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.
Recommended for Take Out because: Smokers get fired up at 7am at this hole in the wall BBQ joint; the meat is amazing and the prices are even better.
Gina's expert tip: Don't be scared by the outward appearance.
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.
Recommended for Take Out because: The sandwiches are fresh and fancy, the to-go case stocked with a wide selection and there are lots of healthful options at this downtown spot.
Gina's expert tip: Gluten free bread is available
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.
Recommended for Take Out because: This bright cafe serves healthful cuisine to go, with a heavy dose of Indian influence. Besides curry and naan, you'll also get fresh juices.
Gina's expert tip: Use caution when backing out of front parking spaces, into the busy street
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.
Recommended for Take Out because: Premiere New York-style pizza and other goodies are offered at this popular downtown spot, with fast service to go.
Gina's expert tip: There are seats in the back courtyard if you want to eat outside
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.
Recommended for Take Out because: Mario's cases are full of insatiable homemade Italian treats from meatballs to mozzarella and everything in between.
Gina's expert tip: Check the cases in the back for freshly frozen goodies.
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.
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.
Recommended for Take Out because: Not your traditional take out with gourmet burgers, flatbreads, fish and savory daily specials to delight any foodie.
Gina's expert tip: Do NOT ask the chef for ketchup for your fries.
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.
Recommended for Take Out because: People rave about this high-end, Italian deli and gourmet bakery. The prepared foods are plentiful and mouthwatering.
Gina's expert tip: Stop in the adjoining restaurant for happy hour before you grab your food to go
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.
Recommended for Take Out because: Perhaps the most well known, local health food store in the area, the café and market selections are not only healthful but also gourmet.
Gina's expert tip: Check out the healthful goodies in the market.
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.
Recommended for Take Out because: If you want amazing smoked meat and home cooked food but don't feel like cooking, this is the spot for you.
Gina's expert tip: There is additional parking in the back.