After 10 years of ownership, Shawn LeMarie and Bob Rommel have sold Bayfront Bistro restaurant behind the Publix on Estero Boulevard. The restaurant, under new ownership, will be converted to Fresh Catch Bistro upstairs and Junkanoo downstairs.
Bayfront Bistro was the first restaurant to open after Hurricane Ian came through town. A lot of work went into getting the location open so quickly. Over 15 feet of water swept through the lower level. LeMarie said, “We really put our hearts into getting the restaurant back up after the hurricane.”
The building that was home to Fresh Catch and Junkanoo, on the beach side of Estero Boulevard, was totally destroyed in the storm. Franco Russo owns the two popular restaurants. “I wanted to do this for all of our employees that love working at Junkanoo and Fresh Catch and for all of our customers that love dining with us. I know these restaurants mean a lot to so many people. Also, when my father passed away 7 years ago, it was important for me to continue his legacy which is why I extended the lease at the old location 15 years at the time of his passing. His legacy was one of the factors in the decision to purchase Bayfront Bistro.”
The sale price was not announced by either side and LeMarie says the restaurant was not up for sale but Russo was persistent and made an offer he and Rommel felt they could not refuse. LeMarie also owns another restaurant in New Jersey.
Russo’s father Alfredo and his business partner came to Fort Myers Beach over 30 years ago and purchased what was then The Pelican. The Pelican turned into Skippers Galley, Beach Light Grill and then Junkanoo. They built Anthony’s next door and that turned into Fresh Catch Bistro.
Russo says he’s hopeful he can get Junknaoo open by the end of this week. “We need a few things to fall into place first. Fresh Catch is going to take a bit longer. We’ll update our Facebook pages as we know more. We’d like everyone to know we’re going to be bringing what everyone loved about Junkanoo and Fresh Catch to this new location. We are excited to be able to continue to call Fort Myers Beach our home.
Russo says for the most part the menus will stay the same with some tweaks here and there.