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Regrouping and Reinventing


Businesses all over Southwest Florida continue to regroup and reinvent for the future!

This week it was announced that the owners of Island Cow and Mad Hatter are teaming up to open Wickie’s Lighthouse Restaurant and The Magic Bus Ice Cream & Caffeine.

Sanibel visitors may recall the charming, award-winning Mad Hatter, which sat off of Blind Pass, was literally washed into the Gulf of Mexico by Hurricane Ian, while just months earlier, the colorful Island Cow was tragically destroyed by fire.

Determined not to give up on the island and their longtime patrons, the restaurant owners will be opening up their two new spots in the Seahorse Shopping Center on the east end of Periwinkle Way, previously home to two other longtime favorite eateries, the Lighthouse Cafe and Sanibel Ice Cream.  (The Lighthouse Cafe will, in turn, be relocating to the prior location of Sanibel Fresh.) 

Wickie’s — the nickname given to lighthouse keepers derived from the task of trimming the wick of the lamps — will feature breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a full bar and signature drinks.

The Magic Bus, meanwhile, will feature a vintage VW-inspired decor with indoor and outdoor seating offering an old-fashioned ice cream shop and candy store feel, plus modern coffee beverages, refresher drinks and baked goods.

With renovations of both properties currently underway, the plan is to open in November.

“It’s been a tough year to say the least.  This is a great comeback story of two business owners who lost everything coming together to bring the island some great new venues for amazing food and fun,” said Brian Podlasek, co-owner of Island Cow with his wife, Elke.  “While plans are coming together to rebuild the Island Cow restaurant in its original location, this gives an opportunity to more immediately employ some former employees of both restaurants while revitalizing the east end of the island.”

Added Max Kolshak, who owned Mad Hatter with his wife, Bridget, “Both concepts are a nod to the past with an eye to the future.  More importantly, our joint venture is a sign that the people and businesses of Sanibel are stronger than ever, and ready to welcome guests and residents back home.”


3 thoughts on “Regrouping and Reinventing

  1. Wonderful and beautifully written update – such continuing good news from one of our favorite places!

  2. Hi all we can’t wait for you all to open up again. We love coming to oceans reach and can’t wait. We were wondering when you all are going to start taking reservations again please let us know. Again sorry for what you all are going through we can’t wait to come back to see you all and the island we miss it so bad please let us know and take care of yourselfs ❤️

  3. Such awesome news! We can’t wait to come back and enjoy our paradise away from home! Thanks for the update!

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