The Firestone Grill Room, Martini Bar and Skybar in downtown Fort Myers is marking a milestone. Now celebrating its 10th year in business, the three-story landmark remains the area’s premier one-stop dining, drinking and dancing spot.
When the restaurant opened its doors, it was the completion of a historic dining trifecta by the Kearns Restaurant Group. The Kearns operated The Edison at Fort Myers Country Club and began transforming the downtown dining scene alongside partner Mike McGuigan with the opening of Ford’s Garage. The Firestone was the last piece of the puzzle, with dining establishments representing the friendship of three of Southwest Florida’s most famous residents, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone.
Located in a 100-year-old building on Bay Street, The Firestone is a feast not only for the stomach but also the eyes. With exposed brick walls and an open kitchen, conveyor belts full of tires move around the perimeter of the high ceiling of the Grill Room and its loft. Vintage photos hang on the walls.
Yet, there is more to The Firestone than cool décor. The Grill Room is a chef-driven restaurant with a unique wood-fired grill that sets its food apart in the downtown dining scene. Rustic smokey flavors turn ordinary into extraordinary with dishes such as the Caesar Salad. Stalks of romaine lettuce are lightly charred and dressed in the restaurant’s signature Smoked Ancho- Parmesan Caesar Dressing. It’s topped with finely shaved shards of Parmesan cheese and fresh, salty anchovies. The salad is a Grill Room classic.
Another favorite, and an item that has been on The Firestone menu since it opened, is the Wood-Grilled Broccoli. It comes with creamy bleu cheese and red pepper coulis and is topped with crispy tempura flakes.
It would be a shame to have an oak-fired oven and not offer flatbreads. The Firestone Flatbread features sun-dried tomato, baby spinach, artichoke, goat cheese and mozzarella. A drizzle of port wine reduction puts it over the top in the flavor department. Balsamic reductions are used to brighten up both the Chicken Caprese and Prime Rib Flatbreads.
When it comes to entrees, Miso Butterfish rules the roost.
“It’s a dish that has stood the test of time,” says Zak Kearns, vice president of Kearns Restaurant Group. “It is so good. There is nothing quite like it.”
The generous portion of fish is immersed in a sweet soy glaze, and it melts in your mouth. Accompanied by saffron-infused rice and stir-fry vegetables, it is a near-perfect meal.
On the lighter side, the Grill Room serves seared Ahi Tuna, ceviche and several sushi rolls like Deep Sea Salmon. The smoked salmon is wrapped in squid ink sushi rice with togarashi, cream cheese and wakame salad. It comes with a sweet soy reduction that has just the right amount of savory notes.
For the carnivores, the Chef’s 32-ounce Tomahawk Steak is a head-turner when it comes out of the kitchen. The meat is a center-cut, long bone-in ribeye that is meant to share. Covered in decadent gorgonzola butter, demi-glace and crispy fried onions, the meal comes with a choice of three sides.
You’ll find the Martini Bar on the third floor. With its brick walls, large windows and high ceiling, it not only has got character but is also a good spot for private parties and events. The cocktail menu has signature and classic libations. A must-have martini is The Firestone Classic. It comes in its own shaker full of the spirit of your choice. Grey Goose Vodka or Nolet’s Gin are recommended.
Supermodel is another martini favorite. The deep pink drink is made with Ciroc Red Berry Vodka, Pama and a splash of cranberry juice. For an extra special touch, it’s topped with Champagne.
The rooftop Skybar is one of downtown’s most popular spots for happy hour and a picturesque sunset over the Caloosahatchee River. When the sun goes down, the atmosphere shifts. Cozy couches turn into VIP bottle service for the party crowd as some of the area’s best DJs pump up the party. An express elevator from the Grill Room’s lobby whisks guests up to the Skybar.
“One of the things that has given us so much longevity is our versatility,” says Kearns. “We have upgraded our look, our menus and what we offer, multiple times, to keep things fresh and exciting.”
As you are looking for a space to hold your holiday parties, The Firestone may be the perfect spot. The options are abundant in this spacious building, and the staff is adept at throwing parties.
Since opening 10 years ago, the restaurant group has negotiated a licensing deal with Bridgestone Firestone company. The deal is a seal of approval from the corporation, which would allow Kearns to expand The Firestone to a second location. However, replicating the Fort Myers operation’s historic building would be next to impossible. The Firestone truly is a one-of-kind drinking, dining and entertainment complex that shows no signs of slowing down.
The Firestone Grill Room, Martini Bar and Skybar is located at 2224 Bay St. in downtown Fort Myers. The Grill Room & Loft are open for dining Sunday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. Drinks are served in The Martini Bar Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. The Skybar is open for food and drink Sunday through Tuesday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. To get in touch, call 239-334-FIRE (3473) or visit www.FirestoneFL.com. Reservations are accepted. Private dining and event space are available. VIP bottle service is offered.
(At press time, The Firestone’s reopening plans following Hurricane Ian had yet to be confirmed. Please visit the restaurant’s website for the latest information.)