Cape Coral offers many unique dining experiences using homemade and fresh products for its residents at affordable prices.
Among the long-tenured, Paesano's Italian Fresh Market, recently celebrated its 27th anniversary, having expanded from a little store in a strip mall before it became the 17,000-square-foot structure at 862 Lafayette St. in downtown Cape Coral in which it is housed today.
Chris Wakeman, general manager of the supermarket and cafe, said he wants to thank the community for supporting them over the years.
Carol Orr Hartman
Employees Yeny Bravo; Anita Wakeman and son to be, Sebastian; General Manager Chris Wakeman (formerly executive chef of Flemings in Coral Gables); and Sandy Blackburn are some of the reasons that Paesano’s has such a loyal following of shoppers.
"We plan to stick around for another 27 years, passing savings on to them," he said of the customers. "We are constantly looking to increase customer service and continue to be your neighborhood store for quality products, all at a great price."
Paesano's is a specialty supermarket with an outdoor cafe, full service butcher shop serving fresh pork, chicken, veal, domestic lamb and certified angus beef, full-service deli consisting of any slice of meat and cheese desired, produce market and wine and beer.
"If you like high-end cheese, we have it, and have it affordably priced," Wakeman said.
He said they recently finished updates to the inside of their building, as well as added some decor and new shelving systems that allowed them to triple the amount of goods they can display.
"The more goods we display, the more opportunities we have at sales," he said.
In addition, they expanded their produce market, their certified angus beef supply and cheese selection to include more rare and imported cheeses.
The wine inventory also doubled, Wakeman said of the $10 bottles and under.
A chef was also added to their cafe kitchen.
Wakeman said they offer their customers cooked gourmet meals that only need to be reheated, as well as ready-to-bake meals in a special case. Stuffed chicken, manicotti, lasagna, homemade sausage and stuffed steaks are among the meal offerings.
The cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day but Sunday, offering sit down service, as well as a quick and easy to go window. The market is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"The gourmet meals that we produce in the butcher shop and in the kitchen are available in the cafe," he said.
A popular menu item, which was introduced a month ago, is their hamburger blend of three different types of fresh steak in an 8-ounce portion served on a sesame bun with french fries for $4.99.
"It slowly became a signature dish," he said. That, then, influenced their decision to make the blend available in their store as well.
Wakeman said they also serve a 20-ounce ribeye steak, baked potato and salad for $13.99.
We are putting "a world class meal in front of you for less than anyone in town," he said.
The cafe offers daily and weekly specials, as does the fresh market. Their website is paesanositalianmarket.com
Among the newer cafe options is Sip and Send.
Jonette Kessack, Sip and Send owner, said they opened a cafe in their establishment at 2517 Santa Barbara Blvd. about six weeks ago. One of their specialties is pressed sandwiches.
The quaint cafe includes a mural painted by a local artist, depicting a scene from either Venus or New Orleans. Kessack said the location depends on an individual's imagination of where they want it to take them. In addition, there also is local artwork located throughout the cafe; 10 artists have their work on display at any one time in the store.
Patrons can either order their sandwich to go or sit down in the cafe and enjoy their meal.
Customers can chose any type of pressed sandwich they prefer for breakfast using their choice of egg, meat and cheese. The meat options include sausage or turkey sausage, roasted pork, ham, turkey and bacon. Kessack said they also offer egg whites and such bread choices as Cuban, gluten free, whole grain and rye.
Coffee, fresh fruit and yogurt platters, as well as fresh fruit smoothies, are also on the menu.
Although the Cuban pressed sandwich is their lunch specialty, Kessack said they also offer a meatloaf sandwich press. Diners can also create their own sandwich using roasted pork, ham, turkey and cheese for lunch.
In addition to their pressed sandwiches, the traditional chef salad and Caesar salad with either chicken or shrimp can also be ordered. During season, they will offer more specialty salads.
The cafe is unique, she said, because customers can come in, purchase a card from the store, sit down and enjoy some lunch while filling it out before mailing it off before leaving Sip and Send. In addition, since they are a wine store, patrons can purchase a bottle of wine, pay a retail price for it, and enjoy it during lunch.
A fresh gourmet cheese and fruit platter also is among the choices for those who are sipping their wine while eating lunch. Fresh baked goods that are made on premise round out the offerings.
The cafe seats 10 people and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday; and closed on Sunday. Kessack said they also offer private parties in the evening for more than 10 people. Their web site is sipandsend.com .
A Cape Coral couple, who has spent many years in the restaurant business, purchased Paradise Deli and Market at 2378 Surfside Blvd. in the Shops at Surfside in January.
Glee Ann Agius said they were ready to get back into the restaurant business after taking some time away for awhile.
"We decided we wanted to do this," she said, adding that they live nearby. "This type of restaurant fits our lifestyle."
The chefs, Todd Sheffield and Glee Ann's husband, Chris, have many years of restaurant experience.
"We have a couple of chefs here that are really creative, and they have a great creative flare," Glee Ann Agius said. "They do a phenomenal job."
She believes they stand out because they use fresh items and create dishes from scratch. They use as much local produce as they can, as well as purchase breads from a local bakery.
"We use a lot of fresh items, and it makes a big difference," Agius said. "Fresh is the key."
Paradise Deli and Market is a full-service restaurant, with 14 tables, that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also have deli cases with Boar's Head meats and homemade cutting edge salads, such as the Jamaican Thanksgiving salad, curried chicken pasta salad and East meets West.
"We have lots of really great salads that are really popular with the locals around here," Agius said.
She said shoppers can come in and buy Boar's Head meats, homemade desserts and salads to takeout or dine in the restaurant where a server will take their order.
Their breakfast menu contains such popular items as their eggs Benedict and croissant French toast. Agius said the croissant is dipped in egg and put on the grill and topped with grilled bananas and whipped cream.
"That is out of this world," she said.
Other popular items for lunch and dinner include their homemade corned beef hash, jammin' jerk chicken, honey chipotle salmon, homemade meatloaf, Big New Yorker and an 8-ounce angus burger.
"We have a big selection of food," she said. "We do a lot of healthy choices and high protein."
The restaurant also runs specials every day, which includes two homemade soups. Beer and wine are also available.
Glee Ann said every Wednesday night they have a taco night, which includes menu items such things quesadillas, loaded nachos, homemade chips with salsa and guacamole.
"It's very busy on taco night," she said. "It is a fun night."
Paradise Deli and Market is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday. To view their menu visit www.paradisedelicc.com.