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Pennsylvania native Jay Case grew up in the Lancaster area, which has the largest Amish community in the U.S. After living in Florida for 12 years, he figured he wasn’t the only one missing the food he grew up with, or better yet, he could introduce his favorite recipes to those who’ve never tried it. 

Having both Amish and Mennonite backgrounds from his grandparents, all recipes used at Case’s new Dutch-Way Cafe, 2245 Winkler Ave., in Fort Myers have been passed down through generations. 

“My parents are both here working with me to help make all the food from scratch with all the original recipes from my great grandmother and my great, great grandmother,” Case said. 

Dutch-Way Cafe opened in Fort MyersAmish baked goods have already been a hit at the cafe with the whoopie pie, which is two round mound-shaped pieces of cake with a sweet, creamy filling between them, taking center stage. The cafe sells both chocolate and red velvet whoopie pies, two for $3.  

Case also recommends the raisin and walnut sticky buns or a slice of shoofly pie made with sweet molasses. 

Breakfast and lunch options offer some familiarity, but with a few differences that make the dishes authentic to Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine. The breakfast platters come with potato cakes instead of the typical hashbrown. “It’s literally cakes that are made out of mashed potatoes with seasoning and onions and it’s grilled, so it becomes crispy but still soft,” Case said. 

Dutch-Way Cafe opened in Fort MyersThe lunch options are all handhelds served with the cafe’s in-house made potato chips. Case recommends the Dutch-Way Classic, featuring sweet Lebanon bologna. “It’s a sandwich I’m used to getting up [in Pennsylvania] but never found anywhere down here except for the Yoder’s [Restaurant & Amish Village] up in Sarasota,” he said. 

Other lunch options that are unlike the typical local offerings are the fried bologna sandwich and The Lancaster, which has creamy cucumber dill sauce along with bacon, Muenster cheese, lettuce and tomato.  

“It’s what Americans would consider a BLT, but it’s their version of a BLT on a pretzel roll,” Case said. 

The breakfast and lunch options range from $4 to $10. Breakfast begins at 8 a.m. and lunch begins at 11:30 a.m., with both ending at 3 p.m.  

Dutch-Way Cafe opened in Fort Myers

Starting at 3 p.m., The Rumspringa Bar at the cafe opens until the 10 p.m. closing time, which differs on weekends. There will still be food offered from Pennsylvania Dutch, but more geared toward evening bites during that time. 

The 4,800-square-foot cafe has 183 seats, including the outdoor patio. There is also a banquet room, soon to be blocked off with partitions instead of curtains, that will be used for meetings and private events. 

The cafe is set up for patrons to order food at the front counter and be seated wherever they choose.  

“You will still be attended to, and we will still make sure that you get what you want and be there to talk to you, but you’re not rushed,” Case said. “You don’t always have somebody hovering over you. It’s more of a relaxed environment.” 

Dutch-Way Cafe opened in Fort MyersCase plans to have a pianist come in to keep the environment relaxed, with Fridays expected to have live entertainment.  

The cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday, next to the Luxe 8 Flix Cinema. 

“I’m kind of nervous, but I’m really excited at the same time,” Case said. “It’s a new concept, and I’m in a space that has been a lot of different things over the years. It is a cafe. It is for family, friends, it’s for everybody. We’re making things from scratch. We are using old, time-tested recipes and I’m just excited to share the food with everybody whether they’ve had it before or not had it before. It’s here to come try.” 

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