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Rosie’s Cafe returns to the island after a year-long absence

By Staff | Sep 3, 2019

TIFFANY REPECKI Rosie's Cafe & Grill recently reopened on Sanibel, featuring its well-known favorite menu.

Rosie’s Cafe & Grill on Sanibel is back, with all of its beloved dishes – plus a few new extras.

Toward the end of July, co-owners Joanne Fitzgerald and Irving Gavin reopened the restaurant in its former location in Palm Ridge Place off of Tarpon Bay Road. They had sold the business last year, however, the new venue that popped up in the place of Rosie’s did not fare as well as the old favorite.

“I really love being back and seeing the people again,” Fitzgerald said.

Gavin noted that over the last year, people routinely shared their wish for Rosie’s to come back.

“It was nice being missed. It was genuine,” he said. “They genuinely missed us.”

PHOTO PROVIDED The restaurant is currently serving breakfast and lunch only until season arrives.

They explained that the restaurant’s history dates back a few decades, when it went by the name of Rosie’s Deli & Market and was located on the east end of the island. A woman who bought the space at the time was trying to come up a new name for the eatery when her priest gave her a rose at church.

“It has remained Rosie’s ever since,” Gavin said.

The fourth generation of owners tied to the business, Fitzgerald and Gavin bought Rosie’s Deli & Market in 2009 when it was still located on the island’s east end. Two years later, they closed down the venue and relocated it to its current spot, reopening in 2012 under the Rosie’s Cafe & Grill name.

Gavin is the son of Eugene, of the well-known Gavin family that settled on Sanibel in 1914. He and Fitzgerald met in real estate school and tried several business ventures before purchasing Rosie’s.

After taking back the restaurant earlier this year, the two worked on undoing the dcor and other interior changes that the previous buyer had made to the space. The aim was to bring back Rosie’s.

PHOTO PROVIDED One of the new additions to the reopened Rosie's Cafe & Grill, barbecue is now available.

“We took the time and money to make it Rosie’s again,” Fitzgerald said.

She noted that they brought back the same favorite menu and Royal Scoop ice cream.

“It’s a little bit of everything,” Gavin said of the dining options.

Currently, Rosie’s serves breakfast and lunch; dinner will be available in-season starting in November. The breakfast menu covers classics, omelets and scrambles, pancakes and Benedicts, while the main one features starters, soups, salads, sandwiches, island southwestern, casual seafood, pasta and entrees.

There is also a children’s menu.

TIFFANY REPECKI Rosie's Cafe & Grill is co-owned by Irving Gavin and Joanne Fitzgerald, not pictured.

“We’re one of the less expensive places on Sanibel,” Gavin said.

“It’s very casual dining,” Fitzgerald added. “It’s definitely family-orientated.”

With the recent reopening, however, the two have a few new additions up their sleeve.

Gavin explained that the restaurant now serves up barbecue, including baby back ribs, chicken wings, chicken and such. The meat selections are cooked with his homemade house rub or barbecue sauce.

“It was something that I wanted to bring to the menu,” he said.

PHOTO PROVIDED The restaurant plans to expand in-season to include a bakery with handmade pies, cakes and donuts.

“Everybody has been loving it,” Gavin added. “It’s deliciously great.”

During the off-season, Rosie’s is offering barbecue catering for private parties.

In addition, around October or when season kick in, they will expand the area of the restaurant where the ice cream is located for a new bakery. There will be handmade donuts, pies, cakes and pastries.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to stop in and relish in the dishes that they remember.

“Our menu is the same, with the addition of the barbecue and bakery,” Fitzgerald said.

Beer and wine selections are available.

Rosie’s features indoor and outdoor seating.

The hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday and Monday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information, call 239-579-0807.

Rosie’s Cafe & Grill is at 2330 Palm Ridge Road.