Small restaurants that make big and tasty impressions
Hole-in-the-wall restaurants—you know the ones that are a little smaller and a little more off the beaten path—used to be known as places to get a greasy burger or a fried ham sandwich. These days? Not so. As more people rethink what they eat and look for healthier fare, the trend at all types of restaurants is toward local, healthy, organic, vegetarian and vegan foods. Here are three small restaurants that serve delicious fare.
Tucked back in an industrial park off Southeast 10th Street in Cape Coral lies a little gem of a place that you might not expect to find there, but somehow fits in perfectly. It’s Café YOU, a cozy, eclectic, shabbychic restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining.
Café YOU offers healthy, tasty breakfast and lunch offerings with gluten-free and vegan options available, as well as authentic espresso coffees and freshly made bread. Its Avocado Smash is a top seller because it is the perfect comfort food for any time of the day.
“We smash half a ripe avocado and some feta cheese onto toast [of your choice], season it with salt, pepper, tahini and chili flakes [optional], then give it a splash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon,” says owner Marlies Laaper, who is originally from Sydney. And every month, Café YOU offers several fine-dining experiences, including six-course tasting dinners and wine dinners.
THE SANIBEL SPROUT
Vegetarian and vegan whole foods; plantbased innovative cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, organic, non-GMO ingredients; and American and ethnic dishes best describe the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus at The Sanibel Sprout. This casual and comfortable spot, located on Periwinkle Way at Bailey’s Shopping Center on Sanibel Island, emphasizes not only healthy eating, but also a healthy lifestyle.
That’s why—along with menu items such as the Portabella Paradise vegan burger, Japanese Brussels sprouts, and delicious juices, smoothies and desserts—there is a great collection of items to purchase. These include unique home goods, lovely fragrances, and vitamins and minerals. It all takes place in a community-based environment in which guests become friends. “I believe passionately in the power of careful eating and mindful nutrition to transform our health, mood and create optimal lifestyles,” says Nikki R ood, The Sanibel Spr out’s owner and executive chef.
ISLAND WAY CAFÉ
This great little casual café is located just due north of the four-way stop on Pine Island, on the left side of Stringfellow Road. Its breakfast and lunch menus offer everything from fresh smoothies and juices to quiche of the day—and Thai Chicken Wraps that are to die for!
“I strive to use local ingredients,” explains Neil Dundas, who is the restaurant’s owner and its chef. As an example, Dundas notes that the greens he uses are grown just a couple of miles down the road from his establishment.
Indoor seating and an outside patio are available, as well as to-go orders. What’s also fun about Island Way Café is that you can purchase a variety of fresh produce that is offered in bins.
What’s also fun about Island Way Café is that you can purchase a variety of fresh produce that is offered in bins.
Clockwise from top: Cape Coral's Café YOU offers vegan and glutenfree options; the café prides itself on its choices of coffee; the restaurant’s Baked Butternut and Red Onion Salad.
From top: The Sanibel Sprout provides a communitybased environment; patrons rave about its delicious desserts; chef Nikki Rood’s gourmet vegan burger .
Island Way Café chef Neil Dundas strives to use local ingredients. His café features healthy breakfast and lunch items. Its freshbaked goods are enjoyed by Pine Islanders and tourists.