FORT MYERS, Fla. — On Friday, several downtown Fort Myers businesses welcomed back guests for the first time since Hurricane Ian.
On Bay Street, Firestone Grill was officially back open while their next-door neighbor, City Tavern held their grand reopening the day prior.
Perry Hauser, Operations Manager for City Tavern told Fox 4 on Friday it has been a long road since Ian.
"Business as usual day after day and then we got shaken up and now it's exciting to get up and going again and ya some new energy,” said Hauser.
It's a vibe that looking back, Hauser is happy to feel again.
“We had 43 inches in the front here, 40 inches in the back,” said Hauser.
Hauser admitted that it was the helping hand across the street that illuminated their path to reopening.
“The former General Manager across the street Bob at the Luminary, he had actually offered to hire our entire staff,” said Hauser.
On Friday, inside the Luminary Hotel, General Manager Bobby Nokley was hosting a soft opening of Chips Sports Pub.
Nokley told Fox 4, they are aiming to officially open in mid-February, where Chips will feature everything from food and drinks to teeing off in a virtual golf game.
“We are at the finishing line just putting some of the finishing touches on,” said Nokley.
Nokley said it was in part, because of surrounding businesses that made them want to take a swing at opening it on Bay Street.
"We have got a footprint on Bay Street now, so we know we have some great neighbors in the neighborhood,” said Nokley.
All part of the process, Nokley said is helping bring the downtown area, back to life.
“People are out people are convinced that downtown is put back together it's in beautiful shape,” said Nokley.