Coconut Jack’s is the newest of the waterfront restaurants and they are doing a great business for good reasons. Finally, someone knew what to do in the location that was formerly Vincenzo’s. They have taken full advantage of the outdoor and waterfront space by building a huge covered terrace overlooking Fish Trap Bay, some of the back bay waters of Estero Bay.
The chickee hut structure was actually built by Seminole Indians and beautifully crafted using pegged timbers and layers of local fronds for the roof. Then, modern conveniences were discreetly added in the way of misting fans (and pull down bug screens, if needed). There are indoor tables, if you prefer, but the atmosphere is so perfectly Floridian outside.
In keeping with the Florida setting and décor, a frozen concoction or one of the rum drinks is a good way to start. We’ve had good Mojitos here and enjoyed a variety of the house specialties like the Bikini Breeze and the Crazy Coconut. The wine list is not adventuresome but certainly adequate and you’ll find something there. The bottled beers outnumber the drafts and together they cover a spectrum.
In the appetizer department, we keep coming back to the conch fritters, the calamari and oysters Rockefeller. Both of the chowders – conch and New England – have been good and dependable.
The highlights of the sandwich and entree offerings are the Mambo Mahi Tacos, the blackened grouper sandwich, Fish-n-Chips (made with the grouper, not the basa), Fried Oysters and the Grouper entrée prepared either blackened or grilled.
Personally, I would not recommend saving money by ordering the basa instead of the grouper with the Fish ‘n Chips. Go the distance with the more expensive grouper fish as both the flavor and the texture are worth the added cost. Also, if you like sweet potato fries as much as we do, they have them.
Coconut Jack’s does not take reservations. Go early or be prepared to wait. Just FYI, they have live entertainment on Friday evenings so things get busy even earlier on that day. Hours are 11am to 11pm daily. As noted in the list for waterfront restaurants on this website, boaters can reach Coconut Jack’s by water.
The parking lot is tight so valet parking is mandatory. Be ready because the place is always busy and parking your own car is not an option. For God’s sake, don’t be fiddling with stuff last minute because otherwise the cars back up quickly and it puts a line of cars out into the traffic on Bonita Beach Road. Fair warning.
Coconut Jack’s is uniquely Floridian and a good place to bring guests from out of town. You’ll be going back regularly by yourselves, too.
By the way, rumor has it that Coconut Jack’s has grandfathered ownership of an area beyond the outside deck into the water. This would allow them to build an island bar surrounded 360 degrees by water. Stay tuned.
Coconut Jack’s Waterfront Grille
5370 Bonita Beach Road
Bonita Springs, Florida 34134