Updated: Jan 29
Need some new ideas when going out for a meal in the middle of Cape Coral?
From breakfast hotspots to shops that show appreciation for first responders while grabbing lunch, the intersection of Pine Island Road and Del Prado Boulevard is stacking up with brand new eateries for residents.
Why is Pine Island Road getting so popular?
With new businesses popping up one after another along the busy corridor, one might wonder why exactly is this particular corridor exploding. Stan Stouder, founding partner with CRE Consultants in Fort Myers, gives insight to The News-Press as to why this area might be such a hot commodity for expanding businesses.
As a central point of Cape Coral, Stouder said, it's a great location with main roads leading into it. He recalls around the same time he had sold 13,150 acres along Burnt Store Road three years ago, the growth of the area started to gain momentum when officials had increased the road to four lanes all the way into Charlotte County.
Once officials started to make water and sewer infrastructure improvements, it only added to the positive attributes to the area.
"It's a state road, you got large traffic counts, good accessibility. Also, you can connect through to Del Prado (Boulevard) and Chiquita (Boulevard) and all those intersecting roads, so I think all of those are major factors that stimulated the growth," Stouder said. "But then as the growth began, those pioneers, if you will, 10 years ago, they started having success. Success begets success, so I think those are all contributing factors."
A resident within the Southwest Florida region since the 1980's, he said there was never an exact start of when the area started to grow but really recalls a change starting over the last 10 years.
"Within the last 10 years, the national chains began to appear … the Outback, Chili's, Bob Evans, those had been there probably for 10 plus years, and I think that was really where the ball started rolling," Stouder said. "But now as you add these road improvements, you have these utility improvements, now you're really having a strong draw to a common area of like-minded businesses."
Stouder said this constant growth for Cape Coral will mean that residents will no longer have to cross the river for employment, which had been the case for many years.
He also highlighted positives like the ad valorem tax base will get a little more diversification with these businesses, explaining 97% of Cape Coral's tax base is residential. He added it will take some pressure off the coast and allow for diversity of development in other areas within Cape Coral.
Here are new additions to Pine Island and Del Prado
Cape Coral residents can check out their new First Watch location, which opened within the Cape Coral Commons plaza earlier in November.
Located at 1523 NE Pine Island Rd, Ste 110, this brunch spot features an expansive dining room, covered patio and bar and employs approximately 40 people.
First Watch officials said they had seen the demand for another location and were looking forward to bringing their brunch options across the bridge.
“For nearly two decades, we’ve seen our customers gravitate to our elevated take on brunch just across the river in Fort Myers, so we figured it was about time to introduce our neighbors in Cape Coral to our experience a little closer to home,” Dave Lynch, vice president of operations, said.
“Since First Watch is based just up the road, we’re always thrilled to open a new restaurant in our own backyard, especially now when coming together around the table has never been more important. Whether that means sharing a meal with friends, family or as a party of one, we’re ready to be your new go-to spot for breakfast, brunch and lunch, for years to come.”
First Watch was originally on track to open during the beginning of October until Ian's hit derailed their plans.
As a way to support the new Cape Coral team, as well as the more than 3,500 other employees across the state, First Watch activated and contributed $100,000 to the You First Fund, a fund established to provide direct assistance to employees and their immediate families experiencing significant financial hardship in times of crisis, aiming to address immediate needs such as rent and mortgage, utilities, food and groceries, childcare and other hardships.
Local Firehouse Subs franchisee, Dan Redolphy, will be opening his fourth location in the upcoming year. He said he is excited to bring the hot and hearty subs the brand is known for to a new area of town - Cape Coral Commons.
This new location at1519 NE Pine Island Rd. joins his three other locations, two in Fort Myers and another in Cape Coral on Santa Barbara Blvd. Redolphy said they are looking to hire roughly 25 to 30 employees for crew member, shift leader and management roles.
Redolphy said with every new Firehouse Subs, the opportunity to give back to the community and donate more money to Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation to fund lifesaving equipment for local heroes becomes greater. A portion of every purchase at any Firehouse Subs in the U.S. benefits the foundation.
"Earlier this year, the Foundation granted $18,954 to the Cape Coral Police Department to buy a utility terrain vehicle and accessories in an effort to enhance rescue capabilities for emergency calls in remote areas," Redolphy said. "I look forward to making an even bigger impact with our new restaurant opening."
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has also granted more than $409,000 to local heroes in the greater Fort Myers-Naples area, including Cape Coral Police Department, Cape Coral Fire Department and Lee County Sheriff's Office.
As for when the sub shop officially opens, patrons can expect to stop in and order their favorite subs (Redolphy's personal favorite is the Firehouse Italian loaded with Captain Sorensen’s Datil Pepper Sauce and plenty of hot peppers) while taking in the restaurant décor reflecting first responders with gear and photos donated by local fire departments.
It will also boast a custom, hand-painted mural by mural artist Joe Puskas, featuring a Cape Coral Fire Department truck and Cape Coral Police Department police cruiser. Redolphy's family and two dogs, Moose and Sammy, as well as his wife Lisa and 10-year-old daughter Grace will also be featured.
Opening up on Nov. 15, Mission BBQ joined the community, announcing this new Cape Coral location as the franchise's 20th location in the state.
Originating in Maryland, owners Steve Newton and Bill Kraus started their mission on Sept. 11, 2011, "Ten years after our world changed forever," their website declares. They went on a journey across the nation, "from Texas to Kansas City, the Carolinas to St. Louis, to discover the secrets of great BBQ."
Located at 1519 NE Pine Island Road, the fast causal restaurant's mission is to honor local soldiers, firefighters, police officers and first responders while serving authentic BBQ options. To further this message, staff members pause at noon every day to stand and recite “The Star-Spangled Banner” national anthem.
PJ's New Orleans
PJ’s Coffee in Cape Coral is the next franchise to join the Cape Coral Commons plaza, located in Cape Coral.
The News-Press was not able to confirm an opening date.
Originating in News Orleans, PJ's Coffee promises a portfolio of hot drinks, organic tea and also iced or frozen beverages made with our original cold brew, their website says. The PJ's Coffee in Cape Coral website also declares itself a future pastry destination, offering freshly baked pastries daily.
Located at 1851 NE Pine Island Road, Longhorn Steakhouse is one of the newest businesses to make itself at home within the Cape Coral community.
The steakhouse is housed in a former Ruby Tuesday's in the Northpoint shopping center on 1811 Pine Island Road next to BJ's Wholesale Club. The building was sold for $2 million in July 2021 and was refurbished to create the new restaurant.
Longhorn Steakhouse's website writes that residents will experience expertly "grilled steak uniquely seasoned in our secret signature spice blend, ice-cold beer and beverages, freshly baked honey wheat bread, hand-chopped salads, seasonal sides, and signature desserts" at the Cape Coral location.
Fort Myers News-Press
4020 Del Prado Blvd S. Unit B3 Cape Coral, FL 33904