FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 24, 2014) – Thirty-six years adds up to a lot of stories and memories. Engagements, weddings, first dates, business negotiations, political fundraisers, anniversaries and much more have all occurred at downtown Fort Myers’ restaurant institution, the Veranda.

The restaurant’s owners want to hear these stories and are asking patrons to share their memories for a chance to win a $100 gift card to the Veranda.

Beginning May 1 until Oct. 31, 2014, anyone who shares a story on the Veranda’s Facebook or Twitter pages will be eligible to win a monthly drawing for a $100 gift card.

“Everyone has a Veranda story,” said Craig Peden, who owns and operates the Veranda with his father Paul. “The Veranda has a special place in so many lives and we want our guests to share their stories with us.”

To participate, visit and ‘Like’ the Veranda’s Facebook page at, or visit its Twitter page at

According to Peden, patrons can share as many stories and as often as they’d like on the restaurant’s social media pages and do not have to reside in Southwest Florida.

“We are proud to be celebrating 36 years of operation,” he said. “We could not have survived more than three decades without continually providing an exceptional dining experience in an idyllic setting.”

The Veranda is housed in two, turn-of-the-century Victorian homes in the heart of downtown Fort Myers. The restaurant features Southern regional cuisine with a full bar, extensive wine list and first-class service in a romantic setting. Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. A mid-day menu is served Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. Dinner is served Monday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. Private dining is also available for 10 to 400 guests. Live entertainment is featured in the Veranda’s piano lounge Wednesday through Saturday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30. Valet or street parking is available.

For reservations and more information, call 239-332-2065 or visit

About the Veranda

The story of the Veranda is ingrained in the City of Fort Myers’ own history. In the early 1850s, a fort on the Caloosahatchee River was reactivated and named for Colonel Abraham Myers. The fort contained 57 buildings, a hospital, lawns and gardens. A trading post pioneer by the name of Manuel Gonzalez delivered supplies and mail to the fort in his riverboat. After Seminole Chief Billy Bowlegs surrendered in 1858, the fort was abandoned until 1863 when a small number of Federal troops re-occupied the fort during the Civil War. After the war, the fort was again deserted. In 1866, Captain Gonzalez returned to the fort with his five-year-old son Manuel to become the first known residents of Fort Myers. For years, the Gonzalez family would operate a trading post on the site of the present Federal Building.

In 1902, young Manuel Gonzales built two houses at the corner of Second Street and Broadway. He and his family occupied the corner house, while the second home was built for his mother and was located adjacent to the first house (in what is now the Veranda’s parking lot).

In the early 1970s, Peter Pulitzer, son of the publisher, joined the two houses for his long-time fishing buddy, Fingers O’Bannon.

The original kitchen building from the second house, along with a secluded landscaped garden courtyard featuring a waterfall and Koi pond, now joins the two houses.