In the relaxed spirit of Southwest Florida summertime, we set out to find the best lunch eateries in the area. The search was for locally owned establishments exclusively serving breakfast and lunch— casual restaurants with great food to satisfy mid-day munchies. These cafes, diners, and delis offer-creative culinary selections and serve as splendid spots for meeting up with friends.
Brothers Jay and Tim Gillmore — along with Jay’s fiancé, Elise— serve up artisan juice blends and sandwiches at this quirky cafe located in northern Estero. The walls are lined with original paintings (all for sale to support the local arts community) with a bit of space reserved for Polaroids of the cafe’s regular customers.Chef Jay is the visionary behind Restoratives — bringing experience from Cru and Bistro 41.
“He used to ‘juice’ for the Boston Red Sox,” adds Tim, who does the books and serves up the “freshly squozen” Juice of the Day.
Restoratives also feature craft beer and wine selections and fruit smoothies, offered with a shot of vitamin B-12. Breakfast includes made-to-order omelets, from-scratch cinnamon rolls and House Biscuits and Gravy Royale (with cheese). Signature sandwiches include Turkey Meatloaf BLT, the Torta (slow-braized beef brisket) and gourmet grilled cheeses. Soups, salads and homemade desserts are also on the menu.
There’s no “corporate structure” at Restoratives, leaving plenty of room for culinary experimentation: “We’re just having fun making whatever sounds interesting,” says Tim. “We’re winging it, but it’s been working.”
Garlic Chicken & Bacon Flatbread
This Indian-inspired flatbread comes topped with a tasty herb parmesan cheese spread, piled with roasted chicken, bacon and spinach. Fresh tomatoes and capers add a flavorful flair to this healthy lunch, priced at $9.75. Try it with a glass of “Fresh Squozen” juice ($4 small; $6 large) Pictured: pineapple, apple, carrot, ginger, lemon, cantaloupe, and raspberry.
HOURS & INFO
Open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
20461 Tamiami Trail, Estero
GERMAN DELI SPOT
Estero foodies benefit from Southwest Florida’s significant German population. Gerda Stueber operated a restaurant in Germany (and one in Cape Coral) before opening the German DeliS pot here three years ago. She makes her own liver dumplings, meatballs, sauerkraut, noodles, pretzels, and pastries daily. She’s also a purveyor of traditional meats from Geier’s Sausage Kitchen (Sarasota) and a German butcher in New York.
German Deli Spot offers authentic cuisine at reasonable prices. Most sandwiches are $5-$8. Entrees include stuffed cabbage with meatball and spaetzle (egg noodle), Veal Schnitzel, and Maultaschen— a ravioli-like pasta filled with minced meat, spinach and spiced stuffing.
The deli includes a German grocery with imported beer, chocolates, pickles, cakes, and dumplings. European bread and pastries come from Edelweiss Bakery in Fort Lauderdale. Seating is limited with just six small tables, so carry-out is a popular option. Stueber’s daughter, Regina Kirk, helps run the daily operations, but Stueber, age 75, is still the cook.
Bratwurst with Sauerkraut
German Deli Spot offers several types of bratwurst with this lunch entree featuring two for $8.95. Bavarian Weisswurst is made from veal and bacon, while other German sausages feature pork or beef.Choice of side includes traditional sauerkraut or German potato salad, served warm.
HOURS & INFO
Open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
(closed Sunday and Monday)
19976 Tamiami Trail S., Estero
The vibe at Survey Cafe remains relaxed and homey despite a recent change in ownership. Chef Paul Crepin-Leroux and his parents, Sophie Pouillet Leroux and Philippe Leroux, bring Frenc hinfluence to this historic Bonita Springs cafe, named for the area’s original inhabitants: a group of surveyors. The trio moved from Normandy, France, just six months ago. Paul is a trained pastry chef, while his parents bring the business experience.“It’s American with a French twist,” says Sophie, of the offerings on the revamped menu at Survey Cafe. French classics include fresh-baked baguette sandwiches, croissants and French crepes filled with Nutella, strawberries or bananas and topped with whipped cream.
The cafe features cozy, semi-private seating, as well as garden view dining on the deck. American specialties give a nod to local history with names like the Chokoloskee Chicken Sandwich, Wonder Garden Salad and “Basic Bonita” sandwiches. For breakfast, smoked salmon is served on toasted flatbread with cream cheese, a hard-boiled egg, and fresh tomato. For lunch, it’s served with avocado, lettuce and tangy capers ($12.95). “Survey Spritzers” include the Loose Screw (chardonnay, ginger ale and orange juice)and a traditional Mimosa. Other refreshers include organic, herbal teas and fruit smoothies.
This classic French dish is perfect for lunch or breakfast. ChefPaul makes a thick quiche that’s hearty yet delicate. Puff pastry crust is filled with an egg mixture of savory bacon, swiss and onions. It’s served with a refreshing garden salad.
HOURS & INFO
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
(closed Mondays); dinner from
5-8:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday
10530 Wilson St., Bonita Springs