Survey Cafe

While every town along 41 from Marco Island to the Caloosahatchee River seems to be in a race to modernize and clone housing communities, the Downtown Bonita Springs seems to stand no chance at winning--and they are just fine with it. Me too. Downtown Bonita Springs is more reminiscent of an old fishing village than any of its neighbors to the north or south. No place encompasses that feel better than a small cafe converted from an old Florida cottage with a wrap around deck, The Survey Cafe. 


Recognition for Survey Cafe is long overdue. Surely some of that is my own selfish needs convincing me that the Survey Cafe should continue to be SWFL's best kept breakfast secret. However, word is clearly out, because many weekends during season there is a wait for tables and food can take what seems like forever. Although, if I had to spend forever somewhere, I'd choose a patio restaurant under old live oaks draped with Spanish moss and surrounded by palms. Oh, and the food would have to be great too. Loaded with Old Florida History, The Survey Cafe is a quaint, mostly outdoor cafe set in the heart of scenic Downtown Bonita Springs. With a relaxed atmosphere, outstanding food, and good prices, this place is one of our absolute favorites on for breakfast or lunch. They have also started seating tables for dinner on a limited basis during season on the weekends. 

Survey Cafe adapted its name from the historic name of Bonita Springs. It was so named because a group of surveyors made camp here in the 1870s, and of the few things they left behind, the name "Survey" stuck. At least until land developer named Ragsdale bought up 2,400 acres surrounding "Surveyor's Creek", now known as the Imperial River, and decided that the name Bonita Springs had more of a ring to it. A city was planned and by 1940, the building we now lovingly sit around and enjoy coffee was a home to a family of "early" SWFloridians. 

When I go, my gut tells me salmon flatbread. And for good reason. This meal single handedly revived my love of breakfast (although, if anybody out there is listening, I actually liked it even more when it was on a soft pita style flatbread). The "Not So French Toast" comes in close second, and is especially ironic now that the joint is owned by a French woman who fell in love with Survey Cafe like the rest of us have. She evidently just took her love a step farther. The wraps and breakfast sandwiches are great, and absolutely everything is made from scratch--hence the long wait. Trust me, it's worth it. 

Although the menu is somewhat limited, I haven't tried anything on the menu that I haven't loved. Step inside and you'll too realize that everything is a whole lot easier to love with that island feel Survey Cafe provides. Time slows down, cats wander in search of a dropped piece of salmon, couples young and old bring dogs big and small to sip coffee, pick at muffins, and forget about anything other than the current moment. Just another sunny Florida morning at the Survey Cafe. 


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