Jason and Scott landed on the tarmac welcomed by the palm trees and sun. The real estate agent picked the two up from the airport and gave them a thorough tour of the island. An appointment for later in the evening with the current owners of the restaurant for sale was already set. In true Key West fashion with a few hours to waste it was time for sunset and margaritas. It’s not clear whether the decision was made during sunset or after the visit to the restaurant.
A short walk from sunset to the restaurant for sale revealed an interesting neighborhood filled with culture and a taste of “old Key West”. Bahama Village is the neighborhood and the little restaurant for sale had all of the potential the two dreamers could imagine. The final decision to buy the restaurant was made over dinner that evening. All that was left was to fly back to Kansas City and figure out the details of moving to Key West and opening Santiago’s Bodega.
In Kansas City the final two members of the opening team were recruited. Angelo Belcher would be assisting in the build-out and operations and Robert Henry Thompson would be the interior designer. A month later the four men were on their way to Key West like a band of hillbillies headed across the country. A sport utility vehicle crammed to the brink of explosion and an old farm trailer stacked as high as safety would allow would prove to be quite the adventurous road trip. Several flat tires later and a trailer that threatened to flip the entire vehicle and trailer package over finally made it to Key West.
The real adventure began once they arrived in Key West. Blood, sweat, and tears turned the little restaurant into Santiago’s Bodega. The first two years after opening were the worst hurricane seasons in many years. Surviving both mentally and physically was exhausting but, Santiago’s Bodega persevered.
Thank you for enjoying our neighborhood restaurant. Our entire team wishes you good health and great food. Thank you for sharing…