In this part 2 episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Jenny Lorenz, the Director of Marketing at The Perry Hotel Key West.

We go behind the curtain in this interview, to get a first-hand experience of what all hotels had to go through during the pandemic, all the steps The Perry is taking to put their customers first, and how they continue to make changes for future growth.

More on The Perry Hotel Key West

Inspired by Commodore Perry, the father of the United States Navy, The Perry Hotel’s easy, laid-back atmosphere has been thoughtfully cultivated to stay true to the seafaring roots of Old Key West. Discover a place transformed and a history reclaimed at the award-winning Perry Hotel, breathing new life into our beloved Stock Island.

Some Hotel Amenities

  • 100 guest rooms
  • Water views all around
  • Two restaurants, including pool/dockside bar
  • Indoor/outdoor dining
  • Waterfront swimming pool
  • Outdoor fire pits
  • Direct access to marina and ocean
  • Water activities available onsite
  • Dog-friendly hotel & rooms
  • Two dog parks
  • Local artist curations and studios
  • On-site scooter & bike rentals
  • Green Pineapple Boutique
  • ADA Accessible Features

Website: https://www.perrykeywest.com

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/perrykeywest

Location:
7001 Shrimp Road
Key West, FL 33040 
+1 (305) 296-1717

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 Square Grouper creator and owner Lynn Bell.

We talk about how they got started, their expanding location plan, and how they are navigating the restaurant business in a new COVID-19 environment.

More on The Square Grouper Bar & Grill

The Square Grouper Bar and Grill is located at MM 22.5 Oceanside on Cudjoe Key, Florida. One of the Florida Keys most popular destinations for unforgettable fresh & local seafood, with an emphasis on consistency and quality.

Lynn and her staff have a dedication to excellence paired with a focus on detail which has defined the Square Grouper Bar and Grill as a must-visit restaurant.  Come visit for a large selection of innovative small plates, ever-changing specials, homemade desserts, a boutique wine list, and a rotating selection of microbrews. The restaurant emphasizes being environmentally friendly and “green”, and all paper products and straws are made from corn products.

Website: https://squaregrouperbarandgrill.com

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

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

Address
22658 Overseas Hwy MM 22.5 Oceanside, 
Cudjoe Key, FL 33042 

Phone
305-745-8880

Email: [email protected]

This episode is brought to you by The Marquesa Hotel.

The Key West Hotel Marquesa and Café Marquesa are the finest small Key West hotel and restaurant on our island. Set in the center of the historic district of Old Town Key West, the Marquesa compound is set around a lush interior garden and sparkling swimming pools. Time slows down at the Marquesa where a quiet retreat awaits those looking for luxury, privacy, excellent food and service.

This episode is also brought to you by ME 😎.

Less than a year ago I started taking pictures of my favorite homes in Key West, sharing them on my social media account called Backyards of Key West; showcasing them to fans around the world.

Since these adorable homes have been such a big hit, I decided to sell them as Limited Edition, numbered, signed, giclee print on canvas – all printed locally here in Key West,

Why not take a little piece of Key West home with you to hang on your wall!

You can find all the art at https://backyards-of-key-west.myshopify.com and can get 10% off any of the art by using the code: FRIENDS10

In this inaugural 52nd episode, Mark Baratto sits down with famed Key West influencer, Steven Dunbar, to talk about how he grew his massive Instagram account @VisitKeyWest, what trends he sees in social media, and how you can turn something you love into a viable business with just a little online perseverance.

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]ceandtea.com

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 Steven, the food and beverage director for Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar and the Salty Oyster Dockside Bar & Grill at The Perry Hotel.

We discuss how these two restaurants get all their amazing food, the incredible brunch deal, and what the heck a fishmonger is ;).

This episode was recorded many months ago and I’m happy to say that the brunch deal is still going on!

More on Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar

At Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar, the ingredients speak for themselves. It’s American Coastal Comfort Food—simple, comforting, and delicious in a way you’d never expect. Whether you bring in your own fresh catch for us to prepare or come in to order just a few dishes, you’ll want to try everything on the menu. Plus, our gift cards make the perfect present for your favorite foodie

Website: https://www.perrykeywest.com/eat-and-drink/matts-stock-island

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mattsstockislan

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Paradise Restaurant owner, Christian Velez.

This was recorded before the pandemic shut down, and I hope they get as busy again as they were during this interview!

This is one of the shortest episodes I’ve ever done because Christian was not only working the bar but helping take orders, serving food… this guy was really doing it all!

