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Fat Apple rises from Birdie’s ashes
August 30, 2017

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People may think the Fat Apple pizzeria, at 6704 Bayshore Road, next to Publix at the Eagle Landing Shopping Center, is the newest pizza place in town.

However, the place got its roots from Birdie's, a legendary pizza place that used to occupy a space near the Edison Mall in Fort Myers, whose lineage dates back to the 1960s.

Guy Beekman, who owned Birdie's from 1992 until it closed in 2014, said he intended to start Birdie's back up in Cape Coral after taking some time off.

Beekman said North Fort Myers wasn't an option and didn't really see the opportunity coming until it was upon him.

"I sort of stumbled along this opportunity and it took me in a different direction," Beekman said. "I'm not that familiar with North Fort Myers, so I decided to try this out and see if I like it."

The idea behind the Fat Apple, Beekman said, is to try things he never had a chance to do at Birdie's, where he said he felt locked in to what he was doing, albeit very well.

"People respond to what you're doing and you don't want to rock the boat. You're locked in because people are happy with it and they have certain expectations," Beekman said.

The Fat Apple meant a clean slate, without the expectations. Among the things he has done is cut down the portions for lunch, as well as the prices, so people can finish what they ordered for lunch.

Beekman learned how to make New York style pizza and run the business from Frank "Birdie" and Ann Perchuseppi, who he bought the company from in 1992. Frank and Ann had owned the place since 1978, when they bought Charley's, who was Ann's cousin, which started up in the 1960s. Frank and Ann stayed on after the sale until their retirements a few years later.

The Fat Apple is pretty much the same product as Birdie's. They have heroes, chicken parm, veal parm and Philly cheesesteaks, traditional and boneless chicken wings, salads and antipasto, and calzones and Stromboli.

Beside the pizza, of which they sell specialty and dozens of toppings. They are also known for their garlic knots, which are made fresh and in house, like garlic bread.

The pizza starts at under $10 and can go up depending on size and toppings. Heroes and sandwiches are around $7 and $8, and the Stromboli and calzones are around $11.

The Fat Apple is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and open until 10 p.m. on Saturday. It is closed Sunday and Monday.

For more information, call 567-4743.

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