Bennett’s Fresh Roast is the most talked about coffee and donut shop in the Fort Myers area. But if you happen to show up after 11 a.m., not only can you enjoy the eatery's award-winning sweet treats, but you’ll also be able to order some fantastically filling lunch selections like soups, salads, paninis and much more.
Donuts at Bennett's Fresh Roast — Photo courtesy of Bennett's Fresh Roast
This decadent donut shop offers a variety of inventive specialties. Take, for example, Owner Bob Grissinger's now-famous “Donut Dog," which he created when he appeared on the Cooking Channel’s Donut Showdown.
This competitive concoction begins with a so-called "Long John Donut" split down the middle, similar to a traditional hot dog bun. It is filled with a Nueske’s applewood-smoked hot dog and then loaded with homemade chili, BBQ sauce, honey mustard and cheddar cheese. A messy, delicious delight!
Another lunch specialty that has been known to make diners' eyes roll back in their heads is the chicken and donut. The unglazed donut is cut in half and smothered in homemade chicken gravy; it's a savory and soothing dish. You'll be happy to know that the chicken in all of Bennett’s lunch dishes is cooked fresh and hand-carved every day.
One of the newest and most popular menu items is Bennett’s lobster roll, full of huge chunks of claw and knuckle meat. The crustaceans from Maine are mixed in a simple concoction of Hellman’s mayo, celery and scallions and then filled to the brim of a special New England hot dog bun, lightly toasted in butter.
Bennett's popular lobster roll, served with a side of pepper slaw — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch
Grissinger's chicken salad is a derivative of his mother's, a comforting dish he grew up eating and still does. This one uses house roasted chicken breasts, celery, onion, boiled eggs, grapes and capers, among other things. Whether you have it on a flaky croissant or as a salad, you'll be raving about it all day.
Most of the sandwiches come with a side of sweet and tangy Pennsylvania Dutch pepper slaw and Grandma Utz kettle chips. Meanwhile, the huge, mostly healthful salads, are all served with the eatery's signature sweetened garlic vinaigrette, a dressing Grissinger has been serving to his personal dinner guests for decades.
Finish lunch with one of the restaurant's world-famous donuts (as long as they are left), or try another sweet treat like the mouthwatering praline bread pudding, served hot and topped with homemade vanilla bean crème anglaise. For something a bit lighter, order a sweet and tangy lemon bar.
Coffee is the drink of choice for most people here, although you'll find a super selection of tea, locally harvested and squeezed citrus juices and a variety of Boylan's pure sugar cane soft drinks.
Bennett’s has two locations: downtown Fort Myers and Sanibel Island. The island spot is more spacious and modern, with lots of bicycle parking and outdoor seating among a colorful, tropical landscape. On the other hand, the original downtown shop is cozy, with a lounge area and a shaded outdoor deck.
You can find the same fresh lunch menu at both Bennett’s locations.