Monday, July 2, 2012

Hog Heaven - Not a Drive-By Anymore

While driving down to the Keys over the past few years I've noticed a particular restaurant sign. Every time I see it, I make a mental note that next time I'm heading down to Islamorada, I should stop there.  A place that advertises with giant, bubble gum pink pigs wearing shades and drinking beer has to be a good time, right?

Just past a bridge and nestled in between a mangrove hammock and a boat slip is Hog Heaven.  At first sight, I don't know what to make of the joint.  Is it a BBQ restaurant or a biker bar?  I still can't tell.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find a laid back oasis out back.

I walk through the restaurant, where you seat yourself, of course, past a dimly lit sports bar and friendly bartender, with pool tables and the normal bikini-clad sports bar ads that you find in such an establishment, through the back door to a seating area surrounded by mangroves facing the Atlantic Ocean.

It's a calm day and the ocean is a deep blue-green.  After being cooped up in the car for two hours, it feels great sitting outside, looking out at the water.  The restaurant has tables lining a small dock area and even has a small beach with picnic tables and palms further out back.  You could spend a good couple of hours hanging out here.

Besides the relaxing atmosphere, did I mention there's a very large, mechanical pink pig?  No?

And kooky Keys-esque signs?

And part of an old 1960's cherry red caddy inside the front door?

The food was surprisingly really good - their fish dip, garden salad (with real bacon and cheese) and fish tacos were all good for sports bar fare.  There is karaoke Thursday nights and pretty awesome happy hour during the week.  It's definitely a place I'd like to check out again.  

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