One of the things most people look forward to when warmer weather arrives is the opportunity to dine al fresco. Restaurants dust off their outdoor furniture, set up their mood lighting and effectively double the size of the dining room. People are so happy for this opportunity that they often overlook the fact that their table is overlooking a parking lot, a busy street or the wall of the neighboring business. Not all outdoor dining is created equally, and no place does it better than Key West restaurants.
During the course of a year, the average temperature in Key West rarely ranges more than 35 degrees. That means all year round the outdoor dining patios are set up and ready to go. In fact, most restaurants on the island focus primarily on setting the décor and atmosphere based on the assumption that people coming down on vacation will want to take advantage of the opportunity to dine outside. This is especially true when people from Minnesota visit in March, but it is equally true for people from St. Louis in the summertime.
Any meal that happens outside instantly feels more relaxed. This is one of the many reasons why Key West is the number one choice for people looking to have a tropical island destination wedding. Almost everyone has been to a wedding reception in a traditional banquet facility and no matter how good the band plays or how free flowing the wine is there is still an element of "stuffiness," a reminder that, even though this is the happiest day in many people's lives, it is still a formal occasion.
Now imagine that same reception, but instead of looking at walls and a ceiling you can see palm trees and stars. Immediately, the atmosphere changes. It becomes more of a celebration, people feel more relaxed and the good mood becomes infectious. Of course, it might have something to do with the fact that most Key West weddings do not require black tie, and the reception menu is probably less focused on pasta, chicken or steak and more in line with the environment by offering a variety of fresh seafood, crab cakes and key lime pie.
This does not just apply to wedding receptions. Every meal becomes more of a celebration, something to slow down and enjoy. One of the reasons millions of people every year choose to take their vacation in Key West is because of the relaxed pace of life. They call it island time, and it is about learning to savor each moment and not trying to rush through it. That is one reason why people look forward to dining outside, because it is relaxing. Isn't it time you took a trip to where they dine that way every day of the year?
Jack Terry is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer who has lived in Key West for several years. http://www.rooftopcafekeywest.com