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Owners of Island Cow and Mad Hatter to open Wickies Lighthouse Restaurant on Sanibel

Foodies on Sanibel will soon have a couple of new establishments to check out thanks to a partnership formed between the owners of the iconic Island Cow and Mad Hatter restaurants. Wickie’s Lighthouse Restaurant and The Magic Bus Ice Cream & Caffeine are currently being built by longtime island restaurateurs Brian & Elke Podlasek and Max & Bridget Kolshak.

The couples teamed up after the Podlasek’s Island Cow restaurant was destroyed by fire and the Kolshak’s Mad Hatter was lost to Hurricane Ian.

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 with a fresh menu and décor that while casual and approachable, also matches the Mad Hatter’s elegance. The Magic Bus will feature a vintage VW-inspired décor 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.

Both Wickie’s and The Magic Bus will be located at 362 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel, in the plaza formerly occupied by the Lighthouse Café and Sanibel Ice Cream.

“It’s been a tough year to say the least and 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. “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.”

The Kolshaks, who suffered an especially tough year after the untimely death of their beloved head chef followed by the loss of their business due to the hurricane, believe the new offerings will be just what the island needs – a beacon of hope.  

“Both concepts are a nod to the past with an eye to the future,” said Co-Owner Max Kolshak. “Wickie’s honors the history of the island and its original lighthouse keepers, Dudley Richardson and Henry Shanahan, but with a modern, updated décor and a fresh, coastal dining experience. A few doors down, The Magic Bus serves up nostalgia with a modern twist. 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.”

The Podlasek’s and Kolshak’s goal is to establish the east-end lighthouse district as a destination for both guests and residents with the two new concepts – a blend of Island Cow and Mad Hatter. With renovations of both properties currently underway, the plan is to open in November.

About Wickie’s Lighthouse Restaurant

Wickie’s Lighthouse Restaurant is a new concept from longtime island restaurateurs Brian & Elke Podlasek and Max & Bridget Kolshak. 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. Renovations are currently underway on the property with plans to open in November. For more information about Wickie’s please visit wickieslighthouserestaurant.com.

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