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Restaurant Review: Rosie’s Cafe & Grill

By Melanie Pagan

“Where can you go to get a good sandwich around here?” I imagine many first-timers on Sanibel wonder this. People who drive over the causeway onto Periwinkle Way are greeted by dozens of fancy dinner restaurants perfect for nights out, but it’s less common to find eateries that serve quick, quality food at a reasonable price all day long.

But it’s not impossible. In fact, if a Sanibel visitor were to ask me the aforementioned question, I would point them in the direction of Rosie’s Café & Grill – located in Palm Ridge Plaza, conveniently on the way to Bowman’s Beach (and even more conveniently, across the street from the TOTI offices.)


Here you’ll find all the classic lunch staples: soups, salads, sandwiches, etc., with most meals ranging between $8-13. But it’s the gourmet flavors infused into each bite of these selections that really make otherwise common menu items memorable.

Chicken Cobb salad with blue cheese dressing, and Buffalo chicken sandwich. Notice the homemade potato chips. If only I could photograph their crispy texture…

I have to be honest – I rarely get through an entire chicken sandwich at other restaurants before I toss a bite to the side for being too fatty or tough, but each time I delve into one at Rosie’s (I always order it spicy with their signature seasonings), I consume the entire thing before even realizing it. Each bite of chicken is always tender, hot but not too hot, with fresh tomatoes, lettuce and Kaiser roll to boot. And did I mention the sandwich comes with shoestring fries?

I was feeling gutsy on this particular visit to Rosie’s, and decided to try the Buffalo chicken sandwich instead of my usual order. Just as delicious as the spicy grilled version!

I seldom venture to other parts of the menu because the chicken is consistently that good, but everyone I dine with at Rosie’s orders a different signature item they absolutely swear by (I’ve once heard someone describe the tropical bouillabaisse as “heavenly.”)

A delicate rose can be found at all seating arrangements at Rosie’s.

If you’d like a different recommendation when dining in, you might get the chance to ask co-owners Irving Gavin or Joanne Fitzgerald yourself. The tight-knit staff often doubles in duties like hosting, serving, or scooping up frozen treats from their Royal Scoop Homemade Ice Cream bar, so the two can sometimes be spotted in the front-of-house. Don’t fret if they’re not, though, because each server seemingly knows menu items like the back of their hand.

A sample of blueberry cobbler ice cream from Royal Scoop Homemade Ice Cream, served exclusively at Rosie’s. Not pictured: actual chunks of pie crust inside.

So next time you’re headed back from the beach with the windows down, and your stomach starts to growl, stop and “smell the Rosie’s” at Palm Ridge Plaza … the aroma of their fresh food can be enough to lure you in.

Melanie Pagan is the assignment editor and social media coordinator for TOTI Media, Inc. See what other restaurants we love on our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages.

Rosie’s Café & Grill
2330 Palm Ridge Rd., Sanibel
Open 8 am – 9 pm
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner
Visit Rosie’s on Facebook

Love the one you’re with

By Melanie Pagan

The loveliest holiday of the year is right around the corner! Though it’s important to shower your lover with affection year-round, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to take levels of admiration up a notch.

With gorgeous sunsets and dreamy hotel suites, Sanibel Island boasts a romantic atmosphere that is ideal for sweethearts. Delectable eats and exclusive jewels offered on the island also allow for one-of-a-kind keepsakes and experiences. Here are some ways you can spoil your darling on Sanibel in celebration of the big day:


Lily & Co. Jewelers
239-472-2888, lilyjewelers.com

Cedar Chest Fine Jewelry
239-472-2876, cedarchestsanibel.com

Sealife by Congress
239-472-4480, sealifebycongress.com

Thistle Lodge
239-472-9200, thistlelodge.com

Traditions on the Beach
239-472-4559, traditionsonthebeach.com

Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
239-472-4151, sundialresort.com

Trader’s Cafe
Trader’s VIP members will recieve a bottle of  house wine, Dante, at 1/2 off with the purchase of two lunch or dinner entrees (not applicable during Happy Hour).  This special will be offered throughout the month of February.
239-472-7242, traderssanibel.com

Spa Time
Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa & Boutique
239-579-1470, kaycasperson.com

Off island
Mark Loren Designs
239-482-4664, marklorendesigns.com

Gulf Coast Coin & Jewelry
239-643-1616, gulfocastcoin.com
gc coin

Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center
239-333-1933, sbdac.com

Do you know of other Valentine’s Day specials offered in the area? Let us know below!

The Big Picture

By Melanie Pagan

It may be a late New Year’s resolution, but I’m seriously considering carrying a camera with me whenever I go out. Southwest Florida is blessed with so much natural beauty that it can be difficult to breathe in every gorgeous moment. Every morning driving over the Sanibel Causeway is like a guessing game of anticipation. Will I see a pelican diving in the water today? Or perhaps an osprey will be perched on the railing, eyeing its next prey.

But wildlife sightings don’t just happen on the islands. Brightly colored butterflies and honey bees can often be found dancing around blooming flowers in Bonita, and powerful birds like hawks, or even eagles, are at times visible in the sky.

When photographers come to Southwest Florida, they know they have some major shooting opportunities, and we thought our January/February Outdoors & Sports issues would be a great place to showcase some of their works. In Times of the Islands, we’ve dedicated an entire spread to breathtaking snapshots of Blind Pass and Roseate Spoonbills, all taken by Sanibel-based photographer Jonathan Tongyai.

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Reflections by Jonathan Tongyai

Even more Southwest Florida photographs are celebrated in the pages of Bonita & Estero Magazine, where we profiled five artists—Garth Francis, Mark Renz, Peggy Farren, David Meardon, and Gordon Campbell—and their shots of lush landscapes and exotic animals.

Great Egret Display by David Meardon

I know I can only hope to mimic the talent of these individuals through pictures of my own (although I can certainly admire them in our magazines!), but we are constantly surrounded by precious moments here in Southwest Florida, and they are just begging to be captured in time.

Melanie Pagan is the Assignment Editor and Social Media Coordinator for TOTI Media, Inc.