Downtown Fort Myers restaurants facing an offseason drought

Running a restaurant is already a perilous line of work, especially during the offseason in Florida.

Steve Hollister, the owner of the Twisted Vine Bistro, said construction on a 12 story hotel in downtown Fort Myers puts his businesses at an even higher risk.

Hollister said everyone on Bay St. has felt the pinch from the construction. Last year’s water crisis, a closed up convention center and 6-month road closure, kept people away from places like the Twisted Vine Bistro.

INTERACTIVE: City of Fort Myers Development Activity Map

“Construction scares people away,” Hollister said. “We’re all down in revenue.”

That drought being met with at least two more summers of construction feet away with the Luminary Project set to be complete by Fall of 2020.

“We have 25 families here that rely on us to put food on the table for their families,” Hollister said. “It’s something we take really seriously.”

Hollister said he is considering cutting back on lunch hours or for the first time closing down for up to a month this summer. The restaurant had only two people for lunch when WINK News spoke with Hollister.

But Kerns Group’s, which owns Social House and Firestone on Bay St., said the bigger picture means more revenue.

“You gotta look over the horizon because we’re going to get so much business back when it’s open,” said Nils Richter, owner of Social House and Firestone, “that we could potentially lose while it’s under construction.”

“We’re excited about the hotel and it’s going to be great for us when it’s done,” Hollister said. “But it’s a painstaking process going through it now.

Reporter:Britni McDonald
Writer:Michael Mora
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