Dining out in Fort Myers can be quite a delightful experience. But there are times you want to crawl into your PJ’s, put your feet on the furniture and eat like no one is watching. Who says you cant have comfort and gourmet cuisine at the same time, and without dirtying one pan? Take out to the rescue.
The city of Fort Myers is quite spread out. Because space is not an issue, like in many urban cities, most restaurants have ample parking, therefore the number of “true” take-out only establishments are few. Almost any restaurant will box menu items to go, however, not all transfer well.
While some of these 10Best have table service, like Mad Fresh Bistro, many do not. At Mad Fresh you'll find a chef that can be a bit tempramental but still make you swoon over scallops, quinoa and flatbreads. This is gourmet take out at it's finest.
If you're craving comfort food like mac-n-cheese, BBQ and bread pudding, Reuben's Smokehouse is the way to go. The owner has a successful catering business and is an expert when it comes to packaging food to move. The beans with bacon will keep you coming back and the bread pudding is sinful.
So if you've had enough of the hustle and bustle, grab it to go from one of these 10Best and find a quiet spot to eat, wine and unwind.
Good luck finding McCarters BBQ, there's no sign to mark the spot, just a smoke signal. In fact, you might think you are pulling up to someone's home. McCarters has been dishing up plates of delicious BBQ, a couple blocks east of downtown proper, (on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Cranford Street) for more than twenty years. Two giant smokers sit on the dirt lawn and Willie sits inside the screen porch, manning the fort, even on the hottest summer days. The smokers get fired up early in the morning, loaded with ribs, chicken and such. A slab of ribs is not only mouthwatering but one of the best deals in town, in the twenty-dollar range. Don't expect any fancy sides, do expect to carry that smoky BBQ smell in your clothes but you wont even notice after that first bite. (239-33714411)
This downtown Fort Myers sandwich shop is the newest creation from the owners of Downtown Pizza. You'll find quite a large selection of pitas, wraps, paninis and croissants to go. The meat choices include items such as roasted chicken, roasted turkey, honey glazed ham and more. Don't expect the basic condiments here. Instead you'll find the bread slathered with things like pesto and various kinds of aioli. In addition, The Deli has numerous salads; green and otherwise. Patrons also love the large selection of flavors and brands of chips--not included. There are a few tables for dining in and shared patio space in the back. The Deli also serves hearty breakfast sandwiches to start your day. (239 337-DELI)
Happiness Healthy Cafe
If you're not careful, you might just drive right by this small caf� in an aged strip mall off of the busy US41. The bright interior is a good representation of the lively flavors you'll find in the food, much of which has an Indian touch. The family owned restaurant serves carnivores, vegans, vegetarians and gluten free diners while providing a nutritional guide at the counter. There are a few seats if you decided to dine in. Try the Tandori Chicken Naanwich; loaded with meat, cucumber and a delicious mint chutney. Be sure to add the homemade Rayta, a yogurt sauce with cucumber, tomato, onion, garlic and spice. You'll also find traditional wraps, curries, daily soup specials and 100% real juice smoothies, this caf� also has a convenient online ordering system making pick up easy. (239-362-2075)
Downtown House of Pizza
For years, the Downtown House of Pizza has been the premier spot to get a late night slice that hangs off the edge of a paper plate. But it's not only the late night crowd who loves these New York-style, hand-tossed pizza. The case is full of pies loaded with all kinds of toppings, just waiting to be finished off in the hot ovens. While the slices are big, if there are more than a couple of you ordering, it's worth it to get an entire pie. Even though the pizza is infamous here, you can also order calzones, subs, wings and salads. Call ahead or order at the counter. The service is fast and the seating is limited. (239-337-3467)
Mario's Meat Market and Deli
This well established Italian Market remodeled its space in the summer of 2013, adding even more room for it's homemade delicacies. The intoxicating smells of garlic, tomato, basil and other spices envelope you the minute you walk in the door, encouraging to buy more than what you came for. The antipasti selections include stuffed and marinated olives, stuffed artichokes, an array of cheeses and lots of cured meats. For more substantial meals, scan the cases for items such as meatballs, chicken parmigiana, salads and other specials. There is almost always a stack of fresh breads and doon't skip the desserts either. ((239) 936-7275)
Rene's Restaurant and Catering
Although it sits on the well-known McGregor Blvd, Rene's might not be the easiest place to find. Positioned almost under the College Parkway Bridge, if you drive by, be sure to turn around a go back, as you will be in for a treat. Serving cafe style food, delicious quiche, beautiful salads and wraps and sandwiches full of meat, Rene's is also known for the homemade carrot cake; don't skip it. This cafe 's not only beloved because of its food but because of the fast service where you order and pay at the counter. Even better, Rene's actually has a drive through window, it's the only gourmet pick-up window in town and locals love it.....you will too. (239-489-0833)
Mad Fresh Bistro
The original concept of Mad Fresh was gourmet take out. And while there are some seats at the counter and a few on the floor, if you don't like small and sometimes loud spaces, stick with the take out option. Either way, your taste buds will thank you! The French chef is an avid runner but just because he has a healthful lifestyle, don't think he doesn't appreciate the decadence of truffle oil, brie and good wine. Fair warning, the flatbreads are huge and the Parisian is actually topped with a mound of truffle fries. The wine selections change often and are affordable. Be sure to check the daily specials on the chalkboard for amazing options. (239-362-2363)
DeRomo's Gourmet Market and Restaurant
Bringing Brooklyn-style Italian to Bonita Springs, DeRomo's is huge. You'll find everything you need in this space for a no fuss, family friendly meal. Not only is there a deli full of meats, cheeses and sandwiches, you'll also find brick oven pizza; put in your order while you pick up your wine, salad and other sides. The prepared food cases are stocked full of everything from lasagna and risotto to broccoli rabe and roasted vegetables. Meal packages are great deals, with an entrée, two sides and salad for either 2 or 4 people. You can also call ahead for gourmet trays of all sizes. Be sure not to miss the bakery with it's tempting treats; beautiful. (239-325-3583)
Ada's Natural Market
Ada's is a family-run health food market that has been in the Fort Myers area since the late 70's. It has changed hands a number of times and briefly shut down before coming back bigger and better than ever. Lots of room has been dedicated in the new, upscale space for take out. The options are not only quantity but quality, with grass feed beef dishes, mushroom burgers, beef roulade stuffed with spinach, artichoke and goat cheese, curry chicken salad and an addictive kale salad, to name a few tempting items. Pull up to the beautiful juice bar and get your wheat grass shot or any number of other juice concoctions to go. ((239) 939-9600)
Reuben's Smokehouse is one of Fort Myers, newest restaurants, an expansion of the owners self titled catering company. Because of the chef's catering experience, he is an expert at giving you great food to go. The fast food is anything but fast quality. Rueben's menu is full of home cookin' and comfort foods; the stuff that may not always be good for the waistline but certainly good for the soul. The mac and cheese is cheesy, the coleslaw is crisp and the beans with bacon will make your eyes roll back. Reuben's has a refrigerator for you to grab your beverages to go or you can always opt for a booth and listen to some country music while you dig in to your ribs. Meat is king at Reuben's; the ribs, brisket, meatloaf and more will make a believer out of you. (866-928-2789)
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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