Bayfront Bistro Awarded National Top 10 Ranking

Chef Bayfront News

The accolades for one of Estero Island’s best waterfront restaurants keep coming in.

Trip recently ranked Bayfront Bistro in the “The Spectacular 10” among waterfront restaurants in North America. Owner, Joe Yerkes admittedly was surprised when he was informed of the distinction.

“It’s amazing to have so many give good reports that we have become one of the top 10 waterfront restaurants in the country. We are just in shock,” he said. “We know we have a beautiful waterfront restaurant, and we believe we have great food everyday, but there must be thousands of waterfront restaurants in the country. It’s really special.”

Those recognized in the Trip “Spectacular 10: waterfront dining” category include the following (in no particular order): Navy Beach Montauk, Long Island, N.Y.; 28 Atlantic, Cape Cod, Mass.; Tropica Restaurant & Bar, Lahaina, Maui; Bidgewater Bistro, Astoria, Ore.; Giovanni’s Fresh Fish & Gallery, Morro Bay, Calif.; River Moon Café Wisconsin, Dells, Wisc.; Austin’s Cabana Café & Beach Bar, Pawley’s Island, S.C.; Bayfront Bistro, Fort Myers Beach, Fla.; Morada Bay, Islamorada, Florida Keys; and Double Deuce, Charlestown, Nevis.

In the just-released August issue of The Wine Spectator Magazine (a worldwide renowned publication), Bayfront Bistro also snagged its second consecutive Award of Excellence. This 2011 award, which went out to 24 winners in Lee and Collier counties (2 in Fort Myers/Fort Myers Beach; 3 in Estero; and 1 in Captiva) boasts the heralded bistro’s wine list’s depth, creativity, accuracy and menu-pairing excellence.

“The Wine Spectator award is the most prestigious recognition you can get in the wine business as a restaurant,” said Yerkes. “In my opinion, it’s critical for a restaurant to be known and seen as a wine destination. We’ve worked very hard to build a wine list that stood up to their scrutiny last year. We’ve continued to change and expand the wine list, and it’s great to be recognized for the second year in a row. We are as much about wine as we are about food at Bayfront Bistro.”

This year, Yerkes was selected as vice president of the newly formed Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. The Collier, Lee and Charlotte county chapters were merged into one.

Earlier this year, the onsite restaurant at Snook Bight Marina & Yacht Club behind Publix Supermarket on Fort Myers Beach picked up five top 10 online awards by OpenTable Diner’s Choice at The prestigious awards included second in Best Ambience in Southwest Florida; third in Best Overall Restaurant in Fort Myers; fourth in Best Food/American Cuisine in Southwest Florida; fourth in Best Scenic View in Southwest Florida; and ninth in Most Romantic in Southwest Florida.

In 2010, Bayfront Bistro took home the National Restaurant Association’s Neighbor Award for efforts including more than $200,000 in generated contributions to Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer program since 2009, annual donations to the Southwest Florida Wine Festival auction (which generates thousands for children’s hospitals) and for contributions to Beach Elementary School and Bay Oaks operations.

Yerkes said the ownership group chose not to apply for the NRA Neighbor Award this year.

“It was a wonderful award to get, but I am quite happy to see that award go to somebody else this year,” he said.

Other past recognitions include Estero Island’s “Best Romantic Dining,” “Best Wine List” and “Best Dining” at Greater Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce awards ceremonies and local recognition in the Best “Fine Dining” and Best “Romantic Dining” categories at the Best of Beach Awards (sponsored by Beach Observer/Bulletin).

Not bad for a business that has been open since only January of 2009.

“We’re delighted to keep being recognized for our efforts. Our staff has put in a lot of work in making it a great destination,” said Yerkes.