Mornings With Gina Birch

Food at baseball stadiums has improved over the years. However, you might be craving something a little more substantial or with more variety either before or after the game. Regardless of whether you are visiting or are a local, it helps to know where to go within a short drive of the stadium parking lot. To help you make that all important dining decision, here are 8 places to eat near JetBlue Park in Fort Myers during Spring Training games this year. JetBlue is also known as Fenway South and is the home of the world famous Boston Red Sox.

When the Red Sox first brought their spring training program to Fort Myers, they played downtown at City of Palms Park. I loved that stadium. It was easy to navigate and was cozy if that is a word you can use for a stadium. It was also close to downtown dining. The team has since moved south to the massive JetBlue Park which is not exactly located in the hub of activity.

However, there are lots of great places to eat and drink that don’t take too much time and effort to find. All of these spots are locally owned and operated too. Some by longtime and well respected restaurateurs. I love supporting small businesses, the mom and pop restaurants that keep our  economy going and our bellies satisfied.

The majority of these are east of I-75, like the stadium. In addition, they are all within a five mile radius. There certainly are many options when it comes to pre and post game Red Sox fun. However, here are some local faves. Enjoy these 8 places to eat near JetBlue Park in Fort Myers during Spring Training games this year.

  • Boulevard Tavern & Deli

    This is a longtime favorite for people living in the Gateway community. It’s been open since 2008. Over the years, it has also become a favorite pitstop for spring training fans. You’ll find great sandwiches, pizzas and their signature wings. Want to eat something more healthful? There are a few options for that too. In addition, the Tavern serves breakfast if you want to eat a hearty meal before a 1:05 game. It’s a big place, casual, with lots of covered outside dining too.
    Click here for the menu and more.

  • Fine Folk Pizza

    The pies here are off the charts and award winning. The dough is hand tossed and the staff is known to put on a show with it. They will also give a ball of of it to kids so they can try tossing and shaping it too. The kitchen comes up with a new creative feature pizza each month and regulars flock to try them. Fine Folk is in a strip mall on Daniels just a couple of blocks west of the stadium.
    Click here for the menu and more.

  • Fat Katz Sports Bar

    This is a sports bar and bistro with a huge selection of gourmet burgers. Sandwiches are anything but ordinary with options like a Shrimp BLT and Soul Chicken with fried chicken, collard greens and more. Pierogis are made by hand and often run out. If they have them, try them. The brisket and pastrami are smoked in house. This is almost underneath I-75 on the south side of Daniels.
    Click here for the menu and more.

  • Skinny Dogz Brunchery

    This is the sister restaurant to Fat Katz and the menu is full of elevated comfort food. In the Gateway community, it also has a great, lake front view and feels homey. Check out the list of eggs benedicts that are served on homemade biscuits instead of English Muffins. They’ll put an egg on any sandwich or burger also so it’s always breakfast here. The meats are smoked in house and many of the dishes have a southern twist.
    Click here for the menu and more.

  • The Saucy Meatball

    These guys know Italian cuisine and they are not afraid to get creative and fun with it either. For instance, piling rigatoni pasta on a pizza for the Drunken Sicilian. The outdoor patio is popular and almost always has a breeze. They also have good happy hour. Check out the artwork inspired by the owners and their family. Find the restaurant on the main drive in the Gateway community.
    Click here for the menu and more.

    pizza pie with several slices missing. It is topped with rigatoni pasta

    Drunken Sicilian Pizza at The Saucy Meatball in Fort Myers

  • Backyard Social

    This is the newest addition to the dining and entertainment scene east of I-75. It’s about 5 miles south of the ball park off of Treeline, before you get to Gulf Coast Town Center where there are a dozen more dining options. Backyard Social is a food truck park that is bathed in stunning murals and has lots of games for the family. Most of the park is covered although it is still al fresco. There is a bar serving fun craft cocktails in the middle and the perimeter is lined with a variety of food trucks with something for every taste.
    Click here for menus and more.

  • Rock-n-Sushi

    You’ll have to look a little harder for this one in the Gateway community but it is worth the effort if you want Asian fare. They have a small sushi bar and serve both Japanese and Thai food. The Lobster Lollypops are a signature starter. In addition, there is a kids menu sans hotdogs and friend cheese sticks. You will also find a good selection of sake.
    Click here for the menu and more.

  • Artisan Eatery

    This is about 3 miles from the stadium and just west of the interstate in a shopping plaza facing Daniels Parkway. It’s small and causal with food prepared by a classically trained chef. For breakfast, try the truffle eggs benedict. For lunch you can’t go wrong with any of the soups, salads or sandwiches.
    Click here for the menu and more.

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