Fort Myers Florida Weekly

There’s nothing pretty about Cape Coral street beautification project


The view of street demolition from the patio of Ciao has discouraged diners from sitting outdoors and others from even trying to dine there. COURTESY PHOTO

The view of street demolition from the patio of Ciao has discouraged diners from sitting outdoors and others from even trying to dine there. COURTESY PHOTO

This is the time of year when local restaurants count on capacity crowds to help shore up their bank accounts for those long, slow hot summers.

But at least a couple of Cape Coral restaurants on SE 47th Terrace got an unpleasant March surprise when demolition crews from the SE 47th Streetscape Project began ripping up the streets in front of their storefronts earlier this month. Signs placed at the end of the street “Road closed to thru traffic” and another that lists the businesses that are open in print too small to read from a moving car, further discourage would-be customers.

The reigning hot-dog-eating champ, Joey Chestnut, has won the Nathan’s competition 10 times.

The reigning hot-dog-eating champ, Joey Chestnut, has won the Nathan’s competition 10 times.

Jill Bacus, chef-owner of Ciao Wood- Fired Pizza & Trattoria, and her husband and co-owner, Chris, are struggling to get customers in the door of their restaurant at 823 SE 47th Terrace at a time when they should be struggling with capacity crowds trying to get seats.



“We are doing the best we can,” said Jill Bacus. “It’s killing us. Nobody wants to sit outside because of the dust. People don’t know where to park. We need signs telling people where to park. Even though there is road construction, there is through traffic.”

The restaurant, which has been in business for 7½ years, has customers of all ages, but the older ones aren’t coming in like they usually do. “They worry they are going to slip and fall,” Ms. Bacus said.

She wants people to know that the restaurant is open seven days a week (until April 1, when they will start closing on Sundays and Mondays), and customers can park in the lot across the street where the bus terminal is, or in the empty lot next to the restaurant.

Cork Soakers, at 837 SE 47th Terrace, is having the same trouble and is doing its best to bring in customers with live music and messages like this on its website: “Yes We Are Open! This construction work won’t prevent us from partying with you guys tonight. Please use our side entrance to enter the building.”

The project is supposed to take about a year, although the part in front of the two restaurants should last about three months. Let’s hope the city figures out how to finish this beautification effort without destroying all the businesses that are supposed to line the improved streets.

Learn to make sweet Love treats

A sure sign that the busy tourist season is winding down is the launch of cooking classes at Norman Love Confections. Starting this week and running through September, the culinary pros are holding classes that allow the rest of us to learn how to create some of the fancy candies and desserts for which the company is known.

Classes are held in the evening, all starting at 6:30 p.m. Lengths differ according to the subject, but each course is $95 plus tax. The classes take place at the company’s salon and kitchens at 11380 Lindbergh Blvd., Fort Myers.

Among the classes coming up are Easter eggs, cookies, molded chocolates, chocolate and wine pairings, cupcakes and cake pops, truffles, naked Love cakes, chocolate shoe painting, chocolate confections and Thanksgiving pies.

For reservations, call 561-7215.

Taste of the Cape

The fifth annual Taste of the Cape takes place 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, April 8, featuring signature dishes from several city restaurants, live music, and juried arts and crafts on sale by local artisans. There will also be craft beers, margaritas and wine.

The Gulf Coast Symphony and Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce Education Committee are presenting Taste of the Cape, with proceeds benefiting the Education Committee’s scholarship program, and the Gulf Coast Symphony’s music education and community programs.

The Gulf Coast Symphony will perform light classical, pops, and Broadway favorites at “Symphony at Sunset” at 5:30 p.m. and local bands will perform from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free; food and drink prices range from $3 to $8. The event takes place at Four Freedoms Park, 4818 Tarpon Court. A special pre-sale for food and drink tickets is available online at, where you can purchase 50 tickets for $40 until Sunday, April 1.

For details, visit or call 277-1700.

Quick bites

Society, the newest restaurant at Bell Tower Shops, has launched an early dining menu that includes dishes such as blackened chicken with spinach and local heirloom tomato lemon cream sauce ($16); wood-fired Applewood salmon with spring vegetable ratatouille ($17); crab-stuffed grouper with house-made crab cake, blood orange reduction and pineapple rice ($18); a 7-ounce woodfired NY strip with mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and bacon peppered demi ($19); and wood-fired New Zealand lamb chops with mashed potatoes and smoked demi glace ($19). Entrées include bread and a cup of soup of the day or salad. Society serves lunch daily 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. with light bites available 2:30-5 p.m. Dinner is served 5-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a late-night bites menu available on weekends. Call 334-0900 or reserve online at

Marlins Brewhouse and Chronic Tacos — two businesses by one owner — have opened at 5611 Six Mile Commercial Court in South Fort Myers. The brewhouse offers a wealth of Florida beers on tap while the tacos joint offers, well, tacos and other munchies. Call the brewhouse at 220-5918, the taco place at 220-5919.

Nathan’s Famous will host the Florida qualifier for the annual Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at Hammond Stadium at the Century Link Sports Complex. The top male and female finishers in the event will qualify for a seat at the Nathan’s Famous of July contest in Coney Island on July 4, where they will face reigning champions Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo. Just for the record, Chestnut marked his 10th win in 2017 by eating 72 hot dogs while Miki managed to eat 41 dogs.

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