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Hop in the boat, we're going out to eat!

Pink Shell offers the optimum setting for waterway diners

February 24, 2016
By John Morton - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The idea of a boat trip to the Pink Shell for lunch apparently has a far-reaching appeal.

After all, it's precisely what brought the adventuresome Randy West all the way down to Fort Myers Beach from Myrtle Beach, S.C.

"Back home there are plenty of places to eat that are on the water, but they're not accessible by boat," said West, as he and his wife, Rebecca West, cleaned up their 37-foot boat Thursday while docked in one of the 42 slips at the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina. "Well, at our Myrtle Beach marina the word has been out about this place for some time, so we had to check it out. Basically, people wouldn't shut up about it."

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The Pink Shell's marina boasts 42 slips and a docking staff. Last year, 425 boats tied up there for a lunch visit.

And West said it lived up to its billing - despite the fact he arrived on Jan. 27 during a day-long rainstorm that delivered more than 3 inches.

"I couldn't see more than 2 inches in front of my face as we came in," West said. "It's a good thing this part of the bay is so wide and the slips are so far apart. It's easy to dock here, even with a larger boat."

Upon arrival, the first thing they did was across the street and into the Pink Shell for what was their 33-year wedding anniversary lunch.

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"It was great," West said. "We were starving, and the dock staff took over and allowed us to go straight to lunch."

Since that day, the Wests have marveled at the number of boats that take in the dining-by-boat opportunity.

"It's like watching a boat parade every day," Rebecca West said. "You see every kind of boat."

Fact Box

Where to dine by boat on Fort Myers Beach

Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina, 275 Estero Blvd. Call 463-6181.

Features large 42-slip marina with office and docking staff. Contact dockmaster on channel 16 for assistance.

Nervous Nellie's, 1131 First St. Call 463-8077.

Features single dock with spots for 15 boats.

Matanzas on the Bay, 414 Crescent St. Call 463-3838.

Features dock, which runs from the restaurant to the hotel, with 12 spots.

Bayfront Bistro, 4761 Estero Blvd. Call 463-3663.

Features one floating dock with four slips at neighboring Snook Bight Marina. Additional spots are subject to availability. Call the Snook Bight at 765-4371.

Where to dine by boat on San Carlos Island

Bonita Bill's Waterfront Cafe, 702 Fishermans Wharf. Call 463-6119.

Features three floating docks holding 10 boats.

Doc Ford's, 708 Fishermans Wharf. Call 765-9660.

Features a dock with room for 10 boats.

Dixie Fish Co., 714 Fishermans Wharf. Call 233-8837.

Boaters are allowed to dock at neighboring Doc Ford's.

Bootleggers Waterfront Barbeque, 2200 Main St. Call 463-3043.

Features 20 to 30 slips as part of Salty Sam's Marina. Contact dockmaster on channel 16 for assistance.

Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, 2500 Main St. Call 463-3257.

Features 20 to 30 slips as part of Salty Sam's Marina. Contact dockmaster on channel 16 for assistance.

Boot Kicken' Sports Bar and Grill, 19001 San Carlos Blvd. Call 765-0233.

Features 11 docks holding 23 slips.

It's a scenario not lost on Alicia Wiley, the Pink Shell's general manager, who reports that 2015 saw 425 boats dock for lunch.

"We track that, because we know it's an important part of our business," she said. "We get great feedback on the marina, especially during season. Boaters love the idea of not having to deal with the (auto) traffic. And we give those arriving to dine by boat two free hours of dock time."

And now, a fine-dining-by-boat opportunity exists with the Jan. 19 opening of Jack's Farm to Fork restaurant, featuring meals with locally sourced ingredients.

If the dock's marina office is closed, night-time boaters can call on radio channel 16 to request docking assistance, Wiley said.

West said he looks forward to another visit in the future.

"Obviously, I'll go a long way for the right place to eat," he said with a laugh.



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