2014-10-22 / Cuisine

Restaurant week celebrates local food before tourist season floods market

The third annual Lee County Restaurant Week offers locals a chance to enjoy the bounty that local farms and restaurants have to offer before the winter season cranks up.

The celebration, set for Nov. 2-8, is sponsored by the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau. Highlights include:

Monday, Nov. 3: Pinchers Seafood 101, features owner Grant Phelan leading a discussion and tasting of stone crabs, blue crabs and grouper at Pinchers new waterfront restaurant in downtown Fort Myers. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. $60.

Monday, Nov. 3: Tour the Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery in Cape Coral then head to Slate’s Restaurant for a fivecourse rum dinner. 4 p.m. $60.

Wednesday, Nov. 5: Denise Muir leads a tour of her Rabbit Run Farm with its heirloom plants and hydroponic growing system. Then chef Kristina San Filippo creates dishes from the crop. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $45 .

Sean Redding has opened Larry’s Lunchbox, a kosher-style deli, in downtown Fort Myers. 
KAREN FELDMAN / FLORIDA WEEKLY Sean Redding has opened Larry’s Lunchbox, a kosher-style deli, in downtown Fort Myers. KAREN FELDMAN / FLORIDA WEEKLY Saturday, Nov. 8: Owners Michael Wallace and Chris “The Sprout Queen” Lindsey lead a tour of their 4-acre farm, Pine Island Botanicals, and discuss natural/ sustainable farming practices before guests enjoy a meal prepared from items from the farm. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $45.

In addition, there will be lots of special dinners and other culinary fun around the county. Check it all out at tastedeliciouslee.com.

Kosher-style deli opens downtown

At long last, Fort Myers once again has a kosher-style deli. It’s been many years since the demise of the much-loved Miami Connection. Now Larry’s Lunchbox, a Naples institution for more than 25 years, has taken over the former Edison’s Lunchbox at 2200 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Joel Moroney has fulfilled a longtime dream by opening the McGregor Pizza & Deli Co. 
COURTESY PHOTO Joel Moroney has fulfilled a longtime dream by opening the McGregor Pizza & Deli Co. COURTESY PHOTO Hungering for corned beef, pastrami, potato latkes or chicken soup with matzo balls? Step right up.

Owner Sean Redding, former manager of Masa in Naples, says, “We make the majority of what we sell. We roast the beef and cook the chicken for our chicken salad. It’s why everything tastes so fresh.”

They make their Caesar dressing from scratch, too, and, of course, render the chicken fat that is a critical ingredient in their creamy, delectable chopped liver.

The deli has a wide-ranging menu that also includes a classic club sandwich, a variety of burgers, chicken fingers and chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, soups and salads.

Larry’s is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday- Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Call 208-4035 or visit larryslunchbox.com.

Giovanni’s becomes McGregor Pizza & Deli Co.

Just down McGregor from Larry’s you’ll find Joel Moroney whipping up pizzas, subs and salads in the recently rejuvenated building previously known as Giovanni’s and now called the McGregor Pizza & Deli Co.

The former news reporter grew up in the deli business in Ohio. After graduating from Ohio State he worked as a journalist for about a decade. Through it all, however, he says, “I always wanted to do a little pizza takeout and delivery place.”

He and then-girlfriend, Sally Evans, attended the International Pizza Exposition in Las Vegas in 2010 to take a pizza management course. While there, they decided to get married. The marriage took, but they decided it wasn’t quite the right time to start a business. When Giovanni’s recently became available, however, they snapped it up.

“We love McGregor and we feel like McGregor loves us right back” based on the first couple of weeks of brisk business, Mr. Moroney says.

They sell pizzas in three sizes (regular and gluten-free crusts) and with a variety of toppings. They also pride themselves on their chicken salad and the Chicago Italian beef sub, which the menu proclaims is “The real deal! (Shut up and try it.)” Salads, calzones, strombolis and garlic knots, plus beer, wine and soft drinks complete the menu.

It’s open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday,

10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday. Check it out on Facebook or at mcgregorpizza.com.

Big festivals coming to Fort Myers

Whip out those elastic waistband pants. It’s festival time. Coming up:

Italian Fest 2014, sponsored by The Rotary Club of Fort Myers, takes place 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, at the Alliance for the Arts, McGregor and Colonial boulevards. There will be several Italian restaurants (and McGregor Pizza will provide the pies), a marinara sauce contest, spaghetti-eating contest, games, music and more. Details at fortmyersitalianfest.org.

The Junior League’s 32nd annual Taste of the Town is set for 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2, at JetBlue Park, 11500 Fenway South Drive, Fort Myers. Some 40 restaurants will offer their specialties, along with music, games and contests. Proceeds benefit organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Shelter for Abuse Counseling & Treatment and the Early Learning Coalition. For information, call 277-1197 or visit jlfm.org.

The World Wine Tour to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida, is set for 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, at Bell Tower Shops. Enjoy 20 wines, holiday lights, music and more. $35 in advance, $40 at the door. For more information, call 437-0202 or visit rmhcswfl.org.

Quick bites

Slurp and learn: Join restaurateur Matt Asen, owner of The Timbers (among other spots), and Shell Museum Director Jose Leal for Oystravaganza, an evening of education about and enjoyment of oysters paired with wines, at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, at the Shell Museum, 3075 Sanibel- Captiva Road, Sanibel. $40, with proceeds benefitting the museum. Call 395-2233 or book online at www.shellmuseum.org.

Samuel Adams dinner: Tarpon Bay Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point hosts a Samuel Adams beer dinner from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. $65. Call 390-4295.

Angelina’s Ristorante wine dinner: The Bonita Springs restaurant hosts a fivecourse wine dinner featuring Juelle Fisher with Fisher Vineyards of Santa Rosa Calif., on Tuesday, Nov. 11. $150. For reservations call 390-3187 or visit angelinasofbonitasprings.com. ¦

— Email dining news to cuisine@floridaweekly.com.

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