer a variety of fine spices, handcrafted seasonings, loose-leaf teas, salts, sugars, gifts, and more! Explore gifts and accessories in the best local gift shop in town. Whether you’re new to the culinary scene, own your own food service business, or are simply looking to add a bit of spice to your life, our friendly and knowledgeable staff can help you find the perfect menu additions! We’re known for our over 85 handcrafted seasonings, which we hand-mix in store daily. Stop on by to watch our Spice Masters at work!

Website: https://www.spiceandtea.com/key-west

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/spiceandtea_keywest/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TSTEKeyWest/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/spiceandtea

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/spiceandtea/

511 Greene St, #102
Key West, Florida 33040

305-741-7352
[email protected]

Our doors are open and we’re offering curbside pickup and Free Shipping over $50 on local phone orders!

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with chef and co-owner Babeth to discuss how the business was affected during the COVID-19 shutdown, how this family-owned business is surviving, and some tips on doing the same.

This is my first interview back after the shutdown and we laughed, shared stories, and I ate… a little too much!

More on La Grignote Artisan French Bistro

Website: http://lagrignotecafe.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lagrignote/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/La-Grignote-170784603348283/

OUR STORY: A FRENCH COUPLE LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM

La Grignote cafe is family-owned by Joel and Babeth, a couple in life. After falling in love with the island on his first visit to Key West in 1995, and spending a year there, it took Joel 20 years to fulfill his dream to move there permanently. In the meantime he met Babeth, a french baker aspiring to open a bakery in Florida, and they opened “La Grignote” in September 2016.

“We decided to make everything from scratch with high-quality ingredients. We also want to be a part of the neighborhood, the community not just cater to tourists.”

Today, we are recognized as the best bakery, place to eat by the whole community.

We have gotten so successful that we opened another bakery called “La Petite Grignote” located on 517 Fleming street in Key West.

La Grignote Cafe
1211 Duval Street
Key West, FL, 33040, USA

La Petite Grignote
517 Fleming street
Key West, FL, 33040, USA

Phone: 305-916-5445

NOTE – Here is another pre COVID-19 episode. I am happy to say that Frita’s is back open and serve their delicious food.

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with the owner of Frita’s Cuban Burger Cafe, Marcia Weaver.

During this episode, we danced, we sang (well Marcia does) and I ate one of their famous Cuban Burger!

More on Frita’s Cuban Burger Cafe

Website: http://fritascubanburgers.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fritascuban/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Fritas-Cuban-Burger-Cafe-301558923350863/

Fritas Cuban Burger Cafe opened in 2014 with the goal of bringing the Cuban flavors of the “Frita” to Key West, Florida.

Just steps from the famous Duval Street, Frita’s provides a variety of tastes and experiences. Relax inside the Cafe where, along with our signature Fritas, you’ll enjoy delicious traditional Cuban and fusion sandwiches as well as tacos. Complete your meal with our homemade pastries, scoops and shakes made with locally crafted premium ice cream. Cool down with a glass of sangria, or take one to go!

The Frita is a heavenly burger with origins in 1930’s Cuba where they were considered a native street food. Frita’s exclusive recipes were developed slowly and lovingly with visits to Cuba and assistance from Cuban friends. They are a mouthwatering blend of beef and pork burger seasoned with Spanish spices and topped with a special sauce and crispy fried julienne potatoes, all sandwiched on a Cuban bun. Salty, savory, sweet and crunchy.

Fritas Cuban Burger Cafe is the brainchild of entrepreneur Marcia Weaver who also owns and operates Boston Cigar Factory, proud purveyors of handmade cigars rolled in the Cuban tradition.

Contact Info:

425 Southard St
Key West, Florida 33040
Phone: (305) 509-7075