Our client April’s Pie Company is in the news again – featured among several other area restaurants in this week’s Southwest Florida News-Press publication. Chef & owner Axel Rios-Bonilla and his team continue to wow local residents with their sensational “Pie Bites.” Way to go, everyone!
News-Press.com – Fort Myers | SW Florida
Dining notes: Owner revives Hut as series of venues
After transforming two other storied Buckingham buildings, local businessman Tommy Lee Cook is reopening The Hut as a series of dining rooms and bars.
Written by Annabelle Tometich
Tommy Lee Cook is breathing life into his beloved hometown of Buckingham one building at a time.
First it was the Buckingham Blues Bar, which, in 2003, Cook turned from a decrepit biker pit to a must-go locale for lovers of blues, country and rock. Then he took on The Flint House, a historic farmhouse he’s turning into a museum and one-room school.
But what Cook hopes will be his masterpiece is located between those two buildings, just off Buckingham Road.
Cook is reopening The Hut.
“The building was in such poor condition it was hard really for anyone to make a go of it,” said Cook, a contractor by trade who has been renovating the 10,000-square-foot, 250-plus seat space since he bought the 5-acre property for $660,000 in November.
“It was called The Hot Spot most recently, but we called it The Wet Spot – you’d go in like, ‘Don’t touch nothin’.’”
Cook’s goal is to make The Hut a local hot spot once more.
Gone is the decaying, thatched roofing and dark interior dining room. In its place are floor-to-ceiling picture windows, hand-painted murals of the Everglades and a maze of boardwalks connecting the four distinct dining areas to special smoking areas, bars and musical venues.
The Hut, which Cook hopes to open in the next 45 to 60 days, will be home to the Lean-To Lounge, an outdoor patio overlooking The Hut’s legendary waterfall; the Shanty, a more casual dining room serving sandwiches and burgers; The Shack Out Back, a bar that will serve bloody Marys and egg sandwiches to bikers and tourists out for weekend-morning drives; and, of course, The Hut, the restaurant’s main dining room, which will offer dry-aged steaks, local seafood and breads baked in-house by executive chef Mark Wilson and his team.
“It’s New American, but we’re trying to do things no one else is doing in our own unique way,” said Wilson, a longtime chef at the Marriott and other high-end hotels who met Cook as a patron of the Buckingham Blues Bar.
“We’re not going to have a freezer. The plan is to make everything … fresh.”
Cook said prices in the main dining room will range from about $12 up to $30-plus for some of the higher-end dishes.
Truly organic pizza
Claiming to be the country’s first and only 100 percent organic pizzeria, Truly Organic Pizza has opened at 1016 Immokalee Road, North Naples. The restaurant uses only ingredients certified organic by the USDA in its 12 signature pies, which range from Jason’s Special (mushroom, peas, smoked ham) to The Classic (organic dough topped with tomato sauce, sea salt and mozzarella).
“I had to go through a rigorous four-month process, a 300-page application, and hundreds of hours of preparation and USDA inspections,” owner Jason Chang, a Brooklyn native, said via email. “Although this process was grueling, it was worth all the hard work.”
Truly Organic Pizza is open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. Call 598-8888 or visit trulyorganicpizza.com.
April’s offers Pie Bites
Pie lovers no longer have to gorge themselves on entire wedges of this sweet treat to get their fix. April’s Pie Company in downtown Fort Myers is offering its famous fruit and cream pies in miniature form, as Pie Bites. Chef/owner Axel Rios-Bonilla, a Culinary Institute of America graduate who bought April’s with his wife, Carolina, last year, introduced the mini-pies earlier this year with flavors such as coconut cream, Key lime, white chocolate Oreo, apple crumb, strawberry rhubarb, chocolate s’mores and Reese’s peanut butter. April’s Pie Bites sell for $1.50 to $2 each. The restaurant and bakery is at 2269 First St. Call 337-4004 or visit aprilspiecompany.com.
Downtown Italy in downtown Fort Myers has closed. As of last week the restaurant at 2226 First St. was boarded up and empty. “The tenant was in default with the lease and was evicted,” said landlord Dominik Goertz. “We’re looking for someone new who will be the right fit for the space.”