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A HOT summer spot: Nauti Turtle goes through some changes, offering multiple weekly specials

July 29, 2011
MELISSA SCHNEIDER - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

With its owners becoming more active in the business, the Nauti Turtle, 19001 San Carlos Blvd., has recently gone through some changes, adjustments and upgrades, with new staff, new specials and an award-winning chef.

Chef Billy Nelms, who has run the kitchen of Le Bec-Fin, a high-end French restaurant in Philadelphia, Pa., as well as well-acclaimed restaurants in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., has lived and served the Fort Myers Beach area for the last 12 years, excited to take the helm of the Nauti Turtle's kitchen as a certified food handler, and has also set up an extensive training program for the serving staff.

"I've been cooking since I was 16, won Best of the Beach awards for several years, as well as other competitions up north, including Best Cheesecake," Chef Billy said. "Everything we make here [at the Nauti Turtle] is fresh, homemade, from scratch the dressings, the sauces, the soups, everything."

Article Photos

Owners of The Nauti Turtle are proud to offer patrons a new perspective, fresh staff and fresh food to their 19001 San Carlos Blvd. location. Above, owners Dave and Mary Hehl, Larry and Sue Ducat and Joe Cothern (not pictured), with Debbie Burton, Betty Kai, CJ Crider and Callie Gray. Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER.

Along with fresh, homemade dishes daily, Chef Billy said all of the Nauti Turtle's seafood is locally caught, hauled in from Sanibel Seafood just a few blocks down San Carlos Boulevard.

Some of the chef's signature dishes include the chicken marsala, grouper francais, the keylime pies and the cheesecakes.

"I really take pride in what we're cooking, making sure everything is fresh, and there's plenty of food on the plate," he said.

Fact Box


99-cent drafts and $5 pitchers all day, every day

Monday: Half-price cheeseburgers

Tuesday: Ladies' Night with DJ Philly Billy, 8-11pm

Ladies enjoy free wells, house wines and drafts

Wednesday: Half-price pizza, Brenda karaoke, 8pm

Thursday: Open mic night with John Butler, 7pm

12-ounce NY strip steak, $9.99

Friday: Live music with Elijah

Saturday: Karaoke with Brenda, 8 to 11:30pm

Sunday: Hat Boys, 4 to 8pm

Catering to the locals especially during the off-season, owners of the Nauti Turtle offer specials each and every day of the week, including the popular Ladies' Night Tuesdays, where ladies can enjoy free house wines, wells or draft beer from 8 to 11 p.m., with music by DJ Philly Billy.

Swing by Mondays for half-price cheeseburgers, Wednesdays for half-price pizza, or Thursdays for 12-ounce NY strip steaks, just $9.99.

Looking to cool down after a hot day? There's plenty of space at The Turtle with its two inside bars (Turtle Bar and Oar Bar) and outside Bimini Bar. Be sure to stop in regularly, as one of its 12 beers on tap is selected to be 99 cents a glass, $5 a pitcher, all day, every day each week.

Enjoy not one but two happy hours a day, from 3 to 7 p.m. daily, and a late night happy hour from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. every night, with discounted cocktails, brews and appetizers.

Betty Kai, longtime bartender on Fort Myers Beach, most well-known for her service with Jimmy B's for 13 solid years, now serves at the Nauti Turtle, and while she's also able to legal marry happy couples, paired with the gorgeous scenery along the premises, this new establishment is the perfect spot for tying the "knot."

For the sports fans, between its 21 flatscreens scattered throughout the establishment, this place is sure to be playing The Big Game, sporting the NFL Package, Big Ten, NBA Package and more, and are proud to call themselves Ohio State Buckeye Club headquarters, as well as the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers.

An acting member of the Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Nauti Turtle has played host to recent chamber events, such as a Chamber After-Hours gathering, Chamber luncheon, and its recent Tapa Hop, and is a regular gathering spot for local groups and clubs, including the Little Black Dress Club and the Red Hat Society.

"In the future, we plan to host fund-raisers for local charities and organizations, and always welcome groups and clubs to meet here. We have plenty of room," owner Mary Hehl said.

Whether it's a large group, club, gathering, function or wedding party, owners of the Nauti Turtle are sure to point out that privacy is certainly an option for those large groups that want their own "space." The entire Oar Bar, which seats 80 to 90 people, can be closed off for private functions, complete with its own deck, gorgeous view of the back bay, dining room and full bar.

Entertainment reigns throughout the week from great local artists, including Elijah, open mic night with John Butler, karaoke with Brenda and the Hat Boys.

If you're in the mood for some gaming fun, take a stab at the claw machine and lobster grab, or join in on the bowling arcade tournament or cornhole challenge. Beer pong is also a fun, friendly event held at the Nauti Turtle.

If coming by car, enjoy the free valet service offered by the establishment, or, if coming by boat, feel free to dock at one of the 18 available slips no charge.

A children's menu is available, as well as take-out ordering, and once you wrap up your experience at the Nauti Turtle, stop into the gift shop for some fun, Nauti merchandise and gear.

"Come by, enjoy the food and enjoy the scenery," owner Larry Ducat said. "The dolphins visit us in the Back Bay every day."

Nauti Turtle hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, serving lunch and dinner, with a full menu offered until 10 p.m., a late-night menu offered until 1 a.m.

For more information on the Nauti Turtle, or to place an order, call 765-1100, or visit for the complete menu and more and be sure to find the restaurant on



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