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Restaurants turn up the sizzle for summer

July 31, 2019
By JORDAN HESTER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

For locals and summer season visitors alike, there is no better time to enjoy the Beach's many restaurants and eateries.

"Off-season" brings special happy hours, menu offerings and much more as Fort Myers Beach businesses become more innovative to maintain their bottom lines.

"The best thing we've ever conceived was delivery on the island; we could be dead on location and still do a night's worth of business purely on the back of delivery orders," said Janeen Paulaskis with the

Article Photos

The Sandbar and Grille is at 7205 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach.


Barefoot Event Group, which represents the Sandbar and Grille.

Locally, and even only more recently with drivershare delivery options like UberEats and BiteSquad, delivery has definitely been the Holy

Grail of food-based commodities on the Beach.

"Our summer specials usually do the trick," Paulaskis said. "We'll have extended happy hour times, half-price pizzas on Tuesday, which is, honestly, our most popular night, even though it's dine-in only,

But we have the same foot traffic problems to solve, just like everyone else on the Beach."

The Sandbar and Grille has been locally owned and operated since 2005, giving them a good view of the best and worst off-season could offer.

Ray's Pizza, on the other side of the coin, has been seeing some of the best business since the new owner took over.

"With all the local construction, and with our delivery range, the last month or so, starting in June, has been our busiest sales time yet," said Dallas Branch, owner of Ray's Pizza.

Branch bought Ray's from the owner and worked with him in transition around May of 2018. He says living on the island definitely gives him a unique perspective on how the business works.

"Knowing the routes, the delivery times, the peak hours, everything from living on the island lets you understand a lot more from not only a business point of view, but a residents as well," Branch said.

With a few dozen restaurants on the beach, it's an important lesson to learn.

Both Branch and Paulaskis agree that, no matter your tenure in business out on the Beach, word of mouth matters.

"We get so many people out here that heard from a friend, or was told by folks they know up north that vacation down here where to go and what places to visit, and it always makes us happy that we make that big an impression on people, even if briefly," Paulaskis said.

At Coste, at the Diamondhead Resort, has had success with rotational happy hours and purely themed nights and discounts.

"We've extended happy hours between the two bars to rotate throughout the back half of the day for locals, which has turned into an amazing value since people on and off the Beach don't necessarily show up at the same time to take advantage of the specials," said Marcel Chatrier, food and beverage manager for Coste.

One special of particular note? They've even gone so far as to offer $20 off coupons to get a newer crowd in the door to check them out.

"It's a value that we'd rather get new, fresh faces in the door than to try and make a couple extra bucks during the slow season. People know the quality of the menu items here, and every new face is just as impressed as our regulars, so we want to keep that energy throughout the year," Chatrier said.



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