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Henry Ford is still driving the economy

The third Ford’s Garage in Southwest Florida’s opened Monday in the Miromar Outlets, bringing burgers, beer and two classic Model A’s to Estero.

In 1885, the Fort Myers area caught the attention of inventor Thomas Edison, who built and completed a vacation home on what is now McGregor Boulevard.

Henry Ford was the founder of Ford Motor Company and creator of the first auto assembly line. Around 1916, he bought land in Fort Myers to build a winter home on the adjoining property next to his good friend, Edison.

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates are located just minutes away from the original Ford’s Garage in downtown Fort Myers, which was the inspiration for all the restaurants’ theme and decor.

The theme of Henry Ford is carried throughout the restaurant down to the old gas pumps used as door handles and the blue, mechanic-style uniform that all of the servers wear.

“Our restaurant has a vibe of an old, small-town barn that has been converted into a 1920’s service station by day, and by night we moonlight as a bootleg moonshine prohibition bar,” said Sarah Sellers, general manager of the new location. “We have historic pictures on the walls and sayings, we have Model A’s inside the restaurant, as well as Model A trucks outside. We’ve definitely decorated to celebrate who he was.”

Ford’s serves 26 draft beers, more than 190 bottled beers and is known for its prime burgers. Unique to the Estero location, Ford’s has named many of its burgers after familiar people around the Florida Gulf Coast University campus.

“We really wanted to celebrate how close we are to the campus. We know that the majority of our business will be coming from faculty and students, so we’re excited and want to make sure that we represent that,” Sellers said.

Ford’s will be open from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. seven days a week. “We’ll be serving a late night menu until 1:30am, we figured that with the college being so close we can definitely capitalize on the fact that students won’t want a restaurant that closes at 10 o’clock,” said Seller. Ford’s will not be offering student discounts, but they will have food and drink specials every night of the week.

Last weekend, Ford’s held a soft opening for family and friends that included a VIP night on Sunday. Each night the Miromar Outlets location was packed wall to wall. If the weekend was any indication, it seems the community is excited to have this symbolic Southwest Florida restaurant close to campus.

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