Breakfast is the foundation of your day. Just say no to mindlessly munching a stale, pre-packaged cereal bar behind the wheel of your car. While "time" does tend to dictate your morning schedule, many popular Fort Myers places can give you both speed and convenience, along with much better tasting options. And if you actually have time to sit down and enjoy a breakfast meeting or date, there are numerous options to fit the bill without breaking the bank.
The Fort Myers area is home to breakfast establishments like Bennett's Fresh Roast, that not only provide a quick fix, but are also perfect for socializing and lingering over a second cup of robust coffee; Bennett's is roasted in house and it IS bottomless after all. Plus you never know what local celebrity or politician may walk in the door. Or perhaps a mimosa with a crab and brie omelette at the more upscale diner CRaVE is more your speed.
You might be surprised at some of the establishments that put out a great breakfast everyday, not just on the weekends. Breakfast is definitely a niche for many places. Let 10Best spare you the hassle of calling around to see who is serving.
With nearly 30 fabulous homemade bagel varieties served fresh every day, the Bagel Factory is an ideal spot for a morning treat. Besides the traditional flavors, other popular bagel selections include jalapeno, asiago, spinach and parmesan, blueberry, apple cinnamon and chocolate chip to name a few. Once you pick your bagel from the case, you can pick from about a dozen types of cream cheese. If you need some morning protein, the breakfast sandwich choices include eggs, cheese, bacon and more; the nova comes stacked high. Ideal for a casual, leisurely brunch or an on-the-go meal, these gigantic bagel creations promise to leave you satisfied. (239-433-2245)
If you want healthful breakfast that is served all day, then First Watch is the place for you. This is one place where you can order cholesterol free eggs and egg whites as substitutes in any dish, and not face additional charges. You'll find lots of turkey on the menu as well as turkey bacon and sausage. Other healthful options include power bowls with quinoa, fresh granolas, yogurt and lots of fruit. If you're not calorie counting, it's even better as there all kinds of mouth water dishes from the French Toast Monte Cristo to the variety of hashes, scrambles and Benedicts. The service is fast and the food is consistent at all three Fort Myers locations of this Florida based restaurant. (239-274-5551)
Sunny's For Breakfast and Lunch
This small breakfast diner opened for business in the hot summer of 2013, in a strip mall in South Fort Myers. Here you will find a tasty array of home cooked comfort foods, as well as the occasional gourmet creation. For the health conscious, the menu has a selection of oatmeal, yogurt, freshly cut fruits and the likes. But if you want something that sticks to your ribs get the biscuits and gravy or the signature Belgian Waffle. The made from scratch batter is fluffy and sweet but the fun doesn't' stop there. Salty ham and cheddar cheese is folded into the mixture before it's poured on the waffle iron. This crazy combo of salty and sweet is a must have! (239-288-6049)
Just over the Caloosahatchee Bridge, across from downtown Fort Myers, you'll find the Go-Go Diner in a strip mall next to a Bingo Hall. The chef and owner is a Culinary Institute of America graduate who has made local headlines with his homemade, corned beef hash. The servers proudly wear shirts reading "got hash" and "have you had your hash today?" The omelets are affordable and filled with great flavors for only $4.99, the biscuits smothered in sausage gravy are savory, and the portions are big. Be sure to order the Red Velvet Pancakes for a sweet treat. They are topped with whipped cream and tiny chocolate chips. You can't go wrong with anything here. (239-599-8877)
Offering breakfast seven days a week and all day long, the Oasis Restaurant in downtown Fort Myers has a little bit of everything to offer. The "hangover" omelet is a house specialty with Italian sausage and vegetables covered in melted cheese. The skillet creations aren't far behind and the biscuits and gravy are as good as Grandma's. Good for your belly and your soul, be prepared to be "loved on" by the friendly staff. They give hugs freely, call you sweetie and make you feel like your part of the family. It's no wonder this is a local morning favorite. (239-334-1566)
