The Stuffed Pig (3520 Overseas Hwy., 305/743-4059, 5 a.m.–2 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 6 a.m.–noon Sun., main courses from $5) has been serving breakfast and lunch in Marathon for more than a quarter century, and grabbing a spot on their outdoor patio for a cup of coffee and a plate of gator tail and eggs or banana nut French toast should be considered an essential part of anyone’s visit to town. The southern flair of the breakfast menu—which also includes country fried steak, fish and eggs, and a belt-straining four-egg omelet filled with sausage, ham, and bacon—extends to the barbecue sandwiches and conch fritters that sit alongside fried shrimp, burgers, dogs, and deli sandwiches (including a club sandwich that piles on ham, beef, turkey, and bacon).
The breakfast and lunch offerings at Leigh Ann’s Coffee House (7537 Overseas Hwy., 305/743-2001, 7 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat., 8 a.m.–noon Sun., main courses from $7) aren’t quite so belly-busting. Fresh pastries, traditional American breakfasts, and frittatas and burritos are available in the morning—along with the Coffee House’s excellent java—while lunch tends toward lighter fare like cold cuts, salads, quiche, and soups. During peak season, Leigh Ann’s is open for dinner.
Although the Cracked Conch Cafe (4999 Overseas Hwy., 305/743-2233, 7 a.m.–midnight Mon.–Fri., 11 a.m.–midnight Sat.–Sun., main courses from $8) serves breakfast, the main reason folks stop into this old-school seafood joint is for the conch chowders, fritters, and “gourmet” offerings like conch Parmesan. For those who haven’t quite developed a taste for these luscious mollusks, the café also offers a limited selection of steaks, poultry, and ribs as well as sandwiches and salads. Start off with a cocktail and wrap up with a slice of key lime pie and a cup of Cuban coffee, all of which can be enjoyed in the shaded outdoor patio area.
For seafood served in a somewhat more formal environment, the Barracuda Grill (4290 Overseas Hwy., 305/743-3314, 6–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., entrées $25–35) is a consistent favorite. The casual atmosphere masks sophisticated preparations, with menu items that touch every base, from comfort food (meat loaf) to Floribbean (ropa vieja, grilled yellowtail with mango salsa). Known equally for its sky-high prices and palate-singeing spicy seafood sauce, the Barracuda is worth a splurge visit but is perhaps not the place you’d want to dine every night.
Lencho’s (1622 Overseas Hwy., 305/743-4500, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, main courses from $9) is the only Mexican restaurant in Marathon. Apparently they think that’s all they need to be exceptional. The fare here is standard Tex-Mex, with burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and so on, and for those seeking a respite from seafood—or looking for something to soak up last night’s overindulgence—Lencho’s is a decent enough option.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition