Grandview at Bay Beach residents to enjoy Fort Myers Beach lifestyle

FORT MYERS BEACH — Named for its panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico, Estero Bay and sunsets, the Grandview at Bay Beach 11-story luxury high-rise is to be built by homebuilder and developer London Bay Homes on the final remaining high-rise pad within the gated Waterside neighborhood at Bay Beach on the southern tip of Fort Myers Beach on Estero Island.Grandview will be the first condominium tower built on Fort Myers Beach since 2008 and the final tower in Waterside at Bay Beach. The building will feature 58 open-concept residences ranging from 2,400 to 2,900 square feet with three or four bedrooms, dens, three or three-and-a-half bathrooms, and private elevator access. Each residence also includes a covered outdoor terrace and balcony. All six of the residences on the top floor will be penthouses with 11-foot ceilings and two covered parking spaces per unit. In addition to its fully-amenitized ambiance, Grandview will offer a pet-friendly living environment with no weight restrictions. Pre-construction pricing for the residences at Grandview at Bay Beach starts in the $900s. Reservations are now being accepted. Best known for its emerald-toned waters and sugar white beaches, the Fort Myers Beach lifestyle is relaxed and presents a variety of choices for enjoying every facet of life. Outdoor adventures are a prime attraction, including boating, fishing charters, dolphin or sunset cruises, and just relaxing on the beaches that are the community’s hallmark. Nearby marinas will provide boating and fishing enthusiasts with docking and maintenance services while offering deep-water access to the Gulf of Mexico. Power boat, sailboat, and jet ski rentals are available. Kayakers enjoy the area’s backwaters and inlets lined with mangroves or traversing the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, a 190-mile marked canoe and kayak trail that weaves its way through the coastal waters and Continue Reading

Vacation rentals crackdown could spark conflict in Fort Myers Beach; Cape Coral passes for now

Homeowners have a right to live in peace, free of a steady stream of noisy interlopers, says Doris Grant, Fort Myers Beach resident.Government should respect owners' rights, and keep excessive laws off private property, says Joe Tekulve, an Ohio resident with a Beach vacation home.It's a battle of rights as some people ponder whether short-term vacation rentals should be more closely regulated, in particular by local governments.Two Lee County municipalities took up the matter recently.And, state lawmakers are expected to once again weigh in on short-term rentals regulations in the upcoming session. Vacation rentals of less than 30 days are big business and growing: The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation estimates the number of state-licensed short-term rental units grew from 117,000 in 2012 to 131,000 in 2016.That growth may be vastly understated in in this era of online platforms helping hospitality rookies rent out their spare bedrooms or entire homes.But as Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO and others began marketing vacation rentals in less-commercial areas, complaints poured in from year-round residents.They say their neighborhoods are suffering from a revolving door of short-term renters – guests who sometimes thoughtlessly disturb the peace and character of a place.Bad behavior by renters isn’t the only issue. Area hoteliers and property managers say the competitive field no longer is level when owners of homes and condos can rent out the dwellings for a day or two or more – and yet can ignore health and safety measures, tax remittals and other rules without penalty. In 2011, the Florida Legislature adopted measures prohibiting municipalities from regulating vacation rentals – unless they already had such laws in place.Florida was still working its way out of the Great Recession, so sympathy was high for property owners trying to earn a few Continue Reading

Plastic drinking straw ban adopted by Fort Myers Beach Town Council

The plastic straw’s days are numbered on Fort Myers Beach.On Monday, the Town Council passed an ordinance prohibiting distribution of plastic drinking straws in the town, with limited exceptions.It’s a good first step, said several council members, given the risks that all forms of discarded plastic pose to the health and welfare of the marine wildlife and the community.Straws won’t entirely vanish, though.The ordinance allows straws made of paper, plant, vegetable and other materials containing nothing artificial or synthetic in their compounds.It exempts plastic straws used in private homes, at the Beach public school or those pre-packaged with drinks outside the town — think single-serve juice and milk cartons with straws sold in stores.The ordinance goes into effect in 90 days. When it does, officers of the town’s code enforcement and beach and street enforcement divisions will handle enforcement.Restaurants, bars, stores – and yes, even folks who might bring straws to the beach from their homes – are expected to comply.Some businesses changed straws well in advance.“That’s where education comes in; everything allows for a warning,” said Town Manager Roger Hernstadt, when asked after the vote how unknowing visitors will be treated.Violators will face citation penalties ranging from a $100 fine for a first offense to a $500 fine for the third offense or more within a year.The ordinance passed 4-1, with Councilwoman Anita Cereceda dissenting.“It would have been a heckuva lot easier to restaurants and hotels and get some compliance … rather than singling out a single plastic item from the mountain of plastic that is left on our beachfront,” Cereceda said.Vice Mayor Tracey Gore countered: “I don’t think we’re singling out straws. We’re starting with straws.”Today, dozens of communities along U.S. coastlines are discussing voluntary abstinence — if Continue Reading

JLB review: Dixie Fish Co., Fort Myers Beach

The first drops of rain pinged against the tin roof. Tiny ripples darkened the water. The pings quickened, slurring into white noise, constant and comforting."It'll be over in five minutes," the bartender assured me.I must have looked worried, though I can't imagine why.Dixie Fish Co. has the opposite effect.The 10-month-old restaurant sits on a blue-collar stretch of shoreline beneath the Matanzas Pass Bridge. Its tables look out to calm waters rimmed by shrimp boats just in from month-long trawls. There are no palm trees, no hammocks swaying in the breeze.And that's what I love about it.Dixie reopened in January. The clapboard cream-and-black structure dates to 1937, when it served as a humble fish market. The Guthrie family owned and ran the place from the 1950s to 2002, when daughter Suzanne Guthrie left town in search of, "somewhere with a little more elbow room," she told The News-Press.To the right is Bonita Bill's, the decades-old dive bar where shoes, shirts and credit cards are frowned upon. To the left sits sister restaurant Doc Ford's, the somewhat fancier place responsible for bringing this open-air A-frame back to life.Dixie is in the middle.The minds at Doc Ford's smartly preserved the space's shabby, white-washed charm while packing it with modern amenities such as comfortable, weather-proof seating and flat-screen TVs. They crafted a similarly simple menu focused on fresh, local seafood and Old Florida techniques.You sit at the bar or at one of the prized tables butting up to the water. You order the conch fritters and the mussels and the icy, half-shell oysters. You wash it down with local beer. You repeat.This could (and should) go on for hours. You could punctuate the series of apps with a hogfish sandwich seared to sweet perfection and served on a fluffy ciabatta roll. Or with a soft taco stuffed with blackened grouper.Sides include a velvety take on red beans and rice, and vinegar-laced collard greens sweetened by a touch of brown sugar.The Continue Reading

Pizza D-LUX in Fort Myers has Birdie’s and NY roots

When Glenn Beekman moved from New York to Fort Myers in 1990 his knowledge of pizza was based mostly on eating it — at by-the-slice shops in Manhattan and his native Long Island, and at Birdie's Pizza, the age-old Fort Myers pizzeria where Beekman and his brother Guy quickly became regulars.So in 1992 when Birdie's founders Anne and Frank "Birdie" Perciasepe offered to sell the place to the Beekman brothers, Glenn's response was a tentative but quick yes."They agreed to stay on for a month and teach us how to make their pizza," Glenn said. "They ended up staying and working for us for five years. They taught us everything we know."Guy stayed at Birdie's, which closed in April 2014. But in 1997 Glenn struck out on his own, opening Pizza D-LUX with his wife, Mary Beth, on Fort Myers Beach. They moved the store to Alico Road for a stint, but have called the Shoppes at Plantation in south Fort Myers home since December 2013.Pizza D-LUX sits in a shoebox unit a few doors down from the long-shuttered Sweetbay Supermarket. Its neighbors include a chain hair salon and a blood bank.Through the front door you'll find a small counter, a soda machine and 24 chairs around simple tables. New York Giants flags hang behind the counter. Patches from police stations in New York and Ohio cover the walls — which takes us to Pizza D-LUX's name."People think we're a chain," Mary Beth said. But D-LUX is actually a nod to her father, Robert Luxeder, a lifelong policeman in Barberton, Ohio, who went by the nickname Lux.Lux's nightsticks and holster hang in a shadowbox on the pizzeria's west wall, next to NYPD patches that honor the service of Glenn's brothers and father. The Boston, Jersey City, Cleveland and Connecticut patches were brought in by loyal customers, of which Pizza D-LUX has many.There's the couple who come in every single day for lunch. The business people who stop in three to four times a week for slices, the healthcare workers who pop over as often as their Continue Reading

Closed: Stonewood Grill and TAG shut doors in Fort Myers and Estero

Stonewood Grill & Tavern closed its College Parkway location in south Fort Myers this week. The Daytona Beach-based chain, which bills itself as “Florida’s neighborhood restaurant” still has 11 stores throughout the state, including one on Airport-Pulling Road in Naples.The College Parkway location opened in fall 2000, and was just the fifth for the budding chain at the time. Stonewood closed its Orlando location in April, according to the Orlando Sentinel.Emails to the restaurant have not been returned. Visit for more.Elsewhere in Lee County, TAG: The American Gastropub has also shut its doors.The restaurant opened in October 2015 in the short-lived Mereday’s Brasserie space at Coconut Point in Estero. Chef Marbin Avilez, formerly of The Firestone in downtown Fort Myers and Bayfront Bistro on Fort Myers Beach, was most recently at the helm of TAG. The restaurant was opened by former Mereday's employees Chris Lowery and Jay Bucklin, according to The News-Press archives. A Coconut Point spokeswoman confirmed TAG's closure but would not provide additional information. Former employees say the restaurant's doors have been locked since at least May 15. More: May means restaurant changes across SWFLJLB review: TAG tries to be It Naples Daily News staff writer Tim Aten contributed reporting. Connect with this reporter: @ATometich (Twitter).   Continue Reading

A La Carte: Colleoni’s opens in Fort Myers, Cajuol moves

After nine months of work, dozens of rounds of test-baking, and countless pasta-rolling sessions, Colleoni's will hold its grand opening Saturday."This is my life," chef-owner Barbara Storci said, paging through her menu in the 50-seat, sun-drenched dining room. "I will be here from 5 in the morning until long after the last guest leaves."Storci and her sister Emanuela left their native Rome to start Colleoni's in south Fort Myers. The restaurant sits in the low building near the corner of McGregor Boulevard and College Parkway, the one that for 30-plus years housed Rene's.To start, Colleoni's will only serve breakfast and lunch Monday to Saturday from 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.Barbara bakes all of Colleoni's breads and treats. For breakfast she offers sweet croissants, egg sandwiches, frittatas and puff pastries filled with Nutella. Lunch means salads with house-made dressings and panini filled with speck, prosciutto, brie, buffalo mozzarella and more. Locally roasted espressos and Italian-style coffees will also be served. Food is available for dine-in, takeout or via drive thru.In the coming weeks the Storcis will start offering wine dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. The menus will vary each week, focusing on particular regions of Italy starting with Rome where Barbara learned to cook at her mother's and grandmother's sides.Cooking is in the Storcis' blood.Their grandfather started Taverna Flavia, "a very famous restaurant in Rome," Barbara said. "It's where all the movie stars and celebrities came in the 1940s, 50s."They want Colleoni's to be a more of a neighborhood place. The dining room is lined in bottles of Italian wine and white beadboard. New flooring and tables have been installed with spent corks and antique cookware as decor. During the day, guests order at the counter where Barbara's baked goods line a glass case."I love the kitchen and I want everything made from scratch," Barbara said. "It's how Continue Reading

Hurricane Irma update: Restaurants open in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Sanibel, Lehigh, beaches

SCROLL DOWN FOR A LIST OF RESTAURANT REOPENINGSAs power returns to more neighborhoods, more employees are returning to work, and more restaurants are doing the same.Bite Squad, the new restaurant-delivery app servicing Fort Myers, Cape Coral and parts of Lehigh Acres resumed operations Thursday. Recent days have seen more openings on the islands and in southern Lee County, as well.  Almost all of the restaurants at Bell Tower Shops in south Fort Myers have reopened, though they remain cash only. The mall is hosting a food drive for Harry Chapin Food Bank until 6 tonight, collecting nonperishable goods, diapers, pet food and more. All of the restaurants at Miromar Outlets have reopened, as well.Even unopened restaurants are chipping in to help. Chef Todd Erickson of the forthcoming Society in south Fort Myers is cooking a free gourmet dinner for Dunbar residents impacted by Irma.The chef, along with state representative Heather Fitzenhagen, will be serving the hot meal starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Dr. Carrie D. Robinson Center at 2990 Edison Ave., Fort Myers. Here’s a look at some of the restaurants open and ready to serve. --- Please note that several restaurants are cash only due to power and internet constraints. Hours and menu availability are subject to change. Is your restaurant open or opening soon and not listed? Send details to [email protected] with “Irma reopening” in the subject line. For more Hurricane Irma coverage: Myers BeachBonita Bill's Waterfront Cafe: Reopened Wednesday. (702 Fishermans Wharf, Fort Myers Beach; 239-463-6119; Fish Co.: Reopened Thursday. (714 Fishermans Wharf, Fort Myers Beach; 239-233-8837; Cottage Beach Bar and Gulfshore Grill: Reopened at noon Thursday, cash only until internet resumes. (1250 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach; Continue Reading

