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Jimmie the Beef Guy, a Chicago-inspired sandwich shop in Bonita Springs, plans to open a second restaurant this spring in Fort Myers.

Jimmie’s second location will be at 3664 Cleveland Ave., a freestanding building just north of Edison Mall on U.S. 41. The restaurant space most recently was home to La Parilla Boricua Puerto Rican Grill for more than four years. It also previously was Me-N-Tito’s Mexican Grill and Jalapeños.

“It’s under construction right now. I’m shooting for April 1,” said Jimmie Hart, a Chicago transplant who co-owns the local business with his son, Quentin.

Hart and his son will divide and conquer, splitting their time between the two locations. The Harts have been appreciated for sharing a taste of Chicago in Southwest Florida since launching their first location in November 2021 in Springs Plaza on the southeast corner of U.S. 41 and Bonita Beach Road.

Simplicity and authenticity are the keys to success for Jimmie the Beef Guy. The sandwich shop has a simple menu with only five sandwiches—Italian beef, Italian sausage, breaded steak, Maxwell Polish and sausage and beef—and three sides: french fries, a cup of cheese and Italian stallions—thinly sliced Italian beef with mozzarella/provolone cheese and hot giardiniera wrapped in dough and deep-fried.

“I think the sausage and beef combo with giardiniera is hard to replicate,” Jimmie Hart said.

Naples seasonal resident Steve Kilian visits the Bonita Springs restaurant about once a week and always orders the same thing: the sausage and beef combo sandwich. Kilian says Jimmie’s offers the closest thing to the Midwest sandwiches he knows and loves.

“Very authentic. It makes me feel like I’m in Chicago,” said Kilian, who lives in Milwaukee but grew up in Chicago. His go-to place in the Windy City is Portillo’s, a popular chain specializing in Chicago-style sandwiches.

Georgia Veith, a first-time patron who splits her time seasonally between Naples and the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, stopped this week at Jimmie’s for the first time with her daughter, Trinity, after searching for a local place to satisfy their cravings for food similar to Portillo’s, a back-home favorite.

“When we come (to Naples) we mourn our Chicago food, basically. There’s a lot of people like us that are here. We have that craving that never seems to be satisfied by the local food,” said Veith, noting that she was on a mission to try Jimmie’s after hearing Hart’s Chicago accent promoting the hidden gem on regular radio spots aired on FOX News 92.5 FM.

Veith was excited to meet Hart in person after hearing his commercials reminding listeners how to pronounce giardiniera, the Chicago staple condiment for sandwiches. “It’s not gar-deen-ya; it’s jar-din-air,” Hart says.

The Veiths, who shared a breaded steak sandwich, don’t plan to be strangers now that they’ve finally found Jimmie’s. “We’ll be back. We’ll try everything over time,” Georgia Vieth said.

Jimmie The Beef Guy, 8951 Bonita Beach Road SE, Suite 550, is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Copyright 2024 Gulfshore Life Media, LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent.

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