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Cape Coral Living Magazine

Healthy Holes-in-the-Wall: Small Restaurants That Make Big and Tasty Impressions

Hole-in-the-wall restaurants—you know the ones that are a little smaller and a little more off the beaten path—used to be known as places to get a greasy burger or a fried ham sandwich. These days? No so. As more people are rethinking what they are eating, and are looking for healthier fare, the trend at all types of restaurants is local, healthy, organic, vegetarian and vegan. Here are three small restaurants that serve delicious fare: 

Cafe YOU

Tucked back in an industrial park off SE 10th Street in Cape Coral lies a little gem of a place that you might not expect to find there, but somehow fits in perfectly. It’s Café YOU, a cozy, eclectic, shabby-chic café with indoor and outdoor dining. 

Café YOU offers a healthy, tasty breakfast and lunch menus with gluten-free and vegan options available, as well as authentic espresso coffees and freshly made bread. Its “Avocado Smash” is a top seller because it is the perfect comfort food for any time of the day. 

“We smash half a ripe avocado and some feta cheese onto toast [of your choice], season it with salt, pepper, tahini and chili flakes [optional], then give it a splash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon,” says owner Marlies Laaper, who is originally from Sydney. And every month, Café YOU offers several fine-dining experiences, including six-course tasting dinners and wine dinners.

Island Way Cafe

This great little casual café is located just due north of the four-way stop on Pine Island, on the left side of Stringfellow Road. Its breakfast and lunch menus offer everything from fresh smoothies and juices to quiche of the day—and “Thai Chicken Wraps” that are “to die for”!

“I strive to use local ingredients,” explains Neil Dundas, who is the restaurant’s owner and its chef. As an example, Dundas notes that the greens he uses are grown just a couple miles down the road from his establishment. 

Indoor seating and an outside patio are available, as well as to-go orders. What’s also fun about Island Way Café is that you can purchase a variety of fresh produce that is offered in bins.

The Sanibel Sprout

Vegetarian and vegan whole foods; plant-based innovative cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, organic, non-GMO ingredients; and American and ethnic are all of the ways to best describe the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus at The Sanibel Sprout. This casual and comfortable spot, located on Periwinkle Way at Bailey’s Shopping Center on Sanibel Island, emphasizes not only healthy eating, but also a healthy lifestyle.

That’s why—along with menu items such as the “Portabella Paradise” vegan burger, Japanese Brussels sprouts, and delicious juices, smoothies and desserts—there is a great collection of items to purchase. These include unique home goods, lovely fragrances, and vitamins and minerals.

It all takes place in a “community-based environment” in which guests become friends. “I believe passionately in the power of careful eating and mindful nutrition to transform our health, mood and create optimal lifestyles,” says Nikki Rood, The Sanibel Sprout’s owner and executive chef.


Cafe YOU

1423 SE 10th St., Cape Coral

Island Way Cafe

10731 Stringfellow Road, Suite 1

The Sanibel Sprout

Bailey's Shopping Center
2463 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island

Written by Ann Marie O’Phelan, a Southwest Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media.