Popular Restaurant Submits Early Application to Rebuild


The Salty Crab on Estero Boulevard was totally destroyed by Hurricane Ian. The property on which the popular restaurant once sat is now being used by the Margaritaville developer to stage equipment and vehicles.

The owner of the Salty Crab property has now submitted a pre-application with the town to rebuild. A pre-application is the earliest of stages toward a build. The paperwork is submitted to town staff to get feedback from staff on a proposal. It allows a developer to make adjustments if needed before submitting a full-blown permit application to build. The property is located at 1154 Estero Boulevard immediately next to Margaritaville’s Lah De Dah bar and restaurant on the beach side of Estero.

Clownfish Restaurant Holdings owns the property and Salty Crab General Manager Bruce McElhone told us in November that, while they did hope to rebuild, the town requirement of 15 parking spaces halted their plans.

The pre-application includes a two story (which is what it was before) 13,000 square foot structure with indoor and outdoor dining again.

The pre-application submitted to the town asks for relief from that parking requirement. Prior to the storm the Salty Crab did not have any parking spaces and was a thriving business in the downtown district.. The town also recently gave a parking variance to The Whale so they could proceed with their rebuild. That appeared to give Salty Crab ownership hope the parking issue could be overcome.

Town Council and LPA members have all admitted the parking space requirements in the downtown district will most likely need to be changed, especially if they want Fort Myers Beach to become more of a walkable and bikeable island.


  1. Can’t wait to have the salty crab back!! Great food, great location, super friendly servers and bartenders!! I really miss this place!

  2. Great news and if there was no prior parking – no new parking – period. Change the Standards and stop with the one offs – Town Council should not pick winners and losers .
    Change whatever needs to be changed so Business can move forward .
    businesses haven’t applied because of town Council and there stupid prior parking stance – FIX it!
    Common sense –
    First you screwed small business with Covid now your doing it with Big Gov like BS Bureaucracy

  3. When we made our very first trip to The Island back in 2006, Nemo’s (what it was called before Salty Crab) was the very first place we went for an adult beverage, lol. So that property will always hold a special place in our hearts. We got to know many of the staff over the years, even after the name change. It wasn’t quite the same as Nemo’s, but we still loved it. Hopefully they get the approval to return.

  4. The parking issue is going to be a problem for any restaurant that wants to rebuild in or near the downtown district, and the town council knows this. Council and LPA, If u know it’s going to be an issue then what are u waiting for? Why not change it at the next meeting? Let these businesses get going.

  5. Great news! Our favorite spot for lunch on the beach! They never had parking and don’t need it! Enough people on the beach to keep it full all day long! Hope it’s back in business in my lifetime!

  6. Woooo Hooooo one of my favorite places on FMB. Parking should not be an issue. There was no parking prior and there was always a wait to get a table. There’s enough traffic on FMB already 😱 truth be told people say that the walkable restaurants and bars on FMB are what attracts people the most. That is the best part of coming down there and vacationing everything was walkable where you didn’t have to worry about parking. Please don’t take the character away that Fort Myers Beach has been for many many years.

      • LOL

        Margaritaville has 600 parking spaces – and around 250 rooms. Plenty of parking for the general public as well as registered guests.

    • Don’t worry about parking. That new light in front of Margaritaville allows many of us to just park in the street as far as four miles away because traffic comes to a complete standstill. On clear days, it takes me an extra 20-25 minutes just to move 1/4 mile. Forget eating out; I’m just trying to get home from work! Has anyone thought about opening a water taxi business?? You’d make a fortune once more homes and condos start to fill up.

  7. Why doesn’t the town create shuttles instead of worrying about parking? Create parking on San Carlos and SHUTTLE. FMB doesn’t need more parking or more cars! Be creative PPL in charge! Come on Town Council!

    • There’s a trolley that goes from the public parking lot on Pine Ridge Road, just behind Walmart. It’s the Beach P+R (Park and Ride) line. Before we were residents, we used that or Uber/Lyft.

  8. One of our favorite places! We’ve been going there for years and we never had a car. We would uber/taxi to our accommodations and walked everywhere. I would image if FMB can back similar to what it was, ppl don’t necessarily need to park.

  9. Our favorite restaurant/bar on the beach .. we never drove there .. too close to the “square” to worry about parking .. GOOD LUCK SALTY CRAB 🙏


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here