Thanks to our friends at The Islander for this update. Excerpt of article by Tiffany Repecki follows. We’ll keep you posted on the re-opening as we learn more!
The Jacaranda Restaurant has switched hands and the new owners are nearing an opening date.
Re-opening as The Jac Island Grille and Rum Bar, Eve and Alex Alves purchased the restaurant from Dr. Darayes Mobed, who had owned the venue since 2005, in November. Over the past couple of months, Eve Alves has been gutting and updating the site for her farm-to-table scratch kitchen and restaurant.
“It’s a total remodel,” she said, adding that the plumbing and wiring had to be redone. “Brand new tile in and out. The bathrooms were redone. We built a bar inside the restaurant to open it up.”
Alves described the new decor as Sanibel Island-y. “So it’s a lot of light wood,” she said of the before and after. “It’s like day and night.”
Born and raised in the restaurant business, Alves’ parents immigrated from Cyprus in the 1940s. Residing in New York and later Miami, the first family restaurant was a Jewish deli in 1968. “He had a total of five restaurants,” she said of her father.
Alves attended culinary school in London, England. She had a restaurant in Key Largo, which was part of the family for 36 years, and has owned and operated Luna Rossa Italian Grill, in the Miromar Outlets in Fort Myers, for about a decade.
“All of my restaurants are scratch kitchens,” Alves said. “Everything’s made in-house.”
Farm-to-table means locally-grown organic vegetables and fresh seafood and meat.
“We take pride in what we serve and what goes on the plate,” she said.
Philipe Schroeder has been hired as the executive chef. After attending culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco, Schroeder has since worked in premier restaurants in Hawaii and Texas.
“I think the biggest thing that I want to bring to the table here is freshness,” when asked about the new Jac Island Grille and Rum Bar menu.
“It’ll be a lot of local seafood and some really good steaks — all cut in-house. I make my own bread and buns,” he said. “A couple of pasta dishes, and we’re going to be making that fresh in house.”
In the scratch kitchen-manner, all of the desserts will also be made in-house. There will also be plenty of gluten-free options.
“I want this to be a restaurant worth going to, a destination all by itself,” he added.
The Jac Island Grille and Rum Bar, located at 1223 Periwinkle Way, will be open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 a.m., serving lunch and dinner. On Saturdays and Sundays, it will open at 9 a.m. to serve up brunch.
April 10th has been officially recognized as Gopher Tortoise Day!
The goal of Gopher Tortoise Day is to increase awareness and appreciation for these long lived, gentle reptiles.
Gopher tortoises are considered a “keystone species” because they dig burrows that provide shelter for 360 other species of wildlife, called “commensals.” These commensal species include the gopher frog, Florida mouse, eastern indigo snake, and hundreds of invertebrates like beetles and crickets. Without the gopher tortoise, many of these species would not exist.
Wildlife officials report that spring days are a good time to spot a gopher tortoise as the species becomes more active, foraging for food and searching for a mate.
Sanibel Island sustains a sizable population of gopher tortoises, which inhibit conservation lands, residential neighborhoods and commercial properties.
(Dina has one in her front yard, too!)
The species needs plenty of sandy sunny habitats with an open tree canopy to thrive and survive, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Officials advise that it is best to leave gopher tortoises and their half-moon shaped burrow entrances alone. It is illegal to disturb or harm them, their burrows or their eggs.
Habitat destruction is the main threat to its species’ population. CROW treats an average of 60-75 gopher tortoises annually, and their main reason for admission is from being ‘HBC’ (Hit By Car). As of April 5, CROW had eight gopher tortoises recovering in the hospital.
To help a gopher tortoise cross a road, pick it up and place it on the roadside in the direction it was heading. Remember that the tortoise is a land animal, so never attempt to put it into water.
CROW will host a “Patient Profiles: Gopher Tortoises” program on April 14 at 2 p.m. for those interested in learning more about the species and how the medical staff treats injured tortoises.
Another cool photo from Andy. Look closely! Can you see it?
It’s an Anhinga seen at The Dunes nestling in the sheltered water habitat they prefer.
You can often spot an anhinga perched on a branch with wings outstretched, drying its feathers. The fact that their feathers are less water resistant than other birds helps them to swim underwater.
Although not particularly fast swimmers, they are effective aquatic hunters, relying on their quick necks and sharp bills to catch prey. They target slower-moving species of fish and stalk them underwater, finally striking out with their long neck and spearing the prey with the beak. They then bring the prey above water and manipulate it in order to swallow the fish head first.
Did you know? Male anhingas have much brighter colors than their female counterparts. Males have black crests and greenish-black plumage overall, accentuated by silver-gray feathers on the upper back and wings that are edged with long white plumes. By contrast, females are brown with a light brown head and neck and are much less vivid.
Coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world and worth more than $6 billion to the state of Florida alone. Corals, however, are dying at an unprecedented rate because of global and local threats such as climate change, ocean acidification, and disease outbreaks.
Mote Marine Laboratory scientist Dr. Erinn M. Muller aims to understand how these threats are impacting reefs around the world and identify corals that are resilient to the stressors.
On Friday, April 6, she will be presenting two free programs titled “Coral Restoration” at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., part of the 2018 “Ding” Darling Lecture Series at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.
The staff scientist and program manager of the Coral Health and Disease Program at Mote Marine in Sarasota, Fla., earned her doctorate in biology from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla., studying “Spatial and temporal dynamics of coral disease in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.”
Dr. Muller has written numerous published papers on coral bleaching and disease and has won several awards for her work, including the International Society for Reef Studies Young Scientist of the Year Award in 2015.
Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis.
As usual, Wildlife Drive closes on Friday, but visitors are welcome to enjoy the free Visitor & Education Center, Indigo Trail, and recreational opportunities at Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s official recreation concession located at its Tarpon Bay Recreation Area.
For more information, call 1-239-472-1100, ext. 241 or log on to dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/lecture-and-film-series.
Grabbing a few shots from Andy’s camera to share with you today!
He was all excited after his latest visit to The Dunes, where he saw hundreds of Lesser Scaups, a rare sight indeed. From everyone he talked to, the consensus was that it might have been the first time that species had ever been seen there.
Fun fact from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
The Lesser Scaup spend the winter farther south than any other diving duck in their genus (Aythya) — some go as far south as Central America and the Caribbean.
We know of at least one bird lover who was certainly glad these fellas made a pit stop on Sanibel!
“Count your rainbows. Not your thunderstorms.”
– Alyssa Knight
Should you have any photos you’d like to share, please email them to Dina@OceansReach.com.