You don't have a view of Sanibel Lighthouse from the island's famous Lighthouse Caf�, instead photos of lighthouses from around the globe cover every inch of the walls in this cozy space. Open for more than six decades, it's the friendly service as well as the quality of its food that keeps people coming back, and waiting in line sometimes for hours. The blueberry pancakes and French toast have won national recognition, but the eggs Benedicts and omelets are also big hits. The meats, including the salmon, are all smoked in house. Lighthouse's signature seasoned potatoes are served as a side with most dishes but even so, order the potato chive hotcake with apple sauce and sour cream; delectable. Breakfast is served all day. (239-472-0303)
Set in an colorful, inviting cottage, this darling cafe dishes up affordable and delectable treats. Try the Heavenly Biscuit special; a homemade biscuit with bacon, egg and tomato. Be warned, it will be hard to resist the tray of aromatic cinnamon rolls sitting on the counter. Besides biscuits you can get egg whites, bagels with salmon and other filling items. There is a water cooler by the front door as well as an old refrigerator filled with cold beverages for your choosing. Seating is limited both indoors and out so grab your biscuit to go, walk across the street and enjoy it on the beach. They only accept cash, but there's an ATM conveniently located on-site. (239-463-7600)
Mermaid Garden Cafe
You might find the location of this alluring caf� a bit odd--in an executive center--but the search is something that many discerning diners enjoy. You can't help but want to come inside once you walk by the Mermaid with its green and white walls; black and white checkered tile. Chef Gloria Jordan puts a bit of her Cuban magic into the farm to table inspired cuisine she serves; every dish is exploding with flavor and is plated beautifully. Farm fresh eggs are the stars here, almost everything is topped with one, including the popular lentil bowls. Whatever you do, save room for the beautiful and delicious pastries tempting you from their glass enclosure. Wash it all down with a variety of coffee, teas or perhaps a sparkling guava cocktail. (239-425-3480)
Bennett's Fresh Roast
Bennett's Fresh Roast has a bit of a cult following, off the beaten path in downtown Fort Myers. Owned by a longtime, local radio personality C. David Bennett, there is a constant parade of dignitaries, local celebrities, retirees, college students and everyone in between, looking for a caffeine fix from his freshly roasted beans and his bottomless cups. His donuts gained international attention on the Cooking Channel's Donut Showdown. They are hand cut, made from scratch and finished off with a variety of unique toppings; the most talked about being the decadent Maple Applewood Bacon. Morning offerings other than donuts include a breakfast sandwich, a fresh fruit cup with yogurt, steel cut oatmeal with all the fixins and on weekends, a sinfully rich strata. Bennett's has a second location on Sanibel Island; it serves strata daily. (239-332-0077)
There are often lines on the weekend to get a table in this small, strip mall eatery. The gym, located a few doors down, does little to deter diners from indulging on breakfast specialties like French toast, pancakes, corned beef and biscuits and gravy. If you're an omelette lover, you'll be giddy at the gourmet choices here. You can get almost any kind of combo of meat, cheese and veggies. Check out the chalkboard of specialty items, it takes up an entire wall. They even serve breakfast cocktails. The food at CRaVE is fresh and inventive. While you might get mixed reviews about the service, the food is always fabulous ((239) 466-4663)
About Gina Birch
Gina carries the rare title of "Native Floridian". Living in Southwest Florida for 22 years, she is a well known, award winning radio and TV personality.
Besides brandishing a microphone, Gina is good with a camera and computer, publishing a restaurant guide for Lee County called FLAVOR.
Gina is a self-proclaimed Oenophile, traveling to wine regions all over the world to sip what she calls "the nectar of the Gods." When not in the vineyards she loves to explore beautiful beaches and new restaurants.
You can find more of her musings in her blog "The Birch Beat" (www.thebirchbeat.blogspot.com)
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