We visited four restaurants: Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe, Key Lime Republic, Key West Key Lime Pie Co., and Old Town Bakery. We walked from place to place, spread out our sampling over time, and took notes as we went along. Here are our impressions:
Kermit's: John sampled a piece of key lime pie; I sampled the frozen chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick. For the purposes of our research, we dismissed my piece, as it wouldn't be fair to compare chocolate-covered to plain. I just didn't want to pass up the chance to taste one of the Top 10 Desserts in America. (It was good, but I don't think I would rank it in the top 10.)
Back to the task at hand: John found Kermit's key lime pie to be a bit on the sweet side; we prefer something a bit more tangy. The crust was somewhat dry. The filling itself was light. Not a bad pie by any means, but not our top pick. Overall rating: Third place.
Key Lime Republic's pie was delightful. The filling was smooth, thick, and custard-like, with a nice balance of flavors. It was not too sweet and not too tart. The graham cracker crust was thin. Overall rating: Second place.
Key West Key Lime Pie Co.'s pie would have done better had we not been comparing it to others. Having read some reviews ahead of time that mentioned it was a very sweet pie, and having also read that an "extra-tart" pie was available, we opted for a piece of "extra-tart." If you have a serious sweet tooth, this might just be the place for you, because their "extra-tart" was still extra-sweet compared to the competition. Also, the pie was served a bit frozen, so it was lacking in creaminess. Overall rating: Fourth place.
The winner of our search for the best key lime pie in Key West, Florida is Old Town Bakery. This unpretentious little place is inland a bit from the cruise terminal, and doesn't even bother to put "Key Lime" in its name. They offer lots of different food options--and if their key lime pie is any indication, you can't go wrong!
The filling for their pie is smooth, dense, and creamy, with just the right balance of sweet and tart flavors. The thick graham cracker crust is moist and delicious. As an added bonus, the pie was the least expensive of the four we sampled!
The bench outside the bakery was occupied, but we were directed to the seating across the street, outside a restaurant that was closed at the time. We enjoyed our pie in the company of a rooster. (Chickens are all over Key West!)
|Photo: A slice of Key Lime Pie sits on a picnic table, while a rooster stands on the ground.|
If you ever find yourself in Key West, go visit Old Town Bakery (930 Eaton Street) and enjoy a slice of the best key lime pie!
Thanks for research projects and key lime pie!