Meaty Bites and Late Nights

So Many Delis, So Little Time
Whether you're the type who's happy to grab a bologna sandwich or who prefers to have the kitchen stocked with pancetta, provolone, and biscotti, there's a deli on the islands that will keep you smiling.
In fact, within the past year our deli scene has improved so markedly that the choices can be confounding. Here, then, is a geographic rundown of the mouth-watering treats that await you, starting on Sanibel's east end and heading up-island.
Rosie's Island Market & Deli is one of the latest entries to the island scene, and well worth a visit. The former Arnie's Grocery location is bright and cheery with fun graphics and a beverage-filled claw-foot tub. Rosie's menu offers up eye-opening delights like pierogies, homemade soups, capicola, broasted chicken, potato pancakes, and pizza pockets. You'll also find a full deli counter and market brimming with goodies. 362 Periwinkle Way on the east end, 941-472-6656.
East End Deli, just across the street, makes sandwiches and subs to go, as well as tasty beans and rice. 359 Periwinkle Way, 941-472-9622.
Temptations lives up to its name with display cases full of yummy takeout, while a garden room, cappuccino bar, and counter seating beckon those wanting a relaxing full-service lunch or dinner. Chicken Pesto and Pretzel Logic are but two of the sandwiches fondly ordered here; they're joined by a vast array of artful salads. Get dessert to go and you'll discover the real reason for the restaurant's name. 1473 Periwinkle Way, 941-472-5700.
Periwinkle Way has lots of old favorites when it comes to delis, including, of course, Huxter's Market & Deli, with its famous fried chicken. Long appreciated by working folk for its lunch specials, Huxter's is a full-service deli and grocery. 1203 Periwinkle Way, 941-472-2151.
Isabella's Pizza carries Boar's Head meats and cheeses; customers can also get hot subs and sandwiches. 1528 Periwinkle Way, 941-472-0044.
The islands' two larger groceries, Jerry's and Bailey's, have large deli and meat departments; both serve a variety of hot lunch specials daily. Jerry's Foods, open late night, 1700 Periwinkle Way, 941-472-9300. Bailey's General Store, Periwinkle at Tarpon Bay Road, 941-472-1516.
Though not really a deli, Bullfeathers take-out restaurant will save the day if you're in a bind for a quick meal or snack. It's got great chicken, wings, and hickory-smoked ribs and is open until 9 p.m. 2407 Periwinkle Way, 941-395-1133.
Barney's Incredible Edibles has some delicious homemade frozen entrees for cooks without enough time. 2330 Palm Ridge Road, 941-472-2555.
Also on Palm Ridge is Mona Lisa's Pizzeria and Deli, featuring Boar's Head cold cuts and cheese sold by the pound or made into subs and sandwiches. 2440 Palm Ridge Road, 941-472-0212.
Captiva Island also has its share of great deli food. Gourmet Captiva, upstairs and across from South Seas Plantation's main entrance, sells tasty grilled chicken breasts as well as a good selection of meats, cheeses, and seafoods. Captiva Drive, 941-472-4200.
CW's Market & Deli, just across the street at South Seas Plantation, offers fresh sandwiches and pastries, as well as upscale goodies like biscotti, herb crackers, and fine wines. 941-472-5111.
Captiva's Island Store gets in on the deli action with sandwiches, a hot lunch special, and a selection of meats and cheeses. It's worth a visit just to sit out front and drink a soda. Locals come and go all day from this popular spot. 11500 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, 941-472-2374.
- compiled by Libby Boren McMillan