by SC Reporter Reese Holiday
photo by SC Associate Publisher Chuck Larsen
Blue Giraffe is owned by Bill Letendre and his son Geoffrey. The Letendre’s took over the original location at Periwinkle Place Shopping Center in 2016 and have been serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to Sanibel residents and visitors since.
Restaurant Manager Brad MacKenzie said they are expanding to their second location to serve the surrounding golf community. He said that Malia had success there, which they hope to continue.
“The spot has been a restaurant, and it’s been a successful restaurant,” MacKenzie said. “I think we have the opportunity to do that again.”
Unlike its original location, the new Blue Giraffe is offering a clubhouse membership to create a unique dining experience. Blue Giraffe clubhouse members have access to pool tables, shuffleboards, a television viewing area and more in an adult-only entertainment area, as well as receive special food and beverage prices.
Blue Giraffe clubhouse members are also able to make reservations online for the private dining room. This membership is separate from the golf club and the main dining area of the restaurant is open to the public.
In terms of any menu changes, MacKenzie said the basic menu will be the same, but breakfast won’t be served at the new location. Items like their signature burgers, fresh seafood and salads will be served at the new Blue Giraffe, but exclusive specials will be offered that can’t be found at the original restaurant.
“The basic menu will be similar, but the new Blue Giraffe will have extensive specials, up-scale entrées and other specials that aren’t available at the original Blue Giraffe,” MacKenzie said.
With the Letendre’s serving Sanibel residents and visitors for more than four years, the Blue Giraffe has remained a family owned business. However, MacKenzie said the family doesn’t just include the Letendre’s – both customers and employees enjoy working, dining and being a part of the family as well.
“It’s a family place and it’s been nice to join that family,” MacKenzie added. “The waiters and the servers and the kitchen are people that have been there for quite a while, so it feels like an intimate place to work.”
By opening their second location, MacKenzie said the Blue Giraffe hopes to extend their family to new customers, such as they did earlier this year when they participated in the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife’s major annual fundraiser and the always-popular food festival Taste of the Islands.
“I think the community surrounding the Blue Giraffe is a family,” MacKenzie said. “It’s an extended community family of people who care about the Blue Giraffe, the owners, the food and the experience.”