Big Pine Key: search for an endangered species

Big Pine Key, in the Florida Keys, is famous for an endangered species, the Key deer.  Only about 600 Key deer remain in the world, and most live on Big Pine Key.

We were curious to see Key deer, and, so, we headed over in late afternoon to the limestone quarry – prime time for deer spotting. Not a one in sight!  Not about to give up, we drove a little further down the road and – sure enough – spotted two key deer.  They are a sub-species of the Virginia deer and are a smaller size.  To us, they looked the same as deer from back home except for the smaller size.

DSC01382Well, we have to tell you that Big Pine Key has more than just small, endangered deer. The town has two restaurants that are each really a bit funky, but worth trying: Springers and Coco’s.

DSC01209We almost left Springers as soon as we walked in.  Was it a biker bar?  At 5pm the place was packed and hopping, and everyone else had obviously been there for some time – very happy and boisterous.  Quick decision to make: should we stay? We sprung for the last table by the bar. Ordered two veggie dishes on the menu. Veggie dishes? Yes, they had veggie dishes. That was our first surprise.  The next surprise was that the food was excellent as was the service. Reaonably priced, too.

DSC01385Coco’s Kitchen is a tiny place in a strip mall next to a Laundromat.  They close at 7:30pm.  We read that their specialty is Cuban food though the family that runs it is Nicaraguan.  We arrived at 5pm and got the last table. At one point, I counted thirty folks crammed into a very small restaurant, all served by one hard-working woman. This is definitely a place for locals, and we were lucky to find it.  The food was delicious.  Suggestions for Coco’s:  get rid of the disposable plates and hire more help.

January 2013

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Trip across the US - 2013 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Big Pine Key: search for an endangered species

  1. Marti Weston says:

    The cute little dear kept walking onto the property of the vegan B and B where we stayed on Big Pine Key. We went to Springers to get grouper sandwiches — after our vegan breakfasts (which were great). The deer were not at all shy, but awfully small, and sometimes they just stood on the roads. We could also see them on land when we kayaked. If you are staying much longer on the Keys we recommend The Wharf Bar and Grill on Summerland Key. Great organic and sustainable wines and lots of good seafood at not too expensive prices. At least one veggie entree all three nights that we ate there — we split one as an appetizer one night. (

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