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A Capital Grille fine dining restaurant and steakhouse is being planned for the old Mimi’s Café location at Bell Tower shopping center in south Fort Myers, public records show.  

Brett Mashchka, who has experience as a site development manager for Darden Restaurants, which owns the luxury restaurant chain, applied for a development order with Lee County. The order calls for discussion of the site layout, elevations and proposed changes to the landscape buffer along Daniels Parkway and proposes demolishing Mimi’s Café, which closed in February 2021, and then building the new Capital Grille on the same site.  

Darden and the Bell Tower declined to comment.  

The potential arrival of a Capital Grille mirrors its first Southwest Florida location, which is near a Whole Foods Market at the Mercato shopping center in North Naples. It opened in September 2008 and has room for 250 diners in about 8,000 square feet of space.  

Just two miles east of the old Mimi’s Café location in south Fort Myers is another Whole Foods Market.  

When North Naples’ Capital Grille opened almost 14 years ago, the chain had 34 locations across the country. Now the chain has 64 locations, including 10 in Florida and one each in Costa Rica and Mexico City.  

“Hallelujah,” said Randy Thibaut, founder of LSI Companies. He worked on the deal to bring Whole Foods Market to south Fort Myers and is not involved with the Capital Grille deal but hopes the planning pays off.  

“I’m going to say there’s been a need for a high-end, full-service restaurant like that in the Fort Myers area now for years,” Thibaut said.  

The influx of new residents from other markets that already have Capital Grilles would be natural customers.   

“It’s brought us a new level of customer who is seeking and demanding some higher-end and luxury food and dining options,” Thibaut said. “And voila, they’re going to do outstanding in that location. This gives an option to not have to travel to Naples or Estero to experience something like this.”  

This isn’t the only luxury chain restaurant being planned for the Daniels Parkway corridor. A Cooper’s Hawk Restaurant & Winery is in the works after Stock Development paid $1.5 million for a parcel on the east side of the Publix-anchored shopping center at the southwest corner of Daniels and Six Mile Cypress Parkway. There is already a location in North Naples.  

Stock Development said it built one in Sarasota in 200 days and the south Fort Myers location could open early next year. 

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