Photo credit to Marc Brown / Ford’s Garage.

Ford’s Garage is downtown Fort Myers’ most-packed eatery on weekend nights, and a new location recently opened in Cape Coral. That will be followed by an Estero location this month – in a 6,000-square-foot space on the east side of the Miramar Outlets mall near Ben Hill Griffin Parkway, which formerly housed the Tipsy Tarpon.

Like the Cape Coral location, the Estero Ford’s Garage will feature two bars with vintage Ford vehicles as centerpieces. When you step inside, the impression of entering a 1920’s service station is tangible. From the old gas pumps to the Model A’s on lifts above the bar, this place is themed out Disney-style. Every detail has been thought of, right down to the metal hose clamps that act as napkin rings. Nods to the legendary Henry Ford are everywhere, from old photographs to automobile motors, vehicles, and thin tires from the early 20th century.

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Even the restrooms carry the theme, with sink basins made out of Firestone tires and a fuel nozzle for a faucet. The windows resemble service bay garage doors, and you never know when one of the Model A’s will backfire with a puff of smoke and a sound of the horn. Servers dress the part as auto mechanics. The service station is really a cover for a prohibition-era tavern. Ford’s Garage features not one, but two bars, both with a hand- hammered copper top and a frost rail to keep drinks icy cold.

It’s a fun atmosphere with high-quality food to match. Ford’s Garage adds class to the typical beer-and-burger joint. It features made-to-order Black Angus specialty burgers and carries more than 250 beers – 24 on draft. You can also order shakes with shots of vodka or rum. Of course the star is the burger. The Assembly Line Burger allows guests to build their own – choosing buns, cheese, toppings, greens, sauces and “burger bling,” like onion rings or fried eggs.

The Burgers of Fame include specialty burgers named after local celebrities such as county commissioners, the sheriff and fire chief. For food-challenge aficionados, there’s the Big Red, a 10-pound monster loaded with fixings for $75. If one person finishes off the Big Red in under two hours, it’s free.

OUR FAVORITES

01. PISTON RINGSA

These jumbo-sized onion rings are served up in style, towering on an overturned metal funnel. Thick slices of onion are dusted in cornmeal, fried golden brown and served with a zippy chipotle ketchup and smoky ranch sauce. A must try!

02. COBB SALAD

Tidy rows of hard-boiled egg, crumbled bacon, grilled chicken, bleu cheese, tomato, and cucumber sit atop a bed of iceberg lettuce. Mix it all together for a fresh and flavorful entree salad.

03. MODEL A

This mouthwatering black Angus burger is cooked to order and topped with aged Vermont cheddar, Applewood smoked bacon, pico de gallo, and a fried egg. The tall burger is pressed, leaving a toasty bun imprinted with the Ford’s Garage logo. All specialty burgers include lettuce, tomato, and red onion and are served with fresh-cut fries in a basket. Also try the juicy “Ford’s Signature,” topped with Vermont cheddar, smoked bacon, and sweet bourbon barbecue sauce.

04. SPARK PLUG BEERTINI

Developed by Beverage Director Tom McGregor, this Ford’s Garage exclusive fuses beer with a martini. The cocktail features a blend of Guinness and espresso vodka, giving it a sweet, chocolatey flare. A candy swizzle stick adds to the sweet indulgence. Mini Spark Plugs are sold as specials for $2.

05. MOM’S RUM CAKE

Made in-house daily, this moist yellow cake is glazed with Bacardi dark rum, then sprinkled with chopped walnuts for a super- sweet ending. Try it with an Irish Coffee after- dinner drink.