How is the Lighthouse Cafe after Hurricane Ian?

How is the Lighthouse Cafe after Hurricane Ian?

The Lighthouse Cafe is one of those must-visit destinations when visiting Sanibel Island.  I can't tell you how many times we've eaten there...well, probably at least once per each visit, which was more than I can count!

The Lighthouse Special was my "usual"...a delectable and incredibly filling omelet filled with all sorts of goodies and smothered with their heavenly homemade hollandaise sauce.  Of course, it had to be paired with their incredible fresh-squeezed orange juice.

No wonder the Lighthouse Cafe was known as "The World's Best Breakfast"!

So when Hurricane Ian came sweeping through, devastating everything in its path, many of us wondered how our favorite breakfast place on Sanibel  fared.

So here are photos and updates about the Lighthouse Cafe, including how you can help in their recovery efforts. 

lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian

Damage to the Lighthouse Cafe after Hurricane Ian

Okay, brace yourself because these photos are ugly. And sad. Very sad. But don't stay sad, because The Lighthouse Cafe is cleaning up and rebuilding! They WILL be back, along with their hollandaise-smothered Lighthouse Special!

lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian
lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian
lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian
lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian
lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian
lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian

I am not exactly sure which plate held my delicious Lighthouse Special, but I'm sure it's there somewhere! 😳

lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian
lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian

Water level of the storm surge... that daily specials board was pretty high!

lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian menu

The Lighthouse Cafe Clean-Up after Ian

lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian
lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian
lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian
lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian
lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian

Yay!!! They were able to salvage some of the many  photos from their lighthouse collection that had hung on the walls.

lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian

History of the The Lighthouse Cafe

The Lighthouse  Café, as it is known today, was established in 1987 by Michael Billheimer. It is now owned and run by his nephew, Dan Billheimer. Over their  long history, they have been able to provide a living for many hard-working families.

History of the The Lighthouse Cafe Building

Now, wanna hear something cool? During the  tear-out  of both the Lighthouse Cafe and Tuttles Seahorse Shell Shop next door, the previous store  history of the Seahorse Shopping Center was revealed.

Sharon W.  commented on Facebook, "I think those sea creatures were there when Tuttles Seahorse Shell Shop was an aquarium with a live alligator in a pit. Lots of fun history in our building."

Really??!! Live alligator pit? I'll have to see if I can find out more about this and let you know what I find out!

lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian

Some comments on Facebook are saying that this part used to be Arnie's Deli. And look at that old phone number!

lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian deli history

The Lighthouse Cafe on Sanibel will be back!

...and better than ever!

lighthouse cafe hurricane Ian

Help Support the Lighthouse Cafe's Recovery Efforts

If you'd like to help provide much-needed relief for the recovery of the Lighthouse Cafe and its staff click HERE. All donations will be used to ease the mounting financial burdens of the business and help the Cafe to recover and reopen. This includes the 19 staff members and their families, some of whom have lost everything to Hurricane Ian. 

Help Support Hurricane Relief Efforts in Sanibel

Sanibel Island is special in our hearts as well as many others, who are heartbroken over the devastation that Hurricane Ian brought this friendly little island in SW Florida.

Living in southwest Florida ourselves, and Sanibel being our "home away from home," we wanted a way to help those impacted by Hurricane Ian to rebuild and come back stronger and more beautiful than ever, so that families can continue to be able to create wonderful lifelong memories in this little slice of paradise.

$5 of every shirt purchased will go towards SW Florida relief efforts at:, and These are all reputable organizations that we personally know, have worked with, and highly recommend.

Click HERE to purchase. 💜 Thank you!

Sanibel beautiful strong loved shirt

Stay Updated on The Lighthouse Cafe's Recovery & Reopening

You can stay updated on how the Lighthouse Cafe is doing on their website HERE or their Facebook page HERE. Most updates and photos are on their Facebook page, which is where I got all of these photos and updates with their permission.  Thank you, Lighthouse! I can't wait to return! 😊

Where is The Lighthouse Cafe Located?

362 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL, United States, Florida

Like this post?

Please share and check out my other posts on Hurricane updates from Sanibel and Captiva, like How is Mucky Duck after Hurricane Ian? and How is Jerry’s Foods Grocery Store after Hurricane Ian?

