BO’s Fish Wagon (Key West Food)
801 Caroline Street, Key West, Florida
Phone: (305) 294-9272
A Chef James Best of Key West Restaurant
Once upon a time on Duval St. (the main downtown thoroughfare in Old Town Key West) one of the best fish sandwiches in the Keys could be purchased off an old beat up pickup truck. If you’re driving around the Old Historic Seaport these days on the island and spot that old truck I would stop, but just know you’ll be in the corner of parking lot. Yes, that truck is now parked in front of an old shack like building that occupies the Caroline St. corner of the Old Seaport municipal parking facility next to the Waterfront Market.
There’s a lot that can be said about B O.’s, but character has to be at the top of the list. Everywhere you look in and around this eating spot you see wild and wacky personality, which is the same way the food is served and prepared. Everyone is having a good time and many nights* there’s hot music being played by such local favorites as “Barry and Barracudas.” You can’t help but have fun here because the surroundings dictate it, as do those who manage it.
This is not fine dining and not intended to be. You go to BOs to chill out and have a good time, not to pick a fine wine to go with your filet. What you will get is delicious food made with quality ingredients. I had the scallops with a side of their famous hand pulled fries and malt vinegar and a plastic glass of red wine and I enjoyed every bite and every sip. Yes, you can still get that fish sandwich I mentioned earlier. Even if you go alone you’ll meet some local personalities and end the evening with some new friends and dinner partners.
You should let loose at least one night while you’re visiting the island and I can’t think of a better place to go for it then at B.O.’s. It isn’t sexy or refined, but just plain fun. Go and have a good time!
Doug Heyman in Key West
for the Food Reference Website
* Note: How often and what nights there is live music depends on the time of year.
Customer Comment (Jan, 2008)
It appears that the grouper sandwich is no longer great at BO's. We were told in Nov of 2006 that it wasn't available. They said it was endangered. We got the mahi mahi instead. It was just Ok. Other restaurants in KW still offered it. They said that it now costs them more & some restaurants won't pay the higher cost. In Nov of 2007, it was on the menu again. You had to pay an extra $2 above the cost of mahi mahi. We both ordered it and found it to be very thin with lots of breading. It was very disappointing, knowing how good it used to be. The French fries were still great. We hope this is temporary and that the grouper will improve. We agree with and trust your reviews 99% of the time. BO's might be a place for you to revisit.
Thanks for your great and honest reviews,
We just returned from a month in Little Torch Key - made several trips into Key West and tried out restaurants recommended by locals. Looking for a recommendation for "the best fish sandwich" we were sent to BO's. My husband had the fish sandwich - I had some of the best grilled scallops I've every tasted, but it was the beans and rice that made the meal! WOW!
Glad to see your site up when I was searching for more information on Key West. I live in West Central Florida but visit Key West a couple of times a year and am always looking for news and tidbits about my favorite place. The more I visit, the more I end up hanging at the local haunts, getting to know more Conches and always trying to find new places with character. Which brings me to why I’m writing.
In the review of B O’s Fish Wagon by Doug Heyman, there were a few inaccuracies that I wanted to bring to your attention - no big deal but regulars to Key West might have the same issues. I do love the historical nature of his review, as B O’s is one of my favorite places too. I’ve gotten to know Buddy and his staff and some of the locals that I see every trip. Buddy has been instrumental in introducing many of the local faces (Popcorn Joe, Capt. Kincade, etc.) to my family and I.
Anyway, every time I visit I always check to see when they’re having live music. It used to be twice a week but now it’s down to just once a week (not many nights). This past trip Barry Cuda was playing with two other “Sharks” (not Barry and the Barracudas). Hey, I don’t live in Key West so I may be totally off on these things as Bone Island unfortunately changes too often. It might also be helpful to list hours of operation as B O’s typically closes at 9pm during most of the year. Of course all of this changes during peak times of the year but it might be helpful to manage expectations for those who visit.
Just thought I’d throw my 2 cents in. I’ve enjoyed all of the other reviews Doug has written and I agree with much that he has said. I especially like the customer comments. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more of your reviews, recipes and your other web sites. Thanks again. “Bonehead”