Cape Coral offers a variety of specialty food choices, including Italian, German and Indian cuisine, as well as fresh seafood. Among the specialty shops and markets :
Germerican Bakery and Coffee Club
Germerican Bakery and Coffee Club manager Petra Demko said they opened their location, 1232 Cape Coral Parkway E., in February of this year, after the owners visited Southwest Florida a few years earlier. After they purchased their vacation home, they realized that there was no German bakery of the type they envisioned in Cape Coral.
"They wanted to have a little more connection to home, and that's why they decided that it would be nice to have a coffee club where people could come in and relax and enjoy some pastries," Demko said. "People in Germany go to coffee houses for an early afternoon coffee between 1 and 3 p.m., and have a piece of cake."
Germerican offers German breads, either dark rye or multi-grain, crunchy German rolls, pretzels and pretzel rolls, sunflower seed rolls, poppy seed rolls and homemade cherry and strawberry cakes. Demko said they sell out of the pretzels and pretzel rolls almost every day.
"We are really, basically, a bakery store, so you can buy different pastries," Demko said.
Other offerings include cherry croissants, butter croissants and spinach pastries.
Along with tasty treats and sweet confections, breakfast and lunch are also served at Germerican. The breakfast menu includes breakfast sandwiches, a variety of crepes and waffles with fruit toppings. For lunch try a fresh sandwich, bratwurst with homemade potato salad and German gulch soup.
The club recently began offering a cafe happy hour every day between 1 and 3 p.m., where customers can come in and enjoy a piece of cake and cup of coffee for $3.99.
"The word is spreading. It gets better and better," Demko said of the popularity of their new happy hour.
She said they have a group that comes and plays bridge in the afternoon.
"It is a very relaxing environment," Demko said. "A lot of businesses come in for lunch because we offer free WiFi."
On Saturday and Sunday, Germerican has a breakfast buffet with an egg station, fresh fruit, bacon and fresh rolls. The buffet, offered for $10, also includes coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Everything offered at Germerican is made from scratch and the staff is bilingual.
Germerican Bakery and Coffee Club is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information call 239-257-3094.
Paesano's Italian Fresh Market
Paesano's Italian Fresh Market has been in Cape Coral since 1986. Owner Jerry Furio said he and his family used to vacation in Cape Coral from Chicago, where he owned the same business.
Once he saw the difference in people, traffic and weather in the city to the south, he found his new paradise and decided to make it his home, at 862 Lafayette St., downtown Cape Coral.
The Italian-American market offers a vast variety of Italian items that are not usually found in Southwest Florida shops.
"From Sarasota all the way to Naples, there is no place like my place," he said. "The atmosphere, the quality, the prices: I make sure it is all there."
In addition to the specialty products, the market has been selling certified Angus beef that comes from a licensed distributor in Ocala for the past 15 years.
"It took a long time to get it, but it was worth it and people appreciate it," he said of the Angus beef. "It melts in your mouth. The marbling is unbelievable."
He said Angus beef is right underneath Kobe beef, which runs for about $80 a pound.
"I buy in volume to reduce the price," he said. "I order volume fresh and it goes right out. The next week is another ball game."
The Italian market also offers a full line of Thumann's deli products, a natural product with no MSG. A variety of imported and domestic cheeses, as well as imported meat cuts from Poland, Italy and Hungary, are also available.
In addition, a variety of self-serve, heat-and- serve types of dinners are prepared every day. Furio said it's a great option for those who have no time to cook.
"Just grab the dinner, go home and microwave it or put it in the oven," he said.
Some of the options include lasagna, eggplant, stuffed cabbage, stuffed chicken breast, pinwheels and roasts.
Fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables are offered at Paesano's market, as well as homemade desserts, imported and domestic wines, olive oils and pasta products from Italy - and a frozen fish section that is mostly comprised, of 75 percent, ocean wild caught fish.
For those looking to dine al fresco, the market has an outdoor patio that serves lunch every day at a reasonable price.
Paesano's Italian Market hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sundays. For more information, visit PaesanosItalianMarket.com or call 239-549-7799.
Moti Mahal Indian Store
A new store recently opened in Cape Coral, at 1830 Del Prado Blvd. S., offering a variety of items from India. Moti Mahal Indian Store owner Kamaljit Uttam moved from India to the U.S. six years ago and decided to open a store in Cape Coral March 28. He said Moti Mahal means "pearl house."
"In an ocean, there are too many pearls, but very few that are really white and clear and good ones that you choose to make jewelry," he explained. "We are picking the best of the best from everywhere and making it as a pearl house that we are giving our customers. They don't have to shop around and go somewhere else. Whatever their needs are, they are going to get it in one place."
The store features items such as home decorations and accessories, cuisine, specialty drinks, clothing, DVDs and skincare products - and huge variety of specialty foods.
Uttam has more than 700 food items available including spices, rice, flowers, vegetables, sweets and ready-to-eat meals. He said they have all the ingredients an individual needs to cook an entire meal for themselves.
The store is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, Moti-Mahal.com or call 239-424-8348.
A family from Long Island, N.Y., decided to open a market in Cape Coral in 1991 to provide a variety of seafood for its customers. Kerry and Patrick Kreg are the owners of Merrick Seafood, 1229 S.E. 47th Terrace, and now have a market, restaurant and tremendous warehouse.
Merrick Seafood has five trucks that deliver to more than 250 restaurants throughout Southwest Florida.
She said as a local wholesaler, they have the buying power to keep prices down for their customers.
The market offers more than 70 "We Make You Bake" meals with baking instructions, live Maine lobsters of all sizes, mussels, clams and oysters - and more than 25 different types of fish.
"We have a lot of seafood that you wouldn't find any place but here," she said.
Merrick staff makes all of their prepared meals on-site, including specialties like crab-stuffed grouper, sesame tuna, pistachio salmon and homemade crab cakes.
They carry northern fish brought in from Maine, a variety from the west coast, oysters from Hawaii, and - of course - the local favorite, grouper.
Kerry said they carry frozen items that are typically not found in the grocery store, like white tuna, softshell crabs, frog legs and alligator meat.
Hot, homemade soups, including seafood chowder, lobster bisque, Manhattan clam chowder and an all-seafood soup with shrimp, grouper and clams, are also available.
They go through 80 gallons of lobster bisque and seafood chowder each and every week.
The market also has a full selection of salads.
"It's pretty much a one-stop shop," Kerry said. "We move pretty quickly through most of the items in our market. We try to switch it up daily."
Fish Tale Grill, Merrick Seafood's restaurant, opened a year ago.
In addition to its lux dine-in dining room, there is a large patio out front on the deck with tables and chairs for those who wish eat outside.
The menu at the restaurant, offering mostly seafood, also carries a few non-seafood items.
Merrick Seafood is open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday. Fish Tale Grill is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For further information on the market or the restaurant, visit MerrickSeafood.com, FishTaleGrill.com or call 239-257-3167.