Iconic downtown restaurant ‘The Snack House’ is getting a new home

Reporter: Taylor Petras Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
snack house
snack house

The 1950s-style Snack House thrived from the Civil Rights era until the doors closed in the 1990s. The owners’ son shares the special history of the restaurant with WINK News Anchor Taylor Petras.

Svea Scott remembers the booth in The Snack House where her family loved to sit. “Usually it was like the third booth in when you came in the door. That’s where we sat,” Scott said.

Her father’s business was right across the street so The Scotts’ were regulars. “It was a landmark. That was the place to go. If you were downtown and you wanted something to eat, you went to the snack house,” she said.

Jerry Ellis’ father owned The Snack House. “It was one of the first air-conditioned restaurants in Fort Myers. There used to be a line of people to get in,” he said.

Ellis’ father opened The Snack House in 1949 in downtown Fort Myers during segregation. “When the sit-ins and things like that occurred, that happened in the Snack House too,” Ellis said. “My dad let them come in, let them sit down. He told the waiters, you wait on them, they’re just like us.”

The restaurant’s iconic sign and old menus have found a new home. They will be a part of an exhibit at the IMAG History and Science Center.

“Local restaurants and local gathering places are a great way to talk about the history and culture of an area and the Snack House really encompasses a lot of that in Fort Myers,” said Matt Johnson, who works with IMAG.

Scott thinks it’s a great idea. “I think it’s a great idea. The Snack House is kind of like a landmark in downtown Fort Myers,” she said.

“I wish it still existed but you could never replace it,” Ellis added.

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