Cabbage Key is a short ride across Pine Island Sound on the Island Girl, or you can drive your own boat. It’s an interesting place for many reasons, not the least of which are all the $1 bills tacked to the walls. There’s about $70,000 worth, Cabbage Key manager Ken Wells said.
Commercial fishermen started the $1 tradition many years ago, Wells said. Money flowed when fishing was good, but fishermen understood that fortunes could sour the next week. They wrote their names on $1 bills and tacked them to the wall so they could afford drinks when money was scarce.
Over the years, visitors added to the $1 tableau.
Cabbage Key is also known — falsely, Wells said — for inspiring Jimmy Buffett’s classic, “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” They do serve a mean cheeseburger at Cabbage Key, but Wells said the song predates Buffett’s visit to the restaurant.
The real story, Wells said, is that Buffett dedicated the song to some Cabbage Key employees that attended one of his shows.
That’s no fun. We like the myth better.