'Local's Choice' Tips from Maria Wevers

Maria Wevers opened Key West's Grand Café in 2002 when son Kieran, now 23, was just a toddler. Today, Wevers remains a hands-on restaurateur whose venue at 314 Duval St. is acclaimed for gourmet dining, well-priced happy hours and hosting events such as rehearsal dinners, small weddings and corporate gatherings.

"From my upbringing, I believe in hard work and determination. Keep going and never give up," Wevers said.

The gregarious Irish lass grew up in Killarney, Ireland, where she spent much of her youth learning the hospitality industry at the renowned 170-year-old Kate Kearney's Cottage, owned by her mother's cousin who coincidentally shared Wevers' birthday.

Wevers is an avid globetrotter who recently returned from Morocco, where she glamped in the Sahara Desert with some girlfriends.

Her motto: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Where she dines: Breakfast at Harpoon Harry's for corned beef hash and eggs and a perfect café con leche. Lunch at Key Plaza Creperie for a tuna salad wrap and homemade soup. Dinner at El Siboney Restaurant for Cuban cuisine or at Blackfin Bistro for mussels.

Where she explores: "If there is a train, plane or automobile leaving, I want to be on it! I love traveling the world."

How she relaxes: "I love exploring our beautiful island by bike or kayak!"