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Cheap eats off campus

Local restaurants lend variety to dining options

FGCU’s dining options are wildly convenient, but after a couple weeks of exhausting their menus options, they become dull and tiring.

Big names like Chick-fil-A, Subway and Einstein’s are dollar savers on campus, but your daily diet should become adventurous every now and then, while still being mildly inexpensive. Being exploratory with your dining options doesn’t mean driving to McDonald or Pollo Tropical either; it means trying a restaurant you’ve never been to before.

That’s easy considering new restaurants seem to just open over night in Fort Myers.

New restaurants Culver’s

This Wisconsin-based chain opened in the Gulf Coast Town Center in early December, bringing ButterBurgers (Culver’s signature hamburgers with butter-toasted buns) and daily homemade frozen custard to FGCU students. This restaurant isn’t for the health-conscious, but it makes for much-needed stress relief after a long day of classes. Not to mention, its drive-through has extended hours on the weekends.

Address: 10050 University Plaza Drive, Fort Myers
Hours: Everyday 10 a.m.-11 p.m.,
Thursday- Saturday extended drivethrough until 1 a.m.

Burger21

Another restaurant new to the Gulf Coast Town Center is Burger21. This futuristic burger joint fuses traditional and not-so-traditional burgers in an ultramodern setting. As you walk in,
diners have the option to wash their hands in its “B-clean” sink, or make your way forward in line to order off the menu. Burger21’s menu ranges from the basics to the extreme, offering their burger 101, a traditional hamburger on a brioche bun, to its ahi tuna burger, an ahi tuna steak lightly fried and topped with avocados, pickled cucumber, Sriracha, and caramel soy sauce, all on a sesame bun. Diners also have the option of ordering regular or sweet potato fries accompanied by an array of dippable sauces, including apple cider and toasted marshmallow Thai ketchup.

Address: 9902 Gulf Coast Main Street,
D150, Fort Myers
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. –10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

One of a kind Taco Viva
If you’re craving dirt cheap Mexican food and tired of the Taco Bell on campus, then Taco Viva will satisfy your palate. Chicken tacos are $1.09 and beef burritos start at $1.29. There’s a reason why Taco Viva has repeat customers. You may want to opt to grabbing your meal via the drivethrough. The restaurant isn’t the most sanitary place out there. All in all, this hole in the wall makes for a great dining adventure with your roommates.

Address: 18911 S Tamiami Trail, Unit 24, Fort Myers
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m-10 p.m.

Restoratives Café

Unknown to many, Restoratives Café is a quaint family-owned-and-operated eatery, offering culinary inspired breakfast and lunch six days a week. Menu items range from a buffalo chicken salad roll, $5, to its house special, biscuits and gravy royal, $6. With their chef a graduate from the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in Orlando, they aim for great tasting food, while leaving your wallet dent free.

Address: 20461 S Tamiami Trail, Unit 20, Estero
Hours: Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Kate’s Kafe
Another family-owned-and-operated café in Estero is Kate’s Kafe. Notorious for great food and cozy couches, Kate’s offers the comfort of home while away at college. Grab their iconic cinnamon-swirled French toast with one of their six endless
coffee brews.

Address: 16960 Alico Mission Way, Fort Myers
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

About The Author

Aubrie Gerber

Aubrie Gerber is a senior studying journalism with a minor in marketing at FGCU and is the Entertainment and Lifestyle editor for Eagle News. She just completed a 9-month internship with the Taste section at The News-Press where she filmed, photographed and wrote about all things foodie related happening in Southwest Florida. When she isn’t reporting, this travelholic can be found at local farmers markets or venturing out of her way to taste the next best thing. (Follow Aubrie on Twitter: @AubrieGerber)

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