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The Hut , Ft. Myers , FL (restaurant)

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Name:The Hut
Street:5150 Buckingham Rd.
City:Ft. Myers

The Hut was located out in the sticks north east of Ft. Myers proper. The restaurant has a long history in the area and is a classic story of a merchant marine sailor marrying a Tahitian princess and returning to the states to start a restaurant reminiscent of that trip. Unfortunately the Hut has now closed after many many years in operation. Though I lived in the Ft. Myers for years I never went to the Hut but my sister still lives in the area and may be able to add some more info. I do know that at one time they had a whole cocktail menu and served many in Tiki mugs. Also at one time the decor was very Tiki and even had a Polynesian floor show. Not much more information to go on than that without being in the area but maybe we dig up some more. I'll have some pics up in a few minutes. Thanks.

Here is a little history from a restaurant review.

"HISTORY OF THE HUT Edwin Peace, a German man sailed in the merchant marines. Upon his ship landing in Tahiti he met Princess Ramira Stephagee. He offered a pocket knife for Princess Ramira's hand in marriage. The couple choose to reside in Fort Myers and acquired the property where the Hut sits today. Mr. Peace began experimenting growing various species of rare tropical plants. He was granted permission to import plants from all around the world, and succeeded in growing a tropical wonderland, which was admired and enjoyed by frequent visitors and friend, Thomas Edison. As a result of the close friendship between Edison and Peace, many rare specimens on the Edison Estate today came from the Peace Gardens. Edwin and Lolita raised two children. A son, Oscar and a daughter, Lolita. Lolita became a famous Tahitian dancer and now resides in Miami. Oscar joined the Navy, and since retired to North Carolina and is now deceased. Princess Ramira Stephagee Peace died in 1967, and the children inherited the Peace Tropical Gardens. Upon Lolita and Oscar parting ways, together they sold the property to Marie Louise Books Rector, who with her husband, owned and operated the famous Newagen Inn, in Newagen Maine, and the Royal Palm Hotel in Fort Myers. Marie had a dream for the newly acquired property. . . . In her dream, she visualized the gardens restored to their natural beauty, and a majestic tropical restaurant standing on the adjunct property in the unique and beautiful community of Buckingham. The dream became a reality and remains today for all to enjoy. The Hut Restaurant, a gem amongst the gardens. Perfect for a romantic dinner for two, a casual outing with a group of friends, celebrating a birthday with family and much more. We hope you will visit The Hut Restaurant, Tiki Lounge and Tropical Gardens soon where the entire staff will do their utmost in making your evening out a memorable occasion."

A couple of vintage "milk glass" coffee cups I picked up this weekend.

Artist rendering of the restaurant.

Matchbook fro my collection.

A view of the grounds.

These photos are from Marv of the Legacy Harbour Marina and date from 2008.

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2010-05-02 07:13 ]

[ Edited by: uncle trav 2010-08-05 15:23 ]


Here is a bad copy of the small cocktail offering at the Hut. I am not sure of the date of the menu but I think this is a later version. The mug appears to be the "Disney Polynesian Village" type. I talked with my sister and she remembers the front doors having carved Tikis on them and a few Tikis around the grounds.

Wow, yet ANOTHER Tiki temple in the Fort Myers area! Now closed? Dang, the photos look so recent! What a cool roof line.


Sven I'll see if I can get Savage Sissy to do a drive and check out what is left and take a few pictures.

We will try and do a drive by sometime this week. The place was closed for 3 years a while back and be fore that they had a Elvis impersonator on Fridays so who knows? will get back to you soon.


Here is a little taste of what Kabuddhabuddha came up with.

The hut property is up for sale again after a short run as The Hot Spot. They tried to turn the hut into a sports bar with tons of TV screens and a bike night. Didn't last long. Here is a copy of an article from the Ft. Myers News Press and some photos. A big thanks to Kabuddhabuddha for doing the ground work.

From the Ft. Myers News Press
"The Hut Restaurant & Peace Tropical Gardens have always had a mystique deep in the Buckingham community.
Located off of Buckingham Road just north of Peace Road, the landmark 5.22 acres has a long history surrounding the 10,000-square-foot restaurant and gardens that rival those at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.
It's like a tropical oasis in the midst of rural farm land. Yet today, after almost a decade of owning his own piece of paradise, property owner Dennis Henderson is ready to sell.
The local shrimping business mogul owns a number of shrimp boats as well as a well-known restaurant on U.S. 41, Skip One Seafood Market in south Fort Myers.
"It's going to take someone really special to run this place," Henderson said. "It was too far out for me, and didn't work. When I bought it we had a few extra dollars. It's a nice, beautiful place, dug the pond out and had the waterfalls redone."
Henderson said he's invested at least $2.5 million in the property. He closed it briefly for renovations, redoing the kitchen in 2004. He and his partner continued the tradition of bringing The Hut back to its roots, as a tropical Polynesian restaurant, with luaus and authentic cuisine.
Established in 1973, the restaurant has drawn guests for decades due to its off-the-beaten-path outside tiki lounge setup, with a boardwalk that leads around the gardens.
In the 1920s Thomas Edison visited the gardens that belonged to horticulturist German Edwin Peace and his wife, a Tahitian princess by the name of Ramira Staphagee.
They met when Peace was working in the coconut plantations in Tahiti and oversaw the production of Danish butter.
Local real estate agent Tom Woodyard of Woodyard and Associates said it's a tough time to sell such a property, which is listed at $1.3 million. It's been on the market since the end of July.
"In its former years, it was always used for weddings, corporate office parties, birthdays and anniversaries," Woodyard said. "The property backs up to a little tributary off the Orange River. We've got hundreds of calls on it, but the biggest challenge is they can't get the bank to finance it."
"That's really been the holdup, there's a tremendous amount of interest."
Woodyard said after Henderson's substantial remodeling the building is in good shape.
"It really is a landmark - everyone knows where it is, but nobody wants to pay full price," Woodyard said. "Everything is negotiation or lack of financing by the banks."
The property was most recently a club called the Hot Spot.
"It's been a loss for four years now," Henderson admitted of the property. "It's costing $10,000 a month in payments and all the other stuff that went with it."
Nevertheless, the gardens are too appealing to stay empty for long, said neighbor Kara Alfaro. She owns Elata Natives, a landscaping and design company.
"We would like to see it opened back up as The Hut restaurant," Alfaro said. "There's limited commercial allowed in Buckingham."

From this

Too this.

The side door with a vintage carving.

Views of the garden.

phinz posted on Sun, Aug 22, 2010 4:02 PM

Wish I had known about this place when I lived in Bonita.

Aba posted on Sun, Aug 12, 2012 6:35 PM

i grew up in right off hwy 31 in lee county. my dad would take me and my mom out to the hut on special occasions. this was in 1982. my dad bought me a 8 track of the band that was playing there. I've been back a few times since moving to lakeland and geting married. im 36 and just found out about it being closed, it really broke my heart to hear that it was turned into a bar/grill, and now closed. the waitresses would wear Hawaiian dresses that were long to there ankles and had a slit in them up to there hip. once when i was like 9 i asked one of them to dance, to my surprise she did. when i was a kid that place was magical, not to mention best frog legs around. lol well if anyone knows of another place like this feel free to let me know. romantic and out of the way. thanks.

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