Irma update: Restaurants open in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Sanibel, Lehigh Acres, beaches

THIS STORY PUBLISHED WEDNESDAY. FOR AN UPDATED LIST, CLICK HERE. Scroll down for a list of restaurant re-openings. As power returns to more neighborhoods, more employees are returning to work, and more restaurants are doing the same.The problem now: food.“The big suppliers weren’t delivering until today,” Jay Johnson of Bubba’s Roadhouse in Cape Coral said Wednesday. "Some of the places with power could get by with the food they had, but now we're all waiting for deliveries."Many restaurant wholesalers, like Sysco and Gordon Food Service, weren’t able to resume delivery service until Wednesday, meaning restaurants that ran out of food had to sit and wait until more came.“We’re out of everything,” a server at PrimaFila Pizza in downtown Fort Myers said late Wednesday morning. “We’re hoping to get more food soon.” For more Hurricane Irma coverage: good news is more restaurants are coming online in places such as Lehigh Acres, northwest Cape Coral and the islands of Matlacha, where a handful of eateries reopened Wednesday.The even-better news is curfew has been lifted for most parts of Lee County, meaning you can now dine out past 8 p.m. in Fort Myers without fear of a citation. Or sip a late-night cocktail (and then hail an Uber) past 11 p.m. in Cape Coral.“Downtown is open for business,” Fort Myers restaurateur Nils Richter said via text after getting news of the lifted curfew.“We are reminding every guest leaving late to be extra careful, and we are happy to do that.”Here’s a look at some of the restaurants open and ready to serve.  Please note that several restaurants are cash only due to power and internet constraints. Hours and menu availability are subject to change.  Is your restaurant open or opening soon and not listed? Send details to [email protected] with “Irma reopening” in the subject Continue Reading

Hurricane Irma: Restaurants open in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples

A look at restaurants still open and serving as Hurricane Irma looms; for those wanting to conserve their food supplies and/or salvage some sanity. Please note: Hours are subject to change as conditions change, always call first.  Don't see your restaurant listed? Send name, address and opening hours to [email protected] with "Irma Hours" in the subject line and we'll add you to the roundup. Fort Myers areaFREE ICE CREAM: Scoops on First in downtown Fort Myers is giving away its ice cream all day today until it is gone. "210 gallons of homemade ice cream must go," the shop posted to its Facebook page this afternoon. (2250 First St., Fort Myers; 226-0450; find it on Facebook)The Bagel Factory: Open starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, until it runs out of bagels. (8841 College Parkway, south Fort Myers;  433-2245; Sushi - downtown: Open till midnight tonight with half off its entire menu. (2262 First St., Fort Myers; 362-2843; Bill's Waterfront Cafe: Open until 9 tonight with karaoke from 6-9 p.m.; open Saturday if possible. (702 Fishermen's Wharf, Fort Myers Beach; 463-6119;'s of Brooklyn: Open today 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m.; reservations recommended. Closed Saturday to Monday, at least. (2112 Second St., Fort Myers; 278-0211;'s Continental Cuisine: Open at 4 p.m. today and staying open as late as possible. (20351 Summerlin Road, south Fort Myers; 466-4646; Open till 4 p.m. today. (12901 McGregor Blvd., south Fort Myers; 466-4663; Fish & Vine: Open till 9 tonight. (12901 McGregor Blvd., south Fort Myers; 481-0055; Myers Brewing Co.: Open 3-9 p.m. today. Customers can come in and fill growlers with filtered water for free. (12811 Commerce Lakes Drive, southeast Fort Myers; 313-6576;'s La Continue Reading