Brews & Bites: Foodie High-Five Tour
In the past decade, Cape Coral and Punta Gorda have boosted their reputations as food-and-brew hot spots. Both cities being fine producers of craft beers and housing a plethora of interesting and creative restaurants!
Below you’ll find a list of high-fives for the two riverfront cities in both the breweries and exciting restaurant categories:
- Big Blue Brewery, Cape Coral: The bar in this expansive chic warehouse space overlooks the glassed-in brewing operations. It sells beers brewed in-house—more than 20 in all—along with liquors spotlighting the infamous Wicked Dolphin rum, made locally by its sister distillery. A full menu of bar eats, live music, trivia and comedy nights, happy hour specials from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and corn hole outside attract a crowd of devoted fans.
- Big Storm Brewing Co., Cape Coral: A spinoff from the original Tampa brewery by the same name, the Cape Coral taproom produces some of its own brews such as Cape Coral White Grapefruit IPA. Tours of the backroom brewery are available upon request. The space itself proves to be quite roomy with patio seating, a pool table, dartboard, and board games. You can find them hosting weekly events such as food trucks and open mic night too!
- Eight-Foot Brewing, Cape Coral: Small-batch brews and small-plate eats add to the intimate, boutique feel of this downtown Cape Coral drinking hole. Wednesday brings game night; Fridays, trivia. Eight-Foot Brewing is dedicated to its community through many fundraising initiatives and charity sponsorships.
- Peace River Beer Company, Punta Gorda: In its spacious, warehouse setting in Punta Gorda, it is the stepchild of the now dead-and-gone Bury Me Brewing of Fort Myers. With 20 drafts, they cover all their bases, from IPAs to blood orange cider. The taproom also hosts food trucks, live music, and trivia nights.
- Fat Point Brewing Company, Punta Gorda: One of the region’s first craft breweries, the unique name is a translation of hometown Punta Gorda. Taste their three core beers, too, honoring local geographical features—Big Boca Ale, Hoppin’ Harbor Tropical Pale Ale, and Cape Haze Fruited Wheat Ale. Hungry? No problem, it also serves pizza, sandwiches, and bar munchies.
Buzzin’ NEW Restaurants
- Enter the Dragon, Cape Coral: This latest cousin to nearby Nevermind Awesome Bar has a millennial appeal with its offbeat, off-radar presence, black walls, and sushi-tacos menu. Menu sampling: Salmon Philly Roll, Fried Chicken, and Buffalo Chicken Taco.
- Gather, Cape Coral: Part of Tarpon Point Marina, this waterfront boutique restaurant does fresh, bright interpretations of breakfast, salads, small plates, sandwiches, pasta, seafood, and meat. Menu sampling: Nutella & Citrus Waffle, Smoked Salmon French Tartine, and New Zealand Lamb Meatloaf.
- Saltwater Smokehouse, St. James City: It’s worth the trip to Pine Island for this real-deal barbecue, along with seafood and burgers. Menu sampling: Saltwater Po’ Boy, Pulled Pork, and Smoked Wings.
- Carmelo’s Italian Ristorante, Punta Gorda: This favorite for pasta and grilled specialties moved recently to a beautiful historic riverfront home on Retta Esplanade. Menu sampling: Lobster Ravioli, Pork Shank Ossobuco, Pesce Spada Taormina (grilled swordfish).
- The Pier at Fishermen’s Village, Punta Gorda: BRAND NEW and inspired in design and cuisine by the Pacific Rim, it opened its waterfront doors in November 2019. Menu sampling: Spicy Tuna Roll, Kalua Pork Sliders, Hibachi Diver Scallops.