IMMOKALEE — Movers and shakers in Immokalee, including Tribal members and Chamber of Commerce executives, attended the grand reopening reception of the EE-TO-LEET-KE Grill on March 30 at Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee.
The complete renovation of the 202-seat casual dining restaurant took about six months, during which time it was transformed into a modern space with clean lines. The palate embraces the familiar colors of the Tribe, the kitchen is open for guests to view and the lighting is bright yet subdued. A section of the dining room can be closed off and used for private parties and events.
“The restaurant will add a whole other experience guests can enjoy,” said Edward Aguilar, assistant general manager/vice president of Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee. “The restaurant still reflects the Tribe but with a modern flair.”
EE-TO-LEET-KE, which means the camp, offers up traditional Seminole hospitality. The menu was tweaked a bit, but old favorites remain in place. One customer favorite, the complimentary fry bread served with honey butter, is as authentic as it can be. The recipe is from former Tribal President Tony Sanchez’s mother, Mary Sanchez.
“We’ve upped our game with more flavor,” said Executive Chef Lisa Files. “Guests have been giving us good feedback. It isn’t just the food alone that they like, it’s also the renovation that makes the dining experience so much more pleasant.”
The menu’s signature dishes include the Yankee pot roast, baby back ribs and twin pork chops. Under the watchful eye and design skills of Banquet and Production Chef Osmany Acosta, plate presentation has been revamped to reflect the restaurant’s modern ambiance.
“It’s all been a positive change,” Files said. “Guests often come up to the open exhibit kitchen and thank the chefs for the food. That makes them very proud since they never got praise directly from guests before.”
Other menu items include pastas, house made soups, steaks, seafood, fajitas and pork osso bucco, as well as salads, burgers and sandwiches. Cappuccino’s Coffee and Pastry Bar and the EE-TO-LEET-KE Grill Bar were also renovated.
“This gives us more direction to where we are heading in the future,” Aguilar said. “It’s no longer rustic; we are a Tribe living in the modern era.”