FGCU alumnus opens Wally’s Deli in Fort Myers
“They have all day breakfast,” the girl in my IDS course pitched to her nearby friend. And, I was sold.
After class, I pulled into the packed parking lot and got out in the rain, finding the new storefront, to my dismay, to have been closed for a half hour already. So, be warned, if you’re going to check out Wally’s Deli, do so before 4 p.m.
It’s an early shut, I realize, but it’s well worth driving the 10 minutes from campus to the restaurant, which is housed in the same lot as the A1 Discount Convenience Store off Alico Road.
Wally Crane, a Connecticut native, is an alumnus of the Lutgert College of Business at FGCU. Crane says the inspiration behind Wally’s came from him missing the old mom and pop shops up north where one could get a hot breakfast sandwich before work or a cold sub for lunch.
Evidently, I had to go back. By the time I finally found the time to stop by again though, I had drooled over many a picture on the restaurant’s Instagram and Facebook. Based on social media alone — special thanks to the FGCU Fishing Club’s infatuation with Wally’s — I knew I had to try the Yolo. The Yolo is one of the restaurant’s three comfort subs and comes packed with chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese, bacon and jalapenos.
“I can feel the heart attack coming,” I commented aloud to my companion after taking my second bite of the sandwich. It was definitely heart-attack inducing, but in the best possible way.
The chicken was tender and had a decent breading to meat ratio. The mac and cheese was gooey and plentiful, the bacon crispy as can be. My one complaint, which comes as much a surprise to me, was the lack of jalapeno punch I was expecting. I’m not a huge fan of the heat, but with only a couple slices of the pepper throughout, it could’ve used a couple more to cut some of the heavy carbs on carbs on carbs feeling.
On its website, Wally’s claims to be “a place you could cure your hangover after a fun night, or a place to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions to stay healthy.”
As I’ve waited in the long line of FGCU students twice now, I’ve noticed people doing a bit of both — a Dr. Detox salad here, a Hangover there. At its low price point — set at under $10 for a meal and a drink — and proximity to campus, I could see myself venturing out for something on the healthier side too when in the mood.
But, on my second trip, I had to do right by my constituents and get the Glazed & Confused. As I waited at one of the side tables — next to the bright green Wally’s mural, facing the chalkboard menu and wall of license plates in the back of the shop and under the many Dunk City posters and basketball schedules pinned to the wall — I noticed a tie-dye tank amongst the Wally’s merchandise, proudly proclaiming, “I got glazed and confused at Wally’s Deli.”
“Rachel?” The girl behind the counter called, leaning over to hand me the foil-wrapped package with a smile.
I opened the gift carefully — the smell of fried eggs, bacon and sugar wafting up immediately. The sandwich, which utilizes a glazed doughnut as a bun, was surprisingly not as monstrous as I had envisioned from deceiving social media posts. I was anything but disappointed by this, as it was certainly filling, without the added “I regret everything” that comes with a larger size. Besides, I choose quality over quantity any day, and this sandwich was good. Great, even, but I almost don’t want to admit that if it means the lines will grow longer and keep me from ordering this sandwich.
First off, the doughnut is high quality. If it’s not Krispy Kreme, it surely is of comparable quality.
Then, we get to the egg. I’m not a huge fan of over easy fried eggs, especially for their messiness in an already sticky situation, so I’m happy to report, these eggs were the perfect medium — soft, but not runny.
Finally, the glue that held this combination together, the bacon. Crispy and evenly crunchy throughout, the succulent slices took this sandwich to the next level of guilt. Yet, I have no shame.
If you can’t make it to Wally’s sometime soon, check out its social media profiles to keep track of the events it caters on campus, which can be anything from Fishing Club’s tailgates before basketball games to women’s softball’s events.