Junkanoo Below Deck opens on Fort Myers Beach

Reporter: Michael Hudak Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

The rebuild process is ongoing all over Southwest Florida, and on Wednesday, Junkanoo, a hot spot on Fort Myers Beach, opened its doors again to welcome back a very happy crowd.

“To see this kind of crowd is pretty incredible,” said Jerry O’Reilly, who loves Junkanoo.

Junkanoo’s owner, Franco Russo, has to jump through hoops to get where he is today.

“It was a lot. It was four months of a lot of back and forth, a lot of question marks, and a lot of decisions. And that led us to this moment,” said Russo.

The moment when everyone came to escape their blues.

Hurricane Ian waterline in new Junkanoo location. (Credit: WINK News)

“That blue line up there. You can see the sign right there. It says Ian was here. That’s how you high up the water came here,” Russo said.

The plot of land where Junkanoo used to stand is now just junk.

Former Junkanoo location that was destroyed by Ian. (Credit: WINK News)

WINK News went to visit their new location on opening day on Wednesday, and the place was filled with fans of the old restaurant, like Jerry O’Reilly.

O’Reilly loves Junkanoo because it was his favorite spot to go for a drink with his late father-in-law.

Now that it’s back open, drinks are back on the menu.

“Happy hour doesn’t start till two, so we’ll have to come back at two o’clock,” said Jill Piccoli.

Upstairs, right above Junkanoo, is where the new Fresh Catch restaurant will be. They expect to open sometime next week.

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