Periwinkle Place Restaurant Gets OK to Expand

by SC Reporter Wendy McMullen

Blue Giraffe is currently operating a food truck in the parking lot of Periwinkle Place, where the restaurant is located. The shopping center suffered damage from Hurricane Ian and has been closed. SC photo by Wendy McMullen

The Blue Giraffe Restaurant in Periwinkle Place Shopping Center was given approval Tuesday, June 12 by the Sanibel Planning Commission to expand into the adjoining unit, formerly a clothing store, allowing the restaurant to add 32 seats.

This will increase the number of seats in the restaurant from 88 to 120.

City planners recommended approval of the application, noting it would not affect the exterior appearance or require substantial additional landscaping. There is also sufficient parking in the Periwinkle Place to accommodate more restaurant customers. One of the conditions was the bike parking will be retained next to the restaurant.

Periwinkle Place suffered damage from Hurricane Ian and Blue Giraffe has been operating a food truck in the parking lot of the shopping center until it can fully reopen in its permanent space.

Commissioner Laura DeBruce noted the Blue Giraffe Restaurant was one of the first to set up a food truck with outdoor tables after Hurricane Ian closed all the eating establishments on the island.

“We applaud the fact that you got your food truck going and you set up in that parking lot and I think it was a great thing to try and to provide food for the people who are on the island,” commented DeBruce. “It was an impressive effort.”

“Our goal was to give some bit of a break of normalcy for people to detach themselves from the insurance calls, mucking out the inside of the house, all that we all were going through,” commented new owner Michael Puente. Their goal was to open the day that islanders could get back on the island but procuring the food trailer and getting it to the island took until December.

Michael Puente took over from Bill Letendre, who will stay connected with the restaurant in an advisory role.

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