Outside The Edison Restaurant & Bar, a circular fountain and a thriving, vibrant lawn invite diners to step up to a white-shingled edifice that looks as much like a home as a restaurant. Inside, black brick walls, black-and-white portraiture, and a finished-wood piano bespeak the eatery's elegant yet unpretentious air. Executive chef Stuart Gordon, who has spent time in the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and Barbados, utilizes years of experience in top restaurants to craft full-flavored dishes. Six dining areas, each with their own ambiance, accommodate private meetings and parties. In the aptly named Chandelier Bar, sports fans can cheer for their team with pints in hand and charbroiled cheeseburger in mouth. And on the terrace bar, patrons can peer across to the Fort Myers Country Club and admire its flourishing palm trees and well-maintained missile defense system.
The aroma of cigars hits you as you walk into the spacious humidor. Boxes line the walls, filled with everything from Ashtons to Gurkhas and Don Pepin Garcias. This humidor is the handy work of Rich Castiano, who grew up watching his father Sal enjoy a good smoke. To share his love of cigars with others, Rich established the World Famous Cigar Bar and stocked it with the finest stogies around. He even created his own special blend in honor of Sal—the 1929 Castiano, a box-pressed cigar featuring Nicaraguan filler, a Jalapa binder, and an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper.
A delicious ritual unfolds every morning at Starz Italian Restaurant & Pub's two Fort Myers locations. Chefs arrive in the kitchen, assemble their ingredients, and make the day's supply of pizza dough from scratch. Their work begins long before this, however, since they travel to local markets to pick out fresh produce and mock the sun for taking so long to rise. By the time lunch rolls around, chefs are busy chopping up fresh ingredients and assembling signature pizzas, which owner Dave Virginia describes as "super delicious" in a video introducing himself. (He took over in September 2013.)
After laying a base of pizza sauce (also made from scratch), the chefs pile on toppings such as blue cheese and buffalo chicken tenders or the Starz Deluxe's combination of sausage, pepperoni, and onion. Then, the pie bakes until it reaches one of four set levels: lightly baked, regular, crispy, or well done. Homemade sauce also forms the foundation for many of the menu's other dishes, such as the signature marinara covering cheesy bread, ravioli, or baked parmigiana. There are just two things necessary to complete the meal: a slice of Starz's cheesecake and a drink from the full-service bar.
Owner and Chef Tony Newton keeps bellies filled sun-up to sundown with classic American fare, from omelets and waffles to sandwiches, steaks, and pasta. Located near Vanderbilt Beach, Fred’s Food, Fun & Spirits fuels patrons for a day of sandcastle-stomping by cooking a bottomless breakfast buffet as fresh as the alphabet’s 27th letter. A dog-friendly outdoor patio, meanwhile, conveniently allows diners and their best four-legged friends to hang out while patrons nosh on one of the day’s three most important meals. The patio and two full bars also entertain patrons with nightly events, including musical acts, poker, comedy, and Fourier analysis competitions.
5 Brothers specializes in gourmet and specialty pizzas alongside Italian-style subs, wraps, salads, and more. Unfold a menu and an order of garlic knots ($3.50 for six; $5.50 for a dozen) with your tongue to start off a meal. Pizza options range from a single slice (cheese, $2.25 each; combo, $3 each) to 18" pies. Sink your teeth into the gooey goodness of a five-cheese white pizza ($14.95–$18.75), a specialty buffalo chicken ($16.75–$20.75), or the immensely popular Sicilian Supreme ($16.75–$20.75). The stuffed pizza ($16.75–$20.75) comes crammed with mozzarella, spinach, red peppers, meatballs, pepperoni, and roasted garlic and is sprinkled with 5 Brothers' specialty blend of herbs and spices. For the greener eaters, 5 Brothers dishes up seven specialty salads, such as the beach salad, romaine lettuce tossed with turkey, tomatoes, onions, cranberries, and feta (small, $7.25).
Bowland Centers specialize in family entertainment, boasting multiple lanes and modern scoring systems that add a degree of leisure to any frame. Lanes are equipped with kid-friendly pop-up bumpers and spacious seating areas—the prime place to lace up a fresh pair of shoes ($3.25 per pair). Play game by game ($4.25 per game) or rent a lane by the hour ($16 before 6 p.m., $20 after 6 p.m.) while taking in the symphony of pin-knocks and hand-fives. En route to the semi-perfect game, guests can also stop by Nemo's Sports Cafe, which features ample amounts of eats and drinks, big screens televisions, and people who know your name, because you typed it up on the scoreboard.