It’s not easy being all things to all people at all hours, which may explain the dearth of locally owned restaurants serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. But at Gather in Cape Coral, the owners and staff have been meeting the challenge with ease, starting at 7 a.m., six days a week.
The waterfront restaurant is located at Tarpon Point Marina, adjacent to the Westin Resort at Marina Village. Besides being a convenient amenity for resort guests, Tarpon Point residents and area boaters, Gather is designed to be a place where anyone and everyone can gather, day or night, to eat, drink and socialize. Hence the name.
“Gather is a perfect place to meet for business or pleasure or both,” says Valeria Zanella Voisin. She and her husband, Ben, are partners in the restaurant with Tim and Meredith Hoffman, also husband and wife. They are the same restaurateurs behind Fathoms and The French Press, which opened in nearby Cape Harbour in 2014 and Black Salt Culinary Catering, which opened in 2015. While both restaurants have been popular draws for the southwestern Cape, Gather’s stunning décor, comfortable lounge and indoor/outdoor seating options are uniquely appealing.
“Gather is very different from Fathoms,” Voisin adds. “Here, we have the ability to play more with what we do. We don’t offer the conventional; we try to be different.”
Not surprisingly, much of what makes Gather unique is reflected in its diverse menu, a creative collaboration between owner-chef Ben Voisin, fellow Frenchman and chef Fabrice Deletrain, and sous chef Tim Hessenbruch, formerly of Fathoms and more recently, a chef in Colorado. Showcasing their collective global experience, it features original dishes with an international flair, as well as traditional cuisine with a twist. The breakfast menu exemplifies the latter.
For example, unlike the usual poached eggs-and-hollandaise Eggs Benedict, Gather’s version contains sous vide eggs served with a key lime cilantro hollandaise. Sous vide is a method of cooking in low-temperature water that produces the perfect poached egg with a hot, liquid yolk and a nicely set white. While the key lime hollandaise sounds fairly straightforward, the addition of cilantro makes the sauce indescribably delicious.
Similarly, Gather adds interest to its Egg White Vegetable Frittata with flavorful components such as Manchego cheese (produced in Spain from sheep’s milk) and caramelized onion. Other morning menu items include Greek Yogurt & Orange Zest Pancakes, Donut Bread Pudding French Toast and a variety of European pastries, to name a few. Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m., although Gather’s popular organic coffee is always available.
Starting at 11:30 a.m., the combined lunch/dinner menu offers made-to-order sandwiches, salads and entrees. Best selling entrees include Braised Pork Cheeks (served with roasted tomato and basil polenta, and a cocoa pork braisage), Lamb Meatball Spaghetti and the Fruto Di Mare Fettuccini (shrimp, scallops, calamari, clams and spinach in a saffron cream, served over Gather’s own freshly prepared pasta).
Other popular items include a Watermelon & Heirloom Tomato Burrata (mint arugula pesto with prosciutto, black salt and organic olive oil) and the OMG Burger (as in “Oh My Gather!”). In addition to Black Angus beef, the burger’s key ingredients include crispy Serrano ham, compressed tomato and Brulée goat cheese. It is served with French fries.
The Gathering Plates menu contains items meant for sharing, although hungry guests often keep the restaurant’s signature Chicken & Waffle to themselves. Other shareable plates include a Charcuterie & Cheese Board (imported meats and worldwide cheeses selected by the chef), Spicy Lime & Cilantro Shrimp, Cumin Grilled Lamb Lollipop (served with yogurt eggplant Tzatziki sauce), Seared Octopus, Crispy Duck Wings and more.
From 4 p.m. until close, guests also may order lighter fare from Gather’s Nibbles menu. Highlights include Sweet Corn Croquettes (served with lime paprika mayo), Beef Empanadas and a Snack Trio of pickled olives, spicy cashews and bacon salt popcorn. The popcorn alone also may be ordered for just $3 and is a favorite with lounge-goers.
Speaking of which, one of Gather’s main attractions is its inviting bar and lounge. Besides beer and wine, Gather serves some of Southwest Florida’s most creative handcrafted cocktails. Among the many libations concocted by general manager and chief mixologist Jeremy Vincent are the Hibiscus Fizz (hibiscusinfused gin, house-made strawberry soda and other unexpected ingredients) and the fruity, flaming Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic (black rum with pineappleinfused brandy, tropical fruit juices and more). These and other specialty cocktails can be found in Gather’s frameworthy illustrated drink menu.
Daily specials, weekly promotions and special events also have made Gather a local hot spot. Each day from 2 p.m. — 6 p.m., Happy Hour specials include $3 beer, $5 well drinks and $8 craft cocktails. There’s also a Reverse Happy Hour from 10 p.m. —midnight on Friday and Saturday. On Wednesdays, from 4 p.m. on, bottles of wine costing $50 or less are half-priced. Starting Sundays at 6 p.m., Industry Night offers hospitality workers a free appetizer with every drink.
Gather stays especially busy on weekends, with a deejay in the lounge every Friday night and a live musical performance every third Saturday. Typically, Gather promotes these events on Facebook, where it maintains an active presence.
To accommodate those on the go, Gather offers take-out service, which includes all menu items, as well as alcohol by the bottle (beer, wine and liquor). It also accepts orders for picnics to go, which has proven especially popular with boaters.
(Gather is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner at 5971 Silver King Boulevard at Tarpon Point Marina in Cape Coral. Hours are from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. during the week and as late as 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Full liquor bar with daily Happy Hour and various promotions during the week. Indoor and patio seating. Take-out service available. For more information, please visit www. gathercape.com or call 239-542-0707.)