21 Jan 2020
Guest Blogger Matt Spaulding writes about a recent experience at a hidden gem of island restaurants…
Recently, my uncle Chip visited Sanibel and owns a condo on the bay side of the island. One of the things he loves most about it is its proximity to one of his favorite restaurants, Gramma Dot’s Seaside Saloon at the Sanibel Marina.
I hadn’t been to Gramma Dot’s in THE longest time, for one reason or another. Safe to say, it’s time to make this a regular stop.
Despite the name, it’s more than a saloon. It reminded me of an old tea room like the one on display at the Sanibel Historical Museum. Named after Dorothy Sterns, “Gramma Dot” was a favorite of the Ireland family (who owns the restaurant and the Marina), whose passion for the sea and Sanibel inspired the island’s ONLY dockside eatery and is often a winner at the Taste of the Islands festival. Indoor and outdoor seating is available, but we chose the bar…that’s how we roll. It became evident that Chip spent many lunches here in his month-long stay, as the waitresses knew him on a first-name basis. By the way, we overheard the kids trying to understand the name as they kept repeating “Gramma Dot, Dot, Dot” (I think they thought it was Gramma……).
Gramma’s has some of the best seafood around (with the awards to prove it), especially their Coconut Shrimp, but I had had seafood the night before and was having chicken that night, so I decided to try their All-American Burger. Let me advise you now; these burgers are BIG, they are fresh (not some frozen chiseled disc), and like many things here, they’re homemade (even their potato chips, which they cut and cook every morning). I will definitely be making plans to visit for dinner, and I can sum up why in four words: Bacon. Wrapped. Shrimp. Dinner. And among the choices for sides…a fruit-filled CHOCOLATE SHELL! :O
I had joked that I was getting Chip a paddleboard or paddleboat or just a rubber raft to traverse the canal from Mariner Point to Gramma Dot’s. Fortunately, it’s not the only way to get there. They are open 7 days a week from 11:30 AM to 8:00 PM. By car, they are located on North Yachtsman Drive off Periwinkle Way towards the eastern end. By sea, slips are available at the Sanibel Marina by contacting the Dockmaster on VHF channel 16 (overnights welcome if available).
If you stay on the islands (especially on the East end), your trip is not complete without a visit to Gramma Dot’s. Book Direct and Save!