The final demise of “The Twisted Dish” has brought us back to a memorable eating establishment. The “Meteor Smokehouse” is back, and so are the locals and tourists. The best smoke in town!

As reported in a previous post, The Twisted Dish finally gave up with it’s upscale menu and put the business on the market. It took awhile, but Scottie, a Key West restaurant and bar industry veteran, stepped up to the plate (or should we say “Dish”). The rumors ran rampant during November that Scottie, a manager at “The Green Parrot”, was going to take over the Dish and return it to it’s greatness as the Meteor Smokehouse. The anticipation was mind-boggling.

There was a brief letdown as word got out that the financing didn’t go through. Hey, it’s a horrible time to get financing with the sub-prime debacle in high gear. But within a short time frame the problems were ironed out and ownership changed hands.

The place closed as the normal turnover had to go through the necessary mascinations. Inventory had to be taken, new licenses had to be issued, regulatory inspections had to be completed, new menus and kitchen procedures had to be established. Of course, we all expected the opening to be immediate. We wanted it to be immediate. We prayed for it to be immediate.

We have all heard the cliches “patience is a virtue” and “good things come to those who wait”, but these weak phrases had no meaning. I was impatient. The doors stayed locked for over two weeks as I kept getting the “inside info”… should be open tomorrow … shooting for Friday …almost ready … any day now.

With all of the angst building up, the new Meteor finally opened their doors. The menu looked as I remembered it… smoked ribs, pork and beef brisket were the dominant items. The list of sides (including the spicy green beans) was back with items I not only could pronounce, but I knew what they were. It was worth the wait.

It didn’t take long for the locals to start streaming in. Within a few weeks the bar stools and the tables were full of happy patrons. Scottie brought back the old traditional inside dining area with booths and it started attracting the non-smokers and family oriented patrons. And the tourists returned in vast numbers.

I wasn’t happy when the Twisted Dish took over originally in November, 2006, so my opinions may be somewhat biased. But now I’m not only happy for the transformation, but I’m really impressed with the level of originality that has returned. It’s like the Twisted Dish never existed.

Some of the old personnel are still there, but for the most part the staff is new. As the opening bugs got worked out, the service and food quality have become excellent. The pricing, for what you get, is a real value.

One thing Scottie did, after getting past the original opening, was to extend the hours into the early morning. Since “PT’s Late Night” closed, there hasn’t been many places you can eat after 10PM. The hungry night crowd at The Meteor is beginning to come in, especially the staff at other restaurants when they get off work. The bar & kitchen stays open until 3AM.

This is not a fancy restaurant. It is a great place to eat and drink in a real Key West friendly, casual atmosphere. You definitely want to put The Meteor Smokehouse on your list of places to visit when you’re in Old Town. Located just off Duval Street, right next door to The Green Parrot Bar at 404 Southard Street.