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10 Best Cheap Places to Eat in Fort Myers

SmarterTravel

Fort Myers is not only a popular destination for cold-weary travelers to escape to in winter, it’s also the thriving seat of Lee County, where families of all cultures live, work … and eat three square meals per day. The plethora of cheap places to eat in Fort Myers can be overwhelming—in the best possible way, of course.

10 Best Cheap Places to Eat in Fort Myers

Follow the locals to find the best cheap places to eat in Fort Myers. No reservations required.

La Bamba Food Mart Tortilleria Y Taqueria

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Stripped down in a strip mall, this friendly taqueria offers inexpensive Mexican fare. Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, sopas, and more are as authentic as you can handle—which means, if you order it spicy, you’re gonna get it spicy. Be ready for your forehead to sweat.

Service can be leisurely at this cheap place to eat in Fort Myers, so tamp down any impatience and nosh on chips and salsa. The plates of food that eventually show up, steaming hot and heaped high, more than appease any hanger pangs. In fact, you may feel the need to hike off the meal afterwards—either that, or just opt for a relaxing nap on the beach.

Bennett’s Fresh Roast

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Sure, you can get a filling, healthy breakfast here, or a tempting sandwich or salad. But the donuts are the real draw at this cheap place to eat in Fort Myers. Maple bacon, peanut butter, raspberry almond, s’mores—there are nearly two dozen flavors (some, like the key lime, available only seasonally) that beckon the true donut connoisseur. Ready to think out of the (donut) box? Try Bennett’s famous concoction, which he invented for the Cooking Channel’s Donut Showdown: a “long john” donut wrapped around an Applewood smoked hot dog, then topped with Bennett’s homemade chili, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, and cheddar cheese.

In fact, everything on the premises is homemade, right down to the salad dressings. Bennett even roasts his own coffee. Don’t leave without sampling the cold brew, also made in-house.

Butch’s Famous Burgers, Chili & Dogs

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Neither owner is named Butch, let’s just be clear about that from the get-go. In fact, this Fort Myers favorite is named for the father of Mike Dunaj, who, along with his wife Dusty, runs this popular lunch joint with the utmost sincerity. Taste the couple’s dedicated to home-style cooking in their all-beef, cinnamon-spiced chili and perfectly spiced ground Angus beef patties with onions. Indeed, it’s the burgers that stand out the most at this cheap place to eat in Fort Myers. Dig into a Jalapeño Popper, topped with cream cheese and chili peppers, or try the Carolina burger, which comes with chili, cheese, and slaw.

And what’s good for the burger is good for the dog. And in addition to the all-beef hot dogs—try them topped with chili or slaw—there’s also a Polish sausage available. Sides of fries, hand-dredged onion rings, and fried pickles complete orders with plenty of deep-fried goodness.

Downtown House of Pizza

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If you ran a pizza joint that was consistently voted number one, how much mozzarella do you think you’d use? Downtown House of Pizza keeps track, along with number of pizzas tossed and draft beers poured since it opened in 2005. Collectively, the numbers are in the millions. That’s a lot of dough, and rightfully so. Thanks to its piping hot eats and cool vibe, this place is always packed, and is a standout among cheap places to eat in Fort Myers, a fave with everyone from the family dinner peeps to the late-night high school and college crowd

You can get in on the New York-style pizza action with a classic Italian, a Sicilian, a white pizza, or an avant-garde blend that offers chicken and barbecue sauce mixed with marinara. Or create your own specialty pie. There’s no right or wrong here. There’s only satisfaction.

Duffy’s Sports Grill

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For the sports nut who can’t leave the games (real or from fantasy leagues) at home even while on vacation, Duffy’s Sports Grill is a terrific option. More than 80 televisions show everything from football to futbol, all amid décor that recalls special teams and games from bygone eras.

In addition to the emphasis on sports, Duffy’s is a true Southwest Florida restaurant, complete with a menu that emphasizes local fish, seafood, and other regional dishes. Diversity also reigns, and wings and apps, salads and soups, and pastas and simple proteins all have a starring role on the extensive menu at this cheap place to eat in Fort Myers.

The Eatery by Ryan

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The tag line at this breakfast-lunch place is “Obnoxiously Good Food,” and that pretty much says it all. The French toast and powdered-sugar-dusted waffles fulfill your carb quotient so richly you won’t even want bread or dessert for the rest of the day. For lunch, overstuffed sandwiches like “The Rhino” cheesesteak, made with both chicken and steak, and a variety of pizza bagels draw in crowds comprising locals of every stripe, from college kids to retirees.

However, “obnoxious” does not extend to Ryan himself, who not only cooks but likes to interact with his customers while he does so, making food to order. Casual, cute, and comfortable, this cheap place to eat in Fort Myers offers beer, wine, and the infamous “popsicle” mimosa for those hot summer morning brunches.

Ginger Bistro

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Daily dim sum and Chinese barbecue is a lunchtime treat at this authentic, contemporary cafe. Choose from a selection of buns, shumai, pan-fried or steamed dumplings, pancakes, and more. The lunch menu also offers reasonably priced main courses, including plates of barbecue duck and pork belly.

For dinner, there’s a larger array of aromatic barbecue, noodle dishes, and Cantonese stir-fries. The whole Peking and Hong Kong-style ducks, roasting slowly behind a glass wall, could take the price range out of “the cheap places to eat in Fort Myers” territory on principal, except for the fact that they’re so meaty that they easily feed several people. You do the math.

Origami

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Since 1994, owner Rosa Kim has been supplying the region with her native Korean barbecue, which is the real value at this Japanese-Korean restaurant. The sushi is excellent, too, but the bang for your buck—and palate—comes from her traditional Korean specialties, including bibimbap and jopchae. There’s also the classic barbecue, which is cooked on tabletop grills by several diners, for an interactive and cost-effective experience.

If you can’t resist the sushi, the lunch specials and the bento boxes are the most reasonably priced options on the menu, and will still win this restaurant a cheap places to eat in Fort Myers award. Plus, sushi in Fort Myers tends to be ultra-fresh, given the city’s proximity to the ocean.

Pho Kingdom

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A good bowl of Vietnamese soup can cure any ill. The regular size pho is big; the deluxe, probably larger than your head. Indulge in the steamy broth, chock-full of protein and noodles, and served with basil, bean sprouts, lime, and chili sauce for you to spice just the way you like it.

While the menu is limited, Pho Kingdom offers some other dishes to complete a budget meal, including rice plates and signature Vietnamese appetizers. The décor is prettier than you might expect, with tablecloths accenting the groups of mismatched wooden tables and chairs, some tropical greenery, and rolls of paper towels for easy forehead-mopping access.

Po’Boys Sandwich Shop

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To call this place a mere sandwich shop is a bit misleading. Chef-owner Cory Austin Hatcher, who perfected his recipes in Nashville, brings flaky expertise to buttermilk biscuits that are either split open and topped with a range of items, such as sausage gravy, or filled with combinations like fried chicken breast and maple syrup and then deep fried. Breakfast can be a magical experience here, and that’s without even mentioning the omelets, the smothered French toast, and the biscuits stuffed with peanut butter and jelly before being dropped into the fryer.

Of course, the po’boys for which the place is named are stellar, too, as are the burgers. Can’t decide? The “po’burger” brings together the best of two worlds. But for a real taste of Nashville, try the “hot chicken” with a side of pimiento mac-and-cheese.

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– Original reporting by Jen Karetnik

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