The smashing success of Bennett’s Fresh Roast in downtown Fort Myers has had devoted customers clamoring for years for a second location – preferably in their neighborhood.
Seven years later, in January 2014, owners did indeed expand their local coffee and donut empire, choosing Sanibel Island as a second home.
Continuing in their tradition of never using mixes for any of their sweet treats and always roasting coffee beans fresh every day, Bennett’s is flourishing on the island. Once you've had coffee prepared at the optimal temperature and from freshly roasted beans, you’ll never look at a cup of joe the same again.
Pancakes are a new menu item at Bennett's Fresh Roast Sanibel — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch
Bennett’s donuts are legendary, gaining international fame on the Cooking Channel’s Donut Showdown.
Hand cut and made from scratch, the delicious donuts aren’t just for breakfast. Made fresh first thing in the morning, another batch comes out between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the afternoon.
The fillings and frostings are all made in house, and they make people giddy with excitement over which to choose: glazed, chocolate, Heath Bar crunch, sticky buns or their highly acclaimed maple bacon donut.
While coffee and donuts have made Bennett’s Fresh Roast famous, the good eats don’t stop there.
The kitchen on Sanibel dwarfs the one at their downtown location, allowing for some additional breakfast items like delectable pancakes. The plate comes with fresh, sweet cream butter and real maple syrup in a neat little glass jar.
You also get a generous portion of Bennett’s savory home fries and a choice of sausage or Nueske’s applewood-smoked bacon.
Bennett's maple bacon donuts have a cult-like following — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch
A rich and sinful breakfast strata is served daily, along with two varieties of breakfast sandwiches. Calorie-counters are not kicked to the curb, though, thanks to items like the slow-cooked oatmeal and a fresh fruit cup topped with yogurt.
You’ll find lots of tables that can be positioned to accommodate bigger parties at the Sanibel coffee shop, along with a conversational area full of comfy chairs, perfect for lingering over your bottomless cup of java.
Breakfast may be booming, but lunches are equally as tempting, with fresh soups, salads and paninis made with meats roasted in house.
Unique and fun are the Donut Dog and Chicken Donut; however, the lobster roll is a showstopper. It's loaded with knuckle and claw meat and served on an authentic New England lobster roll, grilled with butter.
On the well-traveled Periwinkle Way, Bennett's is tucked behind lush landscaping — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch
Besides donuts, Bennett’s other sweet treats include popular lemon bars, homemade pies and an authentic praline bread pudding that's to die for.
Partnering with local, award-winning chocolatier Norman Love, the Sanibel restaurant serves his creamy artisanal gelato. Choose from 12 flavors, most of which rotate weekly and many of which are made special for Bennett’s.
Bennett’s was one of the first businesses to fall under the island's new landscaping codes. They're rumored to have spent some $100,000 on the lush vegetation that nearly hides them from the passing traffic on Periwinkle Way.
Look for the bright green awnings just two and a half blocks from the Sanibel Causeway exit.
Open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, Bennett’s Fresh Roast offers plenty of parking, as most islanders ride their bikes.
No one knows for certain if it is out of guilt for the dining indulgences that await, or if they do it to avoid the seasonal traffic jams.