Just-opened Scotty’s offers primo beers, burgers and more at Fishville
There’s a new kid in town: Scotty Wise and his eponymous brewhouse, which just opened at Fishermen’s Village. The Indiana-bred Scotty’s Brewhouse is making its first foray into the Florida market with the Punta Gorda location, and Mr. Wise hopes it’s the beginning of a Sunshine State sensation.
Midwesterners have eagerly been awaiting the arrival of their up-North haunt, which Mr. Wise started 20 years ago in Indianapolis.
“The minute we announced we were coming to Punta Gorda six or so months ago, I started getting a lot of emails from customers who visit Florida or now live there full time,” said Mr. Wise. “They recognize the brand coming into town.”
He also recognized the Southwest Florida region when a business partner who lives here suggested opening a 16th location at the former Oyster House. Mr. Wise has been visiting the area since middle school during spring break and worked summers in Panama City during college.
The restaurant, known for its burgers, American fare and dozens of on-tap craft brews, has grown to 15 locations in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. The Punta Gorda location is destined to become a sports-watching waterfront mecca with its 50 TVs inside and another 20 on the patio. Scotty’s will also offer local and Florida-born beers among its 30 craft bar and patio offerings, and its artwork will pay tribute to vintage Punta Gorda. Florida team support is still up in the air.
“We’re always very careful about the teams we support,” says Mr. Wise. “We have locations in Indiana on two college campuses that hate each other. We would never have anything supporting the other school’s team. We try to make each restaurant unique to the area.”
“The Florida market gives us a unique opportunity to offer a well-executed seafood menu,” Mr. Wise said. “We’ll focus on what we’re already doing: making greater burgers, salads and wraps but offer fresh seafood.”
The Fishville Scotty’s will also feature another first — breakfast served seven days a week at 9 a.m. (times may be tweaked during season).
The construction of the restaurant also created Fishermen Village’s new Palm Court, a 200-seat public gathering area to enjoy a cocktail, watch sunsets and hang out with friends. Scotty’s offers service in the courtyard via a large outdoor bar area serving only drinks, including 15 TVs, 10 additional on-tap craft beer selections and frozen libations blended up by eight machines from proprietary recipes.
Scotty’s also offer $15 craft/import can beer buckets every day plus daily food and drink specials, including Moscow mules, $5 personal pizzas, all-you-can-eat wings, and $2 street tacos and sliders. It will also offer daily happy hour and specials in the courtyard cabana bar.
— 1200 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda.
The foreign Influence
Charlotte County is embracing a cultural cuisine explosion with some notable recent restaurant openings: Indian at Royal India and Curry and Kabab, Dutch pastries and ice cream at Zoet and Viennese brunch and confections at Tina’s Café & Bakery Vienna.
The newest taste to tickle your fancy comes from Switzerland at the Egg & I/Coffee & Friends on Placida Road in Englewood. Barbara and Matthias Pfister and son Marc reopened the restaurant in May, introducing tartlets, cakes and pastries with a Swiss twist, breakfast and lunch dishes and an emphasis on coffee, latte, cappuccino, et al. (The two Mr. Pfisters worked at Starbucks in Switzerland.) Coffee beans are ground to order in a machine much more technologically advanced than the very vintage — as in circa AD 89 — grinder displayed on the counter.
“My mother bakes everything,” said Marc, who’s slim despite the decadent array of confections displayed in the case. During my visit, these included a Swiss chocolate Bundt cake, lime and blueberry cakes, chocolate chip and banana nut muffins and carrot and apple tartlets. The favorite, I’m told, is the raspberry tartlet, which is a traditional Swiss pastry.
The Pfisters continue to tweak the breakfast menu as they learn the ways of Americans.
“Breakfast isn’t really big in Switzerland,” Marc said. “We’re figuring it out and will add more sides and choices.”
The most popular breakfast item is the eggs Benedict served with bacon on southern biscuits. The singular Swiss offering, however, is gaining some traction: The Power Starter, aka Birchermüsili, a hearty combination of rolled raw oats, grains, fresh and dried fruit, seeds and nuts mixed with milk and yogurt. It, too, is served with a biscuit.
To market, to market!
Arcadia, the kingdom of cattle and citrus, offers one of the best produce and farmers markets in the area. With such low prices — hello, $1.89-a pound, 73 percent fat ground beef — it’s well worth the drive.
In just four years, K&J Homegrown Produce and Farmers Market has grown from a veggie stand in front of the home of Joanna Fox and husband, Kenny Moore, to a large-scale operation that’s currently expanding to 15,000 square feet. It offers Myakka City’s Dakin Dairy milk, locally grown produce and cut-toorder ribeyes, filet mignon and seafood at prices 50 less than the supermarket.
“We pretty much started out as a small produce market, then added jams, jellies and seasonings you can’t find in the grocery store,” said Ms. Fox, who credits Mr. Moore, a former farmer and butcher, as the brains behind the business.
The couple moved out of the front yard and into half of a ware house off S.R. 70 behind Sweet Bay in 2012, added the meat section the same year, and have already outgrown the 10,000-square-foot structure. They’re in the process of enclosing the rest of the warehouse to accommodate a year-round customer base who travel from Miami, St. Pete and Lakes Wales to get in on the good deals.
Ms. Fox says 80 percent of the produce is local. After farming nearly 2,000 acres for 29 years, Mr. Moore now tends to 20 acres to supply some of the market’s needs.
“We buy as much local products as possible and have a lot of farmers who supply us,” Ms. Fox said. “Our meat is antibiotic- and hormone-free. Our brown and regular eggs are 99 cents a dozen and are from cage-free chickens.”
The market also employs meat cutters to hand-trim USDA choice and prime selections, charging $7.99 a pound whether a customer buys the whole beef tenderloin or just two steaks.
Buying in volume is the secret to K&J’s ability to offer such low prices
“We have meat and produce truck deliveries six days a week,” Ms. Fox said.
“My husband was looking to get out of farming and into business; his dad was in the grocery business,” she explained. “We weren’t planning to expand but the building just fell into our lap. It really started as a hobby selling produce on four tables in the front yard on weekends.”
K&J Homegrown Produce and Farmers Market is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Christmas.
— 2288 NE Highway 70, Arcadia, (863) 491- 0705. ¦