The peace and quiet that the area offers is the primary reason most people decide to live here. Odessa hasn’t always had many options when it comes to getting something to eat. Those who have had their roots planted in Odessa for the last few decades will remember when you had to drive 30 minutes to get anywhere or do most anything.
While many like the seclusion and exclusiveness Odessa has to offer, nobody likes to be isolated from fun things to do or places to go. One great thing to watch over the last few years is how this community of Odessa/Keystone has decided to thoughtfully expand, maintaining a balance with nature and the ecosystem while also understanding how to meet the needs of the beautiful people that live here.
The saying goes that, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Well, if there was a shop in Odessa that felt like going to your grandma’s kitchen, it would have to be Keystone Korner. The line outside the door is proof enough that it’s worth the wait.
Officially located on 18515 Crawley Rd in Odessa, longtime residents will refer to it as “the sandwich shop on Tarpon.” Keystone Korner is easily identified by its tan stucco walls and huge green wrap around awning with picnic benches under a covered patio area. Seeing the actual building may be hard because there’s usually a slew of cars out front. The employees are quick and have premade sandwiches for those making a big order in the mornings or trying to get out in a hurry, but I’d recommend you take a few extra minutes and ask them to press your sandwich for you.
Having said that, Keystone Korner is much more than just a sandwich shop. While they are probably most well known for their delicious fresh pressed cuban sandwiches, this is only one of the delights you will find. Delicious locally sourced ice-cream from the Working Cow is also available by the scoop with plenty of choices to make the whole family happy.
In addition to a quick meal and dessert, you can also buy salads (try the Greek- it’s delicious), cold cuts, bread, cheese, homemade potato salad and fresh cookies. A quick stop inside can make life a whole lot easier than having to stop at the local grocery store to get supplies. There’s also a smell in the air that we haven’t addressed yet. Pizza!!!
There are a few good places to get a great pie in Keystone, but not many that allow you to buy it by the slice. A slice here is an entire quarter of a pie, by the way, maybe it’s just a local thing but it makes for a pretty inexpensive bill at the end of your dining experience.
One of my favorite things to do with my wife is to grab a grape soda and slice of pepperoni pizza and sit on the picnic tables and think about how much we love to live where we do.
My next suggestion hits the mark whenever I’m in the mood for something exotic. Authentic Japanese food is nearly impossible to find and I might not be the best person to know what truly authentic Japanese food is as I haven’t actually been to Japan, but to me this is the closest thing.
Yoshi Sushi is a dream come true for sushi lovers in the area. This is another trip out for food where you are going to get an experience that’s a little more than just the food. Yoshi is located just across from Sickles High School in the Publix shopping plaza. Don’t allow its modest exterior to deter you, once you get inside, you will know you are somewhere special.
The dining staff is very charming and has the warmth that only a small, simple, family run place can have. The difference here is all in the Itamae; that’s the fancy word for sushi chef. At Yoshi Sushi they have created a locally inspired sushi menu featuring items such as the Gunn Highway Roll and Tampa Roll that use local shrimp and grouper along with flavors that you’re more traditionally accustomed to with Japanese food.
The sushi isn’t just delicious, it is also artfully presented in such an Instagram perfect way. The Cherry Blossom roll comes out with the roll appearing as the blossoms of a tree made out of spicy mayo. The Volcano role is piled high with a cherry on top to simulate lava exploding from the peak.
If you aren’t a huge fan of sushi, they still have plenty of options for you to enjoy. Miso mushroom, seafood soups or Traditional Japanese udon noodle soups, healthy options like their seaweed or avocado salads are also delicious. If you are just in the mood for something simple, you can also choose between the yakisoba noodle meal or order a simple meal of fried rice. Whichever you choose, I’d recommend that you sit at the bar and watch the Itamae work their magic. The artistry that goes into our dinner is one of the little treasures out here is Keystone.
Of course, desserts can’t be left off the menu. There is a new treat that has popped in Keystone just off Gunn Highway called Bahama Buck’s. This is not the original store; I didn’t know there was another location until I started writing this article but it’s worth taking a trip if you’re looking for a fun dessert treat for the family or friends.
Now, this isn’t the Harry Waugh Dessert Room at Bern’s Steak House, but it is the perfect destination for your entire family because of its fast, friendly service and fun, tropical atmosphere. Bahama Buck’s main staple is their shaved ice that features several dozen flavors, but they also have other treats like fruit smoothies, frozen lemonade and frozen lattes featuring their own private blend of Kona coffee. They have a ton of selections for topping your shaved ice such as Sour Sand (my personal favorite) or Crème, and each always comes topped with a tiny umbrella to bring home the tropical feel. Portions are big and prices are not.
One of the best parts about Bahama Buck’s is the ambiance they have created. The location in Keystone is owned by such a great family and has a staff that is young, energetic and wholesome. They have board games that invite you to stay and play with the family, and a ring toss game that is personally addictive. It’s great for a date night or to bring the whole family.
Now these are just a few of my personal favorites in the area, there are plenty of more options nearby to tempt your taste buds. Get out and enjoy all that Keystone and Odessa have to offer!