Driftwood Pizza & Subs opened in late January at mile marker 53.5, the culmination of years of talking and months of doing among four friends, experienced restaurateurs from Michigan.
The new eatery features an array of pizzas, subs, salads, ribs, chicken, wings and pastas. Co-owners Chris and Diane Costantino and Craig and Cheryl Hall pride themselves on their fresh ingredients, particularly their made-from-scratch pizza dough.
Driftwood is one of the first tenants in the recently renovated oceanside building that was once home to a bar of the same name, one that Chris Costantino remembers well from his days working bridge construction in the 1970s. Chris and Diane then started vacationing here, eventually buying some property and building a home.
Costantino now owns a full-service Italian restaurant in Canton, Mich., called Rose's, after his mother. Longtime friend Craig Hall owns two Andys pizzerias in Southgate and Woodhaven, Mich.
The Costantinos and the Halls have been spending time together in the Keys for years, always talking about the prospects of opening a restaurant. After Cheryl Hall was laid off from her job in advertising last spring, the foursome got serious and started shopping for a location.
The expansive kitchen with large pizza ovens gives them plenty of room to work, but the dining area is small just a few tables inside, with perhaps more to come outside.
In planning the Driftwood, the couples brought together their culinary specialties to create a cohesive menu. Their goal is to cater to locals with reasonably priced, fresh food, and the prices seem to match that goal. For example, a 10-inch cheese pizza runs $6.25, and a 16-inch, four-meat Carnivore costs $14.45.
The pizzas come in three styles hand-tossed, thin or deep dish with seven flavors of dough and more than a dozen toppings. Theres also a wide variety of subs and a few pastas.
With the opening behind them, the couples are focusing on the future. It's likely they'll take turns minding this restaurant while they continue their ventures at home.
The foursome, friends for 20 years, come from the recession-wracked Detroit area, so theyre used to challenges.
"As long as we laugh at night when we leave, were OK," Diane says.
Driftwood is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Since the seating area is so small, carryout orders are suggested. Free local delivery is available with a minimum order of $10.
Driftwood is at 10875 Overseas Highway, Suite 140. Call 743-8770.