Another island business that celebrated 100 years on Fort Myers Beach was the Gulf Shore Grill built by Tom Phillips in 1921, it was first known as Pete Nelson's "Crescent Beach Casino." Built originally as a bathing casino with rentals of a bathhouse, swimsuit, and towel, Nelson also sold hot dogs and hamburgers to visitors parked along the wide shoreline.
Later additions included a gambling casino with a dance floor, which became a restaurant after the 1926 hurricane. In 1930, the name changed to "Gulf Shore Inn" when rental rooms were added, and it became popular with winter visitors. During the 1940's, it was home to officers stationed in town during WWII and after the 1944 hurricane, as seen above. Hurricane repairs and construction were completed, with more remodeling after the relentless "no name" storms in the 1950's and Hurricane Donna in 1960.
By 1997, another name change occurred when "The Cottage" next door was acquired and named just that, as an indoor/outdoor bar with deck adjacent to the original dining room. It was renamed "The Gulf Shore Grill."
Meanwhile, next door, in the 1930s, along this same spacious shoreline was one of the first and best restaurants on the beach, known as the famous "Nettie's Place". It was run by the Pavese family, known to serve the best Italian food in all of Lee County. People drove all the way down to the beach for "Nettie's Spahetti" for years.
The structure was severely damaged in the 1944 and 1947 hurricanes, then rebuilt, as seen here below, as "Nettie's bar". It was completely wiped out with the "no name" series of storms and closed in 1954.
The next time it was rebuilt as a large, concrete building, to the rear of the property, facing Estero Blvd. and promptly named the "Surf Club". It was indeed the surf which moved it to higher ground, as a bar and package store for many years, surviving Hurricane Charlie in 2004 and other anoying storms.
In 2010 the Surf Club was renamed "The Mermaid", and a popular place for locals and visitors to meet for drinks.
Today, none of these places remain. The Gulf Shore was completely washed away by Ian. The Mermaid was purchased by TPI and torn down. The Beached Whale (formerly the Mermaid) was destroyed as well. Hopefully these popular places will return.
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