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Times of the Islands Magazine

Sanibel's Blue Giraffe Celebrates 1 Year Under New Ownership

Nov 20, 2017 01:07PM ● By Kevin

"Team Blue Giraffe, kickin' it behind the bar." Photo courtesy of Blue Giraffe Sanibel on Facebook.

The Blue Giraffe, celebrates a full year under new ownership, which changed over on Oct. 1, 2016. The business is now owned by Geoffrey and Lise Letendre, who purchased the business after 10 years of prior existence. With the purchase, the new owners decided to keep the name.

"My dad likes giraffes and I thought the name was funky, so we kept it," Geoffrey said.

The restaurant resides at Sanibel's Periwinkle Place Shopping Center, 2075 Periwinkle Way, in unit 14, and is open for indoor and outdoor dining from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Breakfast is served until noon, daily.

"Nestled in-between tropical landscaping and fountains, The Blue Giraffe is the best spot on Sanibel to eat, kick back and relax, island-style," the restaurant's website says. "Swing by to taste island-inspired fare, sip on a tropical beverage at the full bar and cool off with a sweet treat — we know you’ll enjoy everything we have to offer."

Geoffrey refers to his spot as "the hidden gem" at Periwinkle Place. His favorite memories are the times where the staff and ownership gets to welcome back local residents after a summer away, as well as meeting traveling patrons from around the world.

"Since we opened our doors, we have gained a devoted following of locals who love us, and visitors who just can’t get enough," the website continues. "Why shouldn’t island dining be as relaxing as everything else on Sanibel? You’ll leave wondering why you ever considered dining anywhere else."

The outdoor seating area is set in the garden-like atmosphere of Periwinkle Place, while inside seating features hand-painted tables, inspired by local artists.

The menu at Blue Giraffe features fresh and local seafood, island-renowned chowders, custom sandwiches and burgers, salads, steak, and vegetarian options. The restaurant also features a full bar, dessert and cappuccino.

The best seller on the menu, Geoffrey said, is the fish tacos. His personal preference is the fried chicken and biscuits. They have received 4.6 out of 5 stars on Facebook.

"We absolutely loved this restaurant!" said Heather Noll in a 5-star review on Facebook in May 2017. "The food was outstanding and the service was incredible. We went multiple times and the staff were warm and friendly each time. Even the owners took the time to check in and greet us and see how our experience was. We could not be happier with our visits. This is our new favorite spot to eat on the island!"

Yelp has shown equally strong reviews, including a plethora of praises on the restaurant's seafood.

"The star of the place is the food," said Tom F., from Longwood, Fla., in August 2017. "Clam chowder was so thick the spoon stood up in it. Four in our group and the meals were wonderful. Two Fish-N-Chips was a very mild and sweet fish with a light flakey crust. Tuna melt was great and the kids meal was perfect.  Finally had to have the desert since the Key Lime Pie was homemade."

Hurricane Irma did not cause any structural damage to the building, but did leave the Blue Giraffe without power for a short time. The overall inconvenience of the hurricane did delay the start of pending renovation plans, which pushed the reopen date back a bit.

The team is gearing up for Captiva Island's Luminary Festival, starting on Dec. 1. In honor of the annual tradition, the Blue Giraffe will serve its specialty soup.

For more information, call 239-472-2525, visit the webiste, or find Blue Giraffe Sanibel on Facebook.