Cheeseburgers in Paradise

By JoNell Modys

It's not all seafood. Check out the mouthwatering burgers you'll find on Florida's Paradise Coast.

The next time you find yourself in need of a “big warm bun and a huge hunk of meat” as described in Jimmy Buffett’s cult favorite tune “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” Florida’s Paradise Coast of Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades has some great choices to feed both your food fantasies and your stomach. Be warned, however, that you’ll need more than just one day to sample all of these carnivorous creations.

Any cheeseburger in paradise mission in this area needs to include a stop at Brooks Gourmet Burgers and Dogs, just around the corner from Fifth Avenue on Tamiami Trail in downtown Naples. They’ve appeared on TripAdvisor’s list of the 10 Best Burger Restaurants in the U.S., which means this place is busy – really busy – so you might try going early for lunch or after the main lunch rush.

Paradise on a plate at Brooks Gourmet Burgers & Dogs.

All the specialty burgers on owner Todd Brooks’ menu are made with a half pound of all natural black angus beef, with options for boneless chicken breast, turkey, veggie and bison burgers as well. You can choose from 20 options ranging from the classic to the California with tomato, avocado and cheddar cheese to the Western with onion ring, bacon, barbeque sauce and cheddar, or go gourmet with the Fig & F.I.N.E. topped with buttered onions, fig jam and goat cheese.

I recently dined with a group of international guests at the Catch of the Pelican, the new signature seafood restaurant at Naples Grande Beach Resort. The resort’s general manager, who was seated to my right, commented that my seafood entrée was certainly the best thing on the menu, but he just can’t pass up the Kobe Beef Burger, which has become his current favorite. It’s an 8-ounce patty of Kobe beef served with caramelized onions, gruyere cheese and tomato confit.

It's an 8-ounce patty of Kobe beef served with caramelized onions, gruyere cheese and tomato confit.

Jimmy P.’s Butcher Shop & Deli should be credited with bringing quality Kobe (Wagyu) beef to the attention of Naples shopper and diners. They got so crowded serving Kobe burgers in their small store’s deli that they recently opened a restaurant, Charred, right next door. Many of the top chefs in the area get their top shelf beef and exotic meats from Jimmy’s as well.

For a nice taste of paradise with your cheeseburger, Quinn’s on the Beach at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort is certainly a spot to add to your list. The Marriott Burger comes with aged cheddar, smoked bacon and onion straws. Other options include the Blue Burger or a Crab Cake Burger. If you go at sunset your cheeseburger in paradise comes with entertainment as well. Live fire dancers and lots of other entertainment makes this outing extra special.

*This article originally appeared in The News-Press (Fort Myers)