Keystone Inn Family Restaurant
Keystone Heights, FL
On Sunday, I was this close to eating store brand lasagna for dinner. You all know how much I hate that idea. So I suggested the AMW family try the Keystone Inn Family Restaurant. We had passed it the last time we drove through Keystone Heights. Thank goodness I had jotted down the name!
The first thing I noticed about the Keystone Inn was the grandmother on their sign and the checkered curtains on the windows. As I got out of the car, I could smell fresh biscuits & fried chicken. Best smell ever!
Upon entering the restaurant, I could see it was L-shaped. To the right were several tables with blonde wood chairs. Straight ahead were darker wooden chairs, more tables, the buffet & the kitchen. The walls had wooden parrots & nautical items attached. The building resembled a former walk up ice cream stand that had been added on to; the kitchen had a drive-through window indoors & an outdoor faucet was under a table.
After we sat down, a blonde woman in a purple shirt & an apron quickly ran to our table. She hastily slung napkins, forks & knives at the table. Her comment was "Here's your silverware. I didn't have time to wrap it, but it's clean, so it's good enough."
The menu had a choice of various sandwiches, salads, seafood, meats, desserts, plus the buffet / salad bar. We ordered two buffets and a seafarer's treasure. Here is the breakdown:
Seafarer's Treasure - $12
Choice of two seafood items (oysters, shrimp, deviled crab, etc) & 2 sides (coleslaw, grits, baked potato, etc)
I ordered the deviled crab, fried shrimp, hushpuppies & lettuce salad. Before the seafood arrived, our waitress scurried over to ask "Would you like different sides ? They're out of it. *drops voice* The lettuce is very tiny." I said hushpuppies & a biscuit would be fine. Before the starch police show up, I just threw out the first things that came to mind. I was trying to not be picky & difficult. She said "welllll, you'd have hushpuppies and a biscuit..." I then asked for hushpuppies & a baked potato instead. She was happy with that & went back to the kitchen.
What arrived were two deviled crabs, eight pieces of shrimp, two hushpuppies, a biscuit, a baked potato. On the side were two lemon slices skewered on a toothpick, over a teeny, limp strip of lettuce.
The deviled cakes were too small for my taste. The filling had red peppers, celery, sage flavored bread & the occasional square strip of faux crab meat. The crabs had too much stuffing & lacked enough meat.
The biscuits were Pillsbury.
The hushpuppies lacked flavor. Only one had a tiny sliver of onion. It is crucial that hushpuppies have plenty of onion.
The shrimp were fresh & delicious. They were large, plump & fried in a crispy, golden batter. These were well worth ordering!
Buffet & Salad Bar - 7.98
Fried chicken = Crispy, moist, buttery. The chicken had the same yummy coating as the shrimp.
Green peppers stuffed with rice & beef = I took a bite of the beef from someone else's plate. I did not realize it was from the green peppers. Upon tasting a green pepper flavor, I quietly spit it into a napkin (I'm allergic). The others loved the stuffed peppers, though.
Okra & tomatoes - I had never tasted okra before. Those tasted of celery filled with black eyed peas. Yuck!
Black eyed peas = Cooked perfectly
Carrots & green peas = The carrots were crinkle cut. The peas were dingy, army green & from a can.
Mashed potatoes = Obviously boxed. Skip them
Green beans = Thick, dark strips. Very enjoyable. They had a slight collard green taste.
White corn = I do not eat corn, but took a bite anyway. Points for the corn not having that milky, nasty taste of canned corn
Collard greens = Extremely mushy & bland. Definitely needed some salt pork.
Canned pineapple chunks
Tuna salad = Did not try it
Coleslaw = Didn't try it. The coleslaw looked finely chopped, almost to the consistency of cous cous.
Potato salad = Appeared to be creamy & homemade. It contained mayo, red peppers, celery & relish. Their potato salad needed eggs, mustard & more relish.
Carrot salad with raisins = Freshly made & chopped instead of grated. This salad would've been better with a creamy base (sour cream or mayo)instead of the slightly sweet liquid dressing.
Pasta salad = Same ingredients & issues as the potato salad
Keystone Inn's iced tea is good & strong. Thumbs up!
Desserts at the Keystone Inn are homemade.
Apple pie = Not available that day
Key lime pie = A loosely sprinkled graham crust. Judging by the filling's texture, the pie appeared to be made with evaporated milk. The filling was also tarter than pie made with bottled Persian lime juice, but not as tart as ones with freshly squeezed key limes. My guess is bottled key lime juice. The key lime pie had a tart, pleasant aftertaste.
Slice of cake = None available. Our waitress commented "We only have pie today. I think it was like that yesterday, too."
Blueberry cobbler = The topping was a crispy piece of cake. The bottom was a congealed purple blob of blueberries & pudding. It looked & tasted gross. That's the first time I've seen anyone screw up blueberry cobbler.
A sign at the register noted "We cannot add tips to credit cards." Remember to bring cash for a tip.
We arrived at 1:50 PM on a Sunday afternoon. The place was packed with after church diners. It was mostly empty by 2 PM. So I suggest showing up later in the day.
The Keystone Inn does not have a breakfast buffet. I think they have breakfast items on the menu, though. I'll check next time I'm out there.
I highly recommend the Keystone Inn Family Restaurant to you. The down home food is amazing! Another Sunday lunch in Keystone Heights is in order : )