Flavia and Chef Geoffrey Letendre
Bill, Lise, Geoffrey and Flavia Letendre
Blue Giraffe Full Bar
Blue Giraffe Outdoor Dining Patio
Blue Giraffe Restaurant
December 27, 2017
By MEGHAN McCOY (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander
With the ownership changing a little more than a year ago, Blue Giraffe underwent a makeover, giving the restaurant a nice clean look with a great deal of focus on the breakfast, lunch and dinner menu options.
"We want to be another option where the food is priority. Guest satisfaction is our highest goal. We are starting our sophomore year here and we want to please the locals and the tourists," Geoffrey Letendre, co-owner of the Blue Giraffe, said.
Letendre, who grew up on the island and attended Sanibel Elementary School and Cypress Lake Middle School, purchased Blue Giraffe with his father last year.
After middle school, his family moved to Texas, where they resided for the past 20 years. Letendre said they continued to vacation on the island, both Sanibel and Captiva, while living out west. Last July while vacationing on the island, he said his dad saw that the Blue Giraffe was for sale and asked if he wanted to go in on a deal with him. They took over Blue Giraffe in October 2016.
Letendre said he graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. The passion for food, meeting people and working in a kitchen, has kept his interest for the past 20 years. His last job before moving to the area, was at the Cheesecake Factory as a chef, executive kitchen manager, for five years. "I've been cooking for a long time, which is why we wanted to get into the restaurant business," Letendre said.
The family decided to keep the restaurant's name, Blue Giraffe, because his dad likes giraffes and he thought it was kind of funky. "We decided to keep it and kind of ran with it," Letendre said. Letendre and his wife Flavia are running the business, both teaming up with working the front and the back of the restaurant. "We both have hands in the food," he said.
The couple recently finished remodeling the inside of the restaurant. He said Hurricane Irma changed the schedule. Instead of closing Sept. 15, through Sept. 20, they closed on Sept. 8 and pushed back the opening date to Sept. 24.
"We painted the inside. We put in new fans. We did things here and there. Nothing crazy, just some cosmetic and aesthetic repair," Letendre said. "We kind of cleaned up the inside. We went with less is more. It's focused on the food. The atmosphere, of course we want to keep nice and clean and simple, but the food is what you are coming in for."
After taking over the business they decided there needed to be another location for breakfast in the middle of the island, since the east and west end were pretty much covered. "There were about four places to go and we wanted to be in the middle of the island," Letendre said.
Blue Giraffe now opens at 7 a.m., serving breakfast until noon. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., or close.
Some of the breakfast items include fried chicken and biscuits, sausage and gravy; fishermen's benedict, seared salmon with tomato, spinach and a key lime hollandaise sauce and the Charley, scrambled eggs, salsa verde, potatoes, pepper jack cheese, tortilla chips and sour cream served in a tortilla bowl. "My dog is named Charley, so we wanted to get him on the menu," Letendre said.
The restaurant also offers the typical breakfast items, such as pancakes, French toast, stuffed French toast, strawberry piano colada cakes. In addition, coffee that is roasted in Cape Coral is also served at the Blue Giraffe. "We try to keep it local," he said. So far, breakfast has been received well with "nice steady regulars."
"We know it is going to take sometime because people have their routines with their vacations. We want to give them a nice open, pet friendly patio, a place to come and have breakfast," Letendre said. "If we keep serving good food and the service is good, I think people will show up."
As far as the lunch menu, some favorites include the Cuban sandwich; fried chicken BLT served with black pepper, brown sugar bacon; fish tacos and blackened mahi with mango salsa. Dinner items includes a seafood pasta; pork chops with homemade apple sauce and the drunken grouper, a blackened grouper with Captain Morgan on top served with seasoned vegetables. In addition, two soups are served, clam chowder and chicken tortilla. "We try to serve as much food as possible," Letendre said.
Blue Giraffe is located in Periwinkle Place, 2075 Periwinkle Way, Unit 14. Letendre said people are welcome to park in the back of the building, due to the proximity to the restaurant. "If you don't see any cars at the front of Periwinkle Place, check out the back of Periwinkle Place. That's were people park to come to the Giraffe," he said.