Press

Award-Winning Sanibel Island Chef Earns Placement in Nationally-Acclaimed Food Competition; Also Receives Wine Spectator Award of Excellence

SANIBEL ISLAND— Melissa Donahue, executive chef of Sanibel-based Sweet Melissa’s Café will compete alongside nine of America’s best farm to table chefs from across the South at the fourth annual Chefs Taste Challenge in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 7, 2018. The Chefs Taste Challenge is a fun, fresh take on a food competition aimed at broadening awareness for the use of healthy, sustainable ingredients in preparing food. The 2018 event will feature a face-off Read more…

Sweet Melissa’s Cafe

You’ve seen them before, those people who take photos of their food: you’ll become one of them when you eat here. Choose from full portions or small plates, but the latter are recommended so that you can savor more outstanding dishes in one sitting. Lunch offers simpler dishes like sandwiches (smoked chicken with avocado aioli) and salads (grilled romaine with truffle drizzle). Dinner truly brings out Melissa’s magic. Even if you don’t like duck, you’ll Read more…

Sweet Melissa’s Café Earns Second Wine Spectator Restaurant Award

Sweet Melissa’s Café has been honored for its outstanding wine program in Wine Spectator’s 2018 Restaurant Awards. The restaurant is recognized among 3,758 winners from all over the globe as a top destination for wine lovers. Sweet Melissa’s Café has won the Award of Excellence for the second year in a row. The Award of Excellence recognizes restaurants whose wine lists feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the Read more…

A WEEK OF DREAM DINING IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Our food editor takes you through seven days of her favorite dining spots. BY DOROTHEA HUNTER SÖNNE The No. 1 question I get asked because of my job is, “What is your favorite restaurant?” It’s kind of like making me pick between Sissy and Buddy (I’m kidding—but thankfully I have only one super-adorable kiddo so far).  That said, I do have a short list of ones I keep in my back pocket for when people ask the Read more…

‘SWFL HUNGER GAMES’ WILL BRING FOOD TRUCKS TO TOP ROCKER

Benefiting Blessings in a Backpack, the inaugural festival is aiming to gather more than 30 eateries and food trucks Oct. 7. BY DOROTHEA HUNTER SÖNNE We have our fair share of food fests. But save room—there’s reason to get excited about one more. Gunning to be one of the biggest and baddest, the inaugural “SWFL Hunger Games” will be held Oct. 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Fort Myers’ Top Rocker Field. As of July, Read more…

Top 10 in South Florida – USA TODAY

Sweet Melissa’s Café has been named as one of the top 10 restaurants in South Florida, according to USA Today. Landing at number five on the list of the Best Restaurants in South Florida, USA Today touts the Sweet Melissa’s creative menu that is jam packed with fresh, local produce, seafood, beef and everything in-between. Under the command of Executive Chef Melissa Donahue, diners will experience delicious seasonally-inspired eats where fresh ingredients and small plates Read more…

The 101 best dishes in SWFL … per Jean Le Boeuf

It seemed like a simple question: What’s the best thing I’ve eaten in Southwest Florida? 101 answers later… not so simple. This list is based as much on deliciousness as it is on how recently I’ve been to any given restaurant. That means it leans more to Lee County than Collier, because that’s where I eat most of my meals. I didn’t include drinks on the list — it’s crazy enough as it is. And I couldn’t include things Read more…

THE ULTIMATE DINING GUIDE FOR SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Our food editor challenges opinion-based websites like Yelp and serves up the definitive list of the best restaurants in Southwest Florida. BY DOROTHEA HUNTER SÖNNE We’ve all seen them: those ubiquitous TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence hanging in windows of local eateries. Likewise, we’ve had those little green or red cards slipped into our bill asking us to “share our opinions.” Restaurants even link to Yelp or put an OpenTable booking calendar on their homepages. But I Read more…

Chef Melissa Donahue of Sanibel

Chef Melissa Donahue opened Sweet Melissa’s Cafe on February 14, 2009, and has been delighting Sanibel diners ever since. Melissa and her husband, John, along with their children, Olivia (16) and Benjamin (13), relocated to Sanibel after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. She’s been an island resident and culinary treasure ever since. •Inspirations: That is ever changing. Right now I am into the fresh local stuff. I like to play around with odd flavor combinations. Sometimes Read more…

Sweet Melissa’s: Fresh, Local Food on Sanibel Island

This Fort Myers area restaurant celebrates five years in its current location By Gina Birch Fort Myers Local ExpertAUGUST 1, 2014 Sweet Melissa’s Café, one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the Fort Myers area, is celebrating five years of tantalizing taste buds at its current location on Sanibel Island’s famed Periwinkle Way. Other than a friendly hostess, an open kitchen greets guests as they enter the café; it’s a perfect vantage point to see the energetic Executive Chef Read more…

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