Modern Vibe + Creative Cuisine
13499 Bell Tower Dr., Fort Myers
Follow the neon lights and the mouthwatering aromas to Bell Tower’s newest — and hippest — dining hotspot. Society is the creative concept of acclaimed Miami chef Todd Erickson and owner Brad Cozza. This dazzling, two-story restaurant and lounge offers open-air dining, brilliant visual displays and innovative cuisine.
Originally, Society was modeled after a gastro lounge Erickson started in foodie-centric South Beach named Haven, where Cozza was a regular customer. As the concept for the Fort Myers restaurant evolved, the duo realized their target market needed to be broader on the Gulf Coast.
“We changed the name to ‘Society’ because we wanted to appeal to people from all walks of society,” explains Erickson. That includes attracting a “cross-generational” clientele.
Along with Society, Erickson serves as executive chef at two other restaurants: GLAM Vegan in Miami and Huahua’s Taqueria on South Beach (Haven is now closed). He is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York and became the youngest Four-Star executive chef in Dallas at the age of 24. To top that, Erickson is one of the few chefs who have bested celebrity chef Bobby Flay, winning the Season 11 opener of Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay” in 2016. He’s now in his early 30s and continues to rack up the accolades for his culinary innovation.
Erickson describes Society as having a “multi-tier” vibe.” The expansive main level offers equal appeal for date nights, family dinners or girls night out. The “tiki-chic” Treehouse lounge upstairs is made for lingering, offering nightly live music, a full bar and plenty of cozy conversation spots.
It’s also where Erickson maintains his hydroponic tower garden. Freshly harvested herbs and greens are incorporated right into Society’s starters, salads and entrees. The Baby Kale and Fennel Salad stars rooftop kale, served with toasted pita croutons and an accent of strained greek yogurt.
The menu isn’t overly expansive, as the focus is rightly on quality. Erickson calls it “approachable, but with flair.” That creative flair is visibly demonstrated in every dish, from saucy Korean BBQ Wings, artfully served atop a verdant bamboo leaf, to a Cuban-sandwich-inspired egg roll presented in a cigar box.
We started our evening with “his and hers” cocktails; the Dregs of Society is an old-fashioned Bulleit Bourbon drink served with a sprig of rosemary, while the Real Housewives of McGregor piques feminine appeal with Grey Goose la Poire mixed with sweet lychee, pear puree and a kick of jalapeño.
The restaurant’s decor is equally sophisticated, offering a change of scenery throughout the course of dinner via digitally projected “wallpaper.” Our evening started with a black-and-white damask design and ended with a London cityscape. At the table, places are set with copperware cutlery — and stiletto knives for those enjoying steak or other meat entrees. Additionally, we found the waitstaff exceptionally attentive.
On pleasant evenings, the main dining room melds with the patio garden seating, courtesy of a sliding glass Euro-Wall, which remained fully opened during our visit. A private dining room for up to 32 guests features dark wood tones and warm copper finishes, along with its own bar. There’s also an executive dining room for business gatherings. As its name suggests, Society is sure to appeal to an array of interests and to all who enjoy culinary creativity.
King Crab Cocktail
This artfully presented seafood starter features fresh Alaskan king crab with zippy cocktail sauce “preloaded” into the shell. It’s served with dollops of key lime aioli sauce for a citrusy finish to this classic maritime dish. Other favorites from the Sushi + Raw menu include the Crackle-Pop roll with spicy tuna and crisped rice, and the Ahi Tuna Poke, an Asian-inspired starter with soba noodles.
This “small plate” delivers big impact. Served in an authentic Cuban cigar box, this starter is a Cuban-Asian fusion, merging the classic sandwich (ham, roasted pork and Swiss) with a fried egg roll. It’s festively served atop a bamboo leaf with creamy dijon aioli for dipping. This iconic appetizers is not to be missed.
This is a starter you won’t find elsewhere. Tasty duck meatballs are served atop a sweet potato puree. The flavor is enhanced with rich foie gras butter, sour orange emulsion and pickled mustard seed. It’s presented with towering grilled challah bread.
Hard Cider Brined Pork Chop
This thick, tender, bone-in chop is the tastiest we’ve ever eaten! It gets its juiciness from a hard cider brine before it’s cooked on an oak-fired grill. This hearty pork chop is served with bourbon roasted apples and maple sweet potato puree.
Tomahawk Ribeye with Lobster Knuckle
Looking for the perfect special occasion dinner? Society’s 32-ounce Tomahawk Ribeye for two is a showstopper with its imposing full rib left intact. For extra decadence, add the buttered lobster knuckle for the ultimate surf-n-turf experience!
Chocolate Cake with Malted Milk Crumble
Enjoy a cup of Bennett’s Fresh Roast coffee with this house made chocolate-lovers dessert. This indulgent cake is made with premium French Valrhona chocolate and layered with malted milk buttercream and Whopper candy “dirt” with vanilla frozen custard. Also on the Sweets Menu, try the Key West Key Lime Pie with candied gingersnap crust and fresh citus.