I plan to write more posts about favorite Sanibel and Captiva destinations, so stay tuned and follow my Facebook page HERE!

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Hurricane Ian Update from our Family (Southwest Florida)

Hurricane Ian Update from our Family (Southwest Florida)

First of all, a heartfelt thank you to all who reached out to see how we were doing through Hurricane Ian and how you could help. Unfortunately, without power, internet or cell service, as well as just trying to get through it all, it was difficult to respond back to most. 

But know that each message or email of care and concern, as well as each prayer, meant more to us than we can say, even though we didn't receive them till much later and/or weren't able to respond.

So I wanted to write this post to let you all know how we were impacted by the hurricane and how we are doing now.

This monster storm took an unexpected last-minute turn toward our area, and sadly, our community that we love was badly hit. The devastation is unbelievable and heartbreaking.

The worst part of this storm was the unprecedented storm surge of up to 15 feet that flooded and wiped out so many homes and businesses, and sadly, took precious lives.

Our favorite place in the world, Sanibel Island, was absolutely devasted, with even the causeway bridge being wiped out, so that there is no way in or out of the island. 

Sanibel bridge causeway collapse after Ian

Sanibel causeway bridge damage after Hurricane Ian 

Sanibel causeway washed out hurricane Ian before and after

Before and After of Sanibel Causeway after Hurricane Ian

I am thankful that we had our family vacation in Sanibel just 10 days prior to this. I will treasure those memories.

Thankfully, our family is all safe, and our home in Naples was not damaged or flooded, as we are 10 miles inland from the coast.

My in-laws in Ft. Myers had a very close call as they were trapped in their condo with water rushing 6' deep down their street and 4' deep into their garage. 

The surge came too quickly to get out. 911 could do nothing. 

We had no idea if/when the water would stop rising, and that is when I sent my desperate plea out for prayers. Thank you all so much for praying!!! Their only car is a loss, but they are safe.

They also watched helplessly as two of their neighbor's condos burned out of control since the overloaded fire department couldn't reach them.

Ft. Myers house fire hurricane Ian

My sister in-law's home is a total loss however, with the storm surge rushing 6' deep into her home in North Ft. Myers near the Caloosahatchee River. Thankfully no one was there at the time.

living room flood hurricane Ian north Ft. Myers
kitchen flood n. ft. Myers hurricane Ian storm surge

As for our immediate family, we were without power for 5 days, and without internet or cell service for most of that time, and had 15 family members taking refuge in our home.

We were very happy to have a generator that could keep the fridge and freezer cold, and that we could turn on when we wanted water for showers or coffee. We used it sparingly, however, as fuel was scarce and hard to come by. We used the propane we had, then went to gasoline.

We were so grateful for it, that my husband did this video review and demonstration on how to use it:

We had gathered water in lots of jugs and containers beforehand, since our well pump needs electric to work. Water dispensers similar to these  worked great for having by the sinks for washing hands and brushing teeth.

The hardest part was the inability to communicate with family members to see how they were doing, as cell service was down. We would have to go out in the dangerous streets with debris, high winds, and no traffic lights to find rare hot spots.

Our only link to the outside world, and what was going on with the location of the hurricane and other news, was our cheap emergency hand crank radio that I had bought years ago to have "in case."  We had never needed it until now, and boy, was I glad I had it! 

We got out our map of southwest Florida, and took turns cranking to be able to follow the path of the hurricane. Everyone should have a paper map! (Oh, and cash, too, as we found  out later that many of the stores and restaurants that opened afterwards were "cash-only.")

cash only bone hook

We have learned a lot through all of this, and are incredibly thankful for God's protection.

So now that our power and internet service are back, we are cleaning up, doing laundry, recuperating mentally and physically, and slowly getting back to work.

Here is one of my cute yard clean-up helpers:

hurricane Ian yard debris clean up

I am also glad that our air conditioning is back on so that snakes can't come in my bedroom anymore with the doors open for a little breeze. 😳 (Okay, it was just ONE snake, but still!)

So if you've emailed or messaged us, we will be getting back to you as soon as we can. Thanks so much for understanding!

Again, thanks so incredibly much for your care and prayers.

Life can change in an instant. Cherish those you love. 💜 

Paula & Keith 
& family

Ramm family photo 2020

Need a new family pic with our two newest grandbabies who have just started toddling around, but here is our crew from Christmas, 2020