Recently the Discriminating Diner ventured to downtown Fort Myers for a late lunch. We chose Ford's Garage as our destination. Ford's Garage is located on First Street in Historic Downtown Fort Myers and offers burgers and a huge selection of beers...actually huge is an understatement as our server told us there were 200 different types of bottled beers on their beer menu.
We were there off peak lunch time so we were able to really enjoy the atmosphere. The decor is all about Ford and a garage just as their name indicates. There is a replica Ford hanging out over the bar which adds a novelty factor. They really paid attention to detail in the decor as the napkins are auto towels with clamps as napkin rings. The sugars and sweeteners are in these cute little baskets right on your table. The bar area in large with ample seating and the dining area is a casual mix of booths and tables. They have a nice sound system for music however playing club music at lunch time is perhaps not the best choice.
The lunch menu is a limited version of their dinner menu and offers mainly burgers with some lighter fares such as salads, appetizers and sliders. We started out with a small order of Piston Rings. Small in number (4) large in size however $6.50 was a bit steep considering the amount of breading used. They are served with some dippers which were adequate. We then each had a burger, The American Standard - Bert Blyleven ($8.50) and the Black N Bleu - Sheriff Mike Scott ($10). Both burgers came with fries served in a cute basket and where very tasty. The burger were cooked perfectly and the flavor profiles were spot on. When it comes to burgers they pay attention to detail and offer a really good burger for the price.
At dinner they offer a build your own burger called The Assembly Line Burger Bar which offers different burger such as Free Range Chicken and Turkey, Ahi Tuna, American Wagyu Kobe and Veggie. You then get to pick your toppings such as cheese board with 12 types of cheeses ($1.50 each). From the Grill offers 5 toppings such as roasted red peppers, sauteed mushrooms, grilled and caramelized onions and grilled Jalapenos ($1.00 each) From the Garden offers 11 choices (.75 each) Burger Bling with 8 choices like applewood smoked bacon, fried egg, onion ring and more ($2.00 each). they also offer 13 different sauces for your burger (.50 each).
We also tried 2 desserts Mom's Rum Cake which is a homemade yellow cake glazed with Baccardi dark rum and sprinkled with walnuts. This is delicious and is a rather large serving - enough for 2 for $6.00. The other was the Hot Apple Pie for $6.00 which was outstanding!!! both desserts were fresh tasting and a nice ending to a great lunch.
We did wish however that they paid as much attention to their service as they did with other aspects of their restaurant. Granted this is a casual restaurant - bar but with the quality food and prices to match the service could be a bit tighter. It is the details that really matter. Things like serving the entree before one is finished with the appetizers, not clearing the appetizer plates away, not always keep drinks refilled. We observed other things like people waiting to be seated because the hostess was not present and there was nobody else on the floor. The hostess was playing with her hair and putting her hair up all while at her station. One hostess we could easily observer her texting on her phone. Apparently she knew she was not suppose to be doing this because she kept it hidden and out of site but from where we were sitting it was very noticeable. Why they are allowed to keep their phones at the hostess station in the first place is something management needs to address. We were present for change of shift and there were times there were no servers on the floor aside from the bartender.
Overall though Ford's Garage is a great spot for burgers when in downtown Fort Myers. I am not sure it is a destination spot but certainly worth stopping in for lunch or dinner when you are already downtown.