Looking for something different to snack on? You’re in luck! Several new fast-casual concepts have opened in Estero in recent months. Get ready for the flavors of fruity acai bowls, custom-made donuts and authentic Italian delights!
20321 Grande Oak Shoppes, Estero
What is a Bahia Bowl? It’s a refreshing blend of “healthy and delicious”! The Bahia Bowl begins with a frozen smoothie base made from acai ( pronounced “ah-sigh-ee”) berry, which has skyrocketed in popularity as a “superfood.” It contains antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats. Even better, this pleasingly purple “health food” is delish!
The name is derived from the acai-growing region of Bahia, Brazil, in the Amazon Rainforest. While many acai bowl franchises are opening across the nation, Bahia Bowls is an independent operation run by Ben Casey, a 20-year-old student at Florida Gulf Coast University.
“My goal is to bring fresh, healthy food to the community at a reasonable price,” he says. Bahia Bowls come in three sizes, ranging from a “dessert-sized” small priced at $5.45 to a “meal-sized” large at $9.95.
“We blend our acai base with acai, bananas, strawberries, blueberries and a splash of soy milk to give it a smooth, creamy texture,” explains Casey. This acai base comes tastily topped with granola, banana, strawberry, blueberry, coconut shavings and a drizzle of honey. Bahia Bowls also offers a Pitaya Bowl made from dragonfruit base. Other tasty treats include fruit smoothies and java, including nitro and cold brew coffees.
Casey urges skeptics to come out and try the Bahia Bowl (they’ll be hooked): “I don’t want people to be scared off because it’s healthy. Taste is our priority. It just happens to have the extra value of being nutritional.”
Coconut Point Mall
23050 Via Villagio Ste. 115
What’s better than donuts made fresh daily? A donut made when ordered, topped exactly how you want it and delivered to you warm! Duck Donuts is taking “fresh donuts” to a new level in Southwest Florida with the opening of this trending franchise started in Duck, N.C. The Coconut Point store, which opened in January, is among 130 Duck Donuts locations planned to
open nationwide in 2018.
Why is this concept so popular? Because, who doesn’t
want the freedom to top a warm vanilla cake donut with anything you like — be it maple and bacon, blueberry icing with coconut or Oreo cookie crumbles with raspberry drizzle?
“Making donuts is fun,” says Marketing Director Randy Nelms, the husband of General Manager Pam Nelms and brother of owner Wallace Nelms. “It’s a happy business.
Everybody is smiling!”
Along with warm, custom-made donuts, Duck Donuts
also makes its customers smile with its commitment to give back to the community through the “Quack Gives Back” initiative. Each month, Duck Donuts will pick a local charity to support, and the Nelms family welcomes suggestions from customers about the causes which are important to them.
“This is our family serving your family,” says Randy.
MIDICI THE NEAPOLITAN PIZZA COMPANY
Coconut Point Mall
8076 Mediterranean Drive, Ste. 107
MidiCi Neapolitan pizza is the real deal. It’s prepared the way the Italians did it 300 years ago in wood-fired ovens hand-built in Naples, Italy. These gold-dome ovens are “hot” in more ways than one: they serve as eye-catching showpieces while cooking a thin-crust pizza in just 90 seconds, thanks to an internal temperature of 850-1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
MidiCi (pronounced mee-dee-chee) means “Tell me!” in Italian. Founder Amit Kleinberger chose the name to reflect the concept of people gathering in a relaxed environment to talk about their lives while enjoying a high quality, casual meal together.
John and Dina Wysseier, owners of the MidiCi franchise in Estero, immediately fell in love with the concept after visiting a location in Los Angeles. The vibe is friendly and modern with the ambiance enhanced by a live olive tree adorned with sparkling lights.
“We consider ourselves foodies,” says Dina. “We love to eat out, and it’s hard to find good food at a reasonable price.” The best-selling, classic Margherita pizza is just $7.50.
MidiCi uses all natural, non-GMO ingredients, and everything is made in-house, from the salad dressings to the meatballs and the pizza dough. This month, MidiCi plans to transition to full-service dining to accommodate customer requests.
“When people rave about the food it makes me really happy,” says Dina.
SOSPIRI ITALIAN BAKERY & GELATO
Coconut Point Mall
23151 Village Shops Way #113
It doesn’t get any more authentic than the Sospiri Italian Bakery & Gelato shop located on a fountain-adorned walkway off of Fashion Drive behind the valet parking circle at Coconut Point Mall. Sospiri features 16 different flavors of delicious, slow-churned gelato each day, plus many other interesting, Italian snack options.
“We’re not a chain,” says co-owner Antonella Scampuddu, who immigrated from Sardinia, Italy, with her husband, Mauro Filippeddu, about 18 months ago to open Sospiri. “It is authentic Italian. Everything is homemade.”
They took over a former gelato shop in the same location, changing the name and expanding the menu. Cold-and-creamy gelato still takes a starring role, but it is
supported by many bakery specialties, including Italian cheese-filled pastries like Sfogliatella and cannoli, plus meal options like pizzas and paninis made with imported Italian meats. Beverage choices include gourmet coffee drinks, Italian smoothies and naturally flavored teas. There’s even an Espresso Shake made with gelato.
Sospiri now has gone mobile with a vintage-style gelato cart, custom made in Italy. It’s available for private party bookings and events.
“We take people back to Italy,” says Scampuddu.