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Homemade sangria and meals from scratch at new island restaurant

By Staff | Oct 3, 2013

The Sangria Grill on Periwinkle Way. Mckenzie Cassidy.

The Sangria Grill not only offers islanders an eclectic mix of international food, but Chef Todd Erling said he personally promotes the restaurant’s fun atmosphere.

Chef Todd, who opened the restaurant with his associate Pepper on Thursday, Sept. 19, said the menu features a variety of cuisine Chinese, Indian, Southwestern, and American, to name a few.

“Everything is from scratch and it constantly changes,” he said. “It’s bringing something completely different to the island. It’s all about having fun, that’s why our tagline is: Food for the fun of it.”

Every step in creating a dish transforming it from raw ingredients to the finished produced is done in-house. He smokes his own pork and salmon for cuban sandwiches and salads, for example, and chooses the finest ingredients for all the homemade delicacies on the menu.

Prices at The Sangria Grill are affordable. The average lunch costs $8-15 and dinner $12 and up, depending on market prices and what a customer chooses. A meal won’t break the bank, but Chef Todd said you’re getting a gourmet experience for what you pay.

The Sangria Grill is open for business. Mckenzie Cassidy.

Chef Todd moved to Sanibel Island a few weeks ago after overseeing a restaurant in Palm Beach, Fla., for the last seven years. He has over 30 years of culinary experience in many genres and cities.

The restaurant’s name, The Sangria Grill, comes from the fact that Chef Todd and Pepper make all of the sangria from scratch. They want to expand the sangria menu, adding 8-10 different homemade blends, and make it their signature item.

Most restaurant chefs build a menu and oversee the restaurant’s operations, but aren’t typically seen by customers. Chef Todd said he wants to be accessible to his customers and make sure they have a great time while dining at The Sangria Grill.

“I want to be the guy you see cooking in my restaurant,” he said. “I just want to have fun.”

The Sangria Grill is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and is closed on Mondays. It is located at 2430 Periwinkle Way, near the intersection of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road.