Part of what draws people the most to this spot is the location. The McGregor Café is housed in an old home in the middle of an established neighborhood, full of old oak trees and other tropical vegetation. It sits right off of the locally famous McGregor Boulevard. Although there is a bit of protective shrubbery, you'll still hear the cars whiz by but that never seems to matter. The outdoor seating is casual, you won't feel uncomfortable sitting here in your gym clothes. The breakfast fare is what you might expect with fresh fruit, omelets and thick toast. The staff is always friendly and there is indoor seating if air conditioning is a preference.
Recommended for Breakfast because: It has local charm, home cooked food and an outdoor patio under a canopy of trees and tropical plants.
Gina's expert tip: Reservations are only accepted for parties of six or more during the week. Weekends and smaller parties, first come first serve.
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 in popularity 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.
Recommended for Breakfast because: The Oasis serves real comfort food, the portions are big and the staff welcomes you like long lost family.
Gina's expert tip: It gets busy on weekends. If you're a small party, you might be able to sneak a seat at the bar/counter.
Set in a colorful, inviting cottage, this darling cafe dishes up affordable and delectable breakfast 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.
Recommended for Breakfast because: The biscuits are homemade and they really are heavenly, especially when loaded with eggs and breakfast meats. The sweet treats are just as divine.
Gina's expert tip: No room to sit? Look for the shaded picnic table tucked behind the restaurant on the back deck
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 low-fat meats on the menu such 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.
Recommended for Breakfast because: This Florida chain is a popular spot for affordable and healthful breakfast and lunch options, with consistently good service.
Gina's expert tip: Not an early riser? No worries, you can get breakfast all day!
A family-friendly, casual gourmet spot, Artisan Eatery specializes in classic preparations as well as decadent dishes. The menu has a little bit of everything from more traditional breakfast favorites to salads and sandwiches. The truffle eggs Benedict is a favorite and the buttermilk pancakes are huge. Order and pay at the counter, then take a seat and your food will be delivered. Splits of bubbles are in the stand up cooler and locally squeezed juices are available so you can make your own mimosas. This local spot is also open for lunch and dinner for both take out and dine in. The desserts are to die for and worth saving room for.
Recommended for Breakfast because: It's a small local spot with lots of homemade options from light and healthful to mouthwatering splurges.
Gina's expert tip: Looking for specials? Check the chalkboard!
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 rave worthy, 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; they taste as decadent as they look. You can't go wrong with anything here.
Recommended for Breakfast because: This diner is worth the effort to find, with a classically trained chef who serves a corned beef hash that has locals raving.
Gina's expert tip: If you're in town during a summer monsoon, the parking lot can get flooded forcing a temporary closure. Owners are good about posting on facebook.
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.
Recommended for Breakfast because: For decades, this has been a Sanibel Island favorite for offering the right combination of friendly service and made from scratch breakfast specials.
Gina's expert tip: Call ahead seating is the key to keeping your wait short.
Located in the Gateway Community, there's not a lot of 'skinny' on Skinny Dogz menu and no one seems to mind one bit! The kitchen puts inventive spins on some of your favorite breakfast dishes. How about a bagel with sausage, peanut butter and a pickle? You can pick from a number of chicken and waffle combos and more than half a dozen breakfast Benedicts. They are served on biscuits rather than English muffins. If you're not so adventurous in the morning, more traditional fare is also offered, along with a kids menu. A number of coffee drinks are offered along with adult beverages. The expansive back porch facing a lake adds a nice backdrop while inside, see-through garage doors roll up when the weather is nice.
Recommended for Breakfast because: A wide-ranging menu with huge portions, it's family friendly and the outdoor seating is on a manmade lake; a great start to the day.
Gina's expert tip: Needing to grab breakfast on the go? There is a bakery on site.
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 breakfast sandwiches, fresh fruit cup with yogurt, steel cut oatmeal, and cajun grits. On weekends try the sinfully rich strata and/or fluffy beignets. Delightfully good.
Recommended for Breakfast because: You'll never look at a donut the same after tasting these made from scratch treats, and tasting this freshly roasted coffee.
Gina's expert tip: A dog-friendly deck, the staff provides doggie "cookies", water bowls and donut shaped doggie beds for your pet's pleasure
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 omelet lover, you'll be giddy at the gourmet choices here like crab and brie, or filet mignon. 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. Breakfast is served until 4:00.
Recommended for Breakfast because: This locally owned joint has a head-spinning selection of omelets and pancakes that cover an entire plate.
Gina's expert tip: If you don't feel like waiting on the weekend for a seat, dip next door to CRaVE Market for some breakfast goodies to go.