More on Paradise Restaurant

Website: http://www.restaurantparadisekw.com

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

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

It began with two brothers born in Miami, FL but raised in their family’s homeland in Medellin, Colombia. Christian Velez and Julian Velez, now 25 and 30, respectively. While living in Colombia, their family decided to move to Miami with hopes of building a life that included their dreams and visions. Once reaching the USA, their parents placed them in a soccer program known today as Kendall Soccer coalition, making great teammates that eventually turned into family along the way.

This was the beginning of their soccer career and as time passed, they were granted the special opportunity to continue playing soccer at a university level with a scholarship. From Kendall Soccer Coalition to Florida Gulf Coast University, it was looked as a giant step with goals of making it professionally. Unfortunately, things took a turn when everything seemed so great when hardships and internal family matters broke up the unity amongst the Velez family. While Christian remained in school to complete his degree, his brother left to Colombia.

Over a span of 5 years, the brothers were distant but remained in close communication with hopes to one day create a legacy together to honor the family and everything their parents sacrificed for them to be where they were today. Together they planned to move out of their comfort zone all the way down to Key West. Working counted hours and sleepless nights, they saved onto eventually open their one gift shop “Life in Paradise.” They recognized the amounts of visitors who showed up next door to their neighbor’s side, known as “Juan loves Lucy.’ A very popular restaurant that ran for more than six years. After years passed, they planned to one day envision a restaurant next door to accompany their citing store. A restaurant that encompasses the culture they’ve been able to ___? in Colombia and the melting pot up in Miami, they wanted to create a place for everyone and anyone. And so they opened an international cuisine for tourists from all over the world to have a taste of a variety of dishes ranging from Colombia, Cuba, Peru, USA, and Mexico. Today what you see is the work and labor that brings stout the restaurant, known as Paradise. For behind every storm, be sure to know there is a paradise waiting for you. We gladly welcome you to ours.

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

This episode is a first for me. As some of you may know, I record these episodes months in advance and have collected 6 months’ worth of podcasts to put out.

With times like this, I reached out to Scott Atwell, the Executive VP & CEO of the Key West Chamber of Commerce to bring you as many helpful tips as we can for your business. We recorded this episode on April 2nd, and it is airing on April 3rd, so we can provide the best up to date information.

You may have heard my offering within this episode. Below is my email address, and if you don’t have a website or social medial account and you are a Key West business, I am offering my service free of charge to get you up and running.

You can email me at [email protected] and we can have a chat about getting you up and running.

Also, if you want to start your very own podcast, I put together a how-to guide found here: https://backyardsofkeywest.com/how-to-start-a-podcast/

Lastly, here is the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application link I mentioned: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/

More on the Key West Chamber of Commerce

“The mission of the Greater Key West Chamber of Commerce is to serve its members and maintain and promote a viable economy for the businesses and working people of Key West”

For more information on how the Key West Chamber can help you or your business please contact them at 305-294-2587.

Website: https://www.keywestchamber.org

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

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

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

Small Business Help

A message from the Chamber:

There are four different programs featured in our recent newsletter, shared by SBDC. These include: 

• the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
• SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
• SBA Payroll Support through the CARES Act
• Florida DEO Payroll Support Program. 

These loans are different than ones that have been offered in previous disasters.

For the recap of those programs shared in the newsletter, go to https://bit.ly/347v4o7

For the FAQ forwarded to us by US Senator Rick Scotts Office on the CARES Act, go to https://bit.ly/343eZjd

For the Coronavirus and a Business Assistance Program Information sheet provided by Monroe County, go to https://bit.ly/3aNcaFu

Several of our local financial institutions can assist their customers with SBA loans, although they are waiting for further instructions from the Federal Government you can reach out to your local bank for future guidance. 

First State Bank of the Florida Keys 
Existing First State Bank customers who would like to be contacted to apply as soon as the SBA program is released, can fill out a Contact Request Form on the Bank’s website www.KeysBank.com/sba-loan-contact-request

or contact Brad Lutz, AVP Commercial Lending,
at 305-293-7163 or [email protected]  
For non-SBA loans, call 305-296-8535.

BB&T, now Truist
Both new and Existing clients seeking CARES solutions should contact Jay W. Hall or Dale Bittner directly at:  
Jay W. Hall: 305-292-3832 or [email protected]
Dale Bittner: 305-292-3842 or [email protected]

Centennial Bank
Existing Customers can reach out to their loan officer directly; non-customers can contact Mark Todaro at 305-676-3145. 

IBERIABANK 
Existing Customers can contact the following:
Jacqueline Luhta, Business Development Officer, 305-809-8987
Trich Worthington, Group Branch Manager, 305-289-5820