Bell Tower Hot Spot
Society, 13499 Bell Tower Drive, Fort Myers, (239) 334-0900, societyfortmyers.com
Society’s 8-ounce filet, grilled to perfection, will melt in your mouth.
WHY WE LOVE IT: It took years of construction, but we know now this new Bell Tower Shops hot spot was worth the wait. Soaring ceilings, a rooftop “Treehouse” lounge, a ground-level green space and coquettish neon signs greeting “Hello gorgeous” are just the start. It has become dependable for daily power lunches, happy hours with killer cocktails and creative cuisine from midday until late night. The restaurant’s culinary vision came from rising star chef Todd Erickson, whose ascent began in Dallas and skyrocketed in Miami and was cemented in 2017 when he vanquished the celebrity host of Beat Bobby Flay on the Food Network. Now, chef James Pryor holds the reins on a daily basis and oversees seasonal menu tweaks.
IDEAL MEAL: Flashes of inspiration start with things as humble as the breadbasket, or in this case, earthenware crock. Served straight out of the oven, the soft-as-a-Parker-House roll is covered in black and white sesame seeds and crunchy curlicues of cheese. Similar ingenuity can be found in the irresistible Cuban “cigars”: Plated in an actual cigar box or ashtray, the egg rolls are stuffed with shredded pork and pickles and bound together with melted Swiss. Dry-aged steaks are grilled to perfection over a wood-burning fire, and there are lighter options, too, such as the Crackle-Pop roll with spicy tuna.
VIBE: It’s definitely hip, but not so much so that you’d feel awkward bringing your boss—neither is the din so loud that you couldn’t hear a client talking over dinner. The Treehouse upstairs, impressively lush with ample seating, takes its cues from the chic rooftop drinking scenes in South Beach and beyond, making an irresistible ocktail of warm Gulf breezes, stiff libations and tunes spun by a DJ or played live.