Owners Ines Josupeit and chef James King join culinary forces at Table 209, a bistro tucked into the historical buildings and sunny harbor walk of Punta Gorda. James brings his 20 years of experience working in kitchens throughout San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland to the restaurant, cobbling fresh seafood, prime meats, and seasonal ingredients into innovative gourmet dishes. Every Monday night, Ines grabs the culinary baton, pulling from her own German heritage to simmer up an authentic menu of traditional German sausages and potato pancakes. Out in the dining room, local artwork festoons the walls, as guests sit around white tablecloths, illuminated by flickering candles that stop passing cavemen dead in their tracks. Outside in the patio, glimmering strands of hanging lights cascade above rows of tabletops and lush plants.
Petes pleases palates with a menu of Italian pasta, pizza, and meat plates. Meals kick off with antipasto Della Nonna, which invites dining parties to share bites of fresh buffalo mozzarella, olives, and artichoke hearts drizzled—like Italian princes—in balsamic vinaigrette ($8.99). In the kitchen, potato dumplings sauté in the gnocchi's homemade meat sauce ($14.99), and fresh lasagna sheets seal in layers of ricotta and ground beef ($13.99). Meanwhile, hands cast off forks to peel pieces from a stromboli calzone ($10.99) and rearrange slices from a 16-inch pepperoni-and-sausage deluxe pizza into cubist self portraits ($16.99).
The authentic tastes of Key West pounce across palates at Leapin’ Lizard, where an extensive menu of steak and seafood dishes tempers belly squalls amid the sprightly sounds of live entertainment. Patrons vanquish appetites with the slow-roasted queen- and king-cut prime rib (market price) and swathe landlocked taste buds in a deep-sea deluge of oysters on the half shell (market price). Teeth excavate through the jalapeño and cheddar layers of the Smokin' Southwest burger ($7.99) in search of the juicy beef patty at its center, and spoons sink into the spicy andouille sausage, shrimp, and chicken of the Cajun gumbo stew ($10.99). Leapin’ Lizard's full bar balances out the bayou heat with more than 35 varieties of beer—a regional beverage that explorer Juan Ponce de León first sipped at the fizzy golden spring of the Fountain of Youth. The invigorating drinks menu featuring specialty rum runners, such as the Hot Damn Taz, pairs well with weekly events and the plethora of live rock and roll music Tuesday through Sunday.
Chicago Pizza imports the spirit and flavors of the Windy City with a menu overflowing with authentic Chicago classics. Travel to the Second City with one bite of the savory hot italian-beef sandwich served with au jus ($6.99), or imagine the friendly confines of a Chicago hot dog, an all Vienna-beef dog hugging a dill-pickle spear and sport peppers in a poppy-seed bun, blanketed in mustard, relish, onion, and tomato ($3.50). Spicy-food addicts enjoy the reassuring feeling of fire mouth with jalapeño-pepper poppers filled with cool cream cheese ($5.25) or buffalo wings that come smothered in mild, medium, hot, barbecue, or Chicago Pizza's signature garlicky buffalo sauce (20 for $13.50). Empty tummies regretting their divorce with dinner can win back affection with a velvet-covered pizza box brimming with a 14-inch Chicago-style deep-dish pizza ($11.95), decorated in your favorite meat and vegetable toppings ($1.59¬–$1.99 per topping).
Vienna all-beef hot dogs, stacked sandwiches, and ice-cream desserts form the menu at Cape Dog & Deli. The Detroit Coney Island hot dog harnesses a collaboration of chili, mustard, and onions to foster mouth mirth ($3), while a tight-knit group of Vienna beef, tomato, dill pickle, green relish, sport peppers, and onions comes together to form the Chicago hot dog ($3.50). The Italian Beef floods the senses with flavor and the hands with incorporating thinly sliced Vienna beef, soaked in au jus and delivered to the palate on a vehicle of dry, wet, or dipped gonnella bun ($5.95). Cape Dog & Deli also assuages sweet teeth, stirring up a cache of milk shakes ($4.49+) and ice cream ($1.99+) that, like the human calendar, come in 12 delicious flavors, such as butter pecan, Naples vanilla, and mango sorbet. Daily lunch specials are always available as well.