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Finding a good place to dine in Southwest Florida is getting easier these days. Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties are home to close to 4,000 dining establishments, according to data compiled by FGCU’s Regional Economic Research Institute. Despite the pandemic, the number of establishments in the three-county area rose about 11% from 2018 to 2022.

About three-fourths of those establishments are considered typical seated restaurants, but the figures also include take-out spots, food trucks, caterers, hot dog vendors and vending machines (those that sell things such as sandwiches, not just snacks and soda). Food trucks in particular have been growing—in 2022, about 400 food trucks were registered in the area, more than double the number five years previous.

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