Edison Restaurant to stay but with renovations

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

The Edison Restaurant in Fort Myers is staying– with some big renovations.

The Edison Restaurant and Bar has been around for a long time, and it’s going to be around for a lot longer, after the city council voted Monday night to extend its contract and enter into negotiations with the city manager, pending some big renovations.

The solution was among three proposals for the restaurant the council had been mulling over.

It was a crowded meeting Monday night.

People were ecstatic. They felt this is a victory not just for staff and management but for the community as a whole.

The people who attended Monday night’s council meeting argued that the Edison is truly a place where everybody knows your name, and now that legacy can continue.

“I have to put a little shout out to Mayor Anderson and the council for taking the time to really listen to the neighborhood and the people,” said Kevin King, general manager of the Edison Restaurant. “I think it is a win-win for the neighbors, and all the tradition and all the people that actually make that Edison work.”

King said he’s thrilled for the restaurant to stay where it is, not just for him and his staff, but for the community as a whole.

“There was a young lady that’s getting married, and she came up to me. I recognized her. She had big tears in her eyes, and I was able to tell her, ‘We’re gonna be able to do your wedding.’ Meant everything to her,” King said.

Head bartender Michelle Westman said the building is a landmark many take comfort in these days.

“Hurricane Ian has taken half of our beach away. Let’s keep this part of the Fort Myers that’s still here,” Westman said.

The Edison won out against the other proposal from the owners of Stillwater Grill. This, after the third contender and frontrunner in the council’s rankings, 23 Restaurant Services, pulled out after community feedback.

Councilmember Darla Bonk said it wouldn’t have made a difference in her eyes.

“Please don’t believe we don’t listen to the public. Because if 23 was still in it, I would’ve said you changed my mind,” Bonk said.

The Edison Restaurant actually closed early Monday so everyone could attend the council meeting.

With Monday’s victory comes a lot of work for the restaurant. The estimated costs of renovation could be between $1.3 and $1.5 million, but King said he’s excited to get started.

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