Over the years, many inquiries have been made about the true history of the Veranda Restaurant. We read some local history books and feel we have compiled a concise, accurate account of the history of the Veranda…
Driven farther South by each treaty, Indians had retreated to south Florida, where they lived in peace. Cattlemen wanted their grazing lands, however, so Congress offered Indians a bounty to move west, and when they refused, sent in troops.
In early 1850, a fort on the Caloosahatchee River was reactivated and named for Colonel Abraham Myers. It contained 57 buildings, a hospital, lawns and gardens; Manuel Gonzales delivered supplies and mail in his sloop.
After eight troubled years, Chief Billy Bowlegs surrendered and the fort stood empty, except during the War Between the States, when it was one of the four Union forts in Florida.
Captain Gonzales returned to the fort with his five-year-old son Manuel; they repaired a house in the fort while friends went back for wives and household goods. The Gonzales family operated a trading post on the site of the present Federal Building, and Mrs. Gonzales was the first teacher in the little community that developed around it.Manuel Gonzales – Veranda Builder
Young Manuel Gonzales built two houses at the corner of Second Street and Broadway. The corner house, built in 1902, was occupied by he and his family. The second, was built for his mother, and was located adjacent to the first house, in what is now the Veranda’s parking lot.
The two houses were joined by Peter Pulitzer, son of the publisher, in the early 1970’s for his long-time fishing buddy, Fingers O’Bannon. The original kitchen building from the second house, along with a secluded garden courtyard, now joins the two houses. Paul Peden bought the two buildings in 1978 and transformed them into the Veranda.
Since Peden opened the Veranda, it has been consistently honored as one of the most award-winning restaurants in Southwest Florida. Its unique setting in two Turn-of-the-Century homes makes the Veranda a truly charming and romantic place to dine.
The Veranda restaurant, located on the corner of Second Street and Broadway in the heart of Downtown Fort Myers is open for dinner Monday – Saturday 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Closed Sundays. Piano Bar entertainment Monday – Saturday. Attire is “dressy casual”. Garden Courtyard and Indoor Dining. Private Dining Rooms and Banquets are available for any event. Reservations are recommended at any time of the year. (239) 332-2065. American Express, Discover, Master Card & Visa are accepted. Join us soon for the dining experience of a lifetime!