Snack House Cafe

Bringing back the history of Fort Myer’s golden age of dining, the IMAG features the Snack House exhibit along with memorabilia, including menus, news clippings, matchbooks, and photographs, brought together underneath the original 1950’s Snack House sign (refurbished by IMAG) in front of a larger-than-life mural of the Snack House counter painted from an original 1960s interior photograph.

The IMAG has recaptured the nostalgia, mystique, and excitement of this iconic landmark where locals met from 1949 to 1993 for good food, good conversation, and great times.


On October 31, 1949, a new restaurant opened in downtown Fort Myers. Boasting air conditioning, a first for eating establishments in Fort Myers, the Snack House set out to provide good food, exceptional service, and a hospitable place for casual and professional gatherings. Over the next 40 years it would become an icon of Fort Myers culture and generate countless stories and memories.

Jesse “Win” Ellis

Founder and proprietor until closing in 1993, Ellis attributes the success of the Snack House to the employees. He claims there was “nothing special” other than the staff’s passion for quality food and service. It certainly helped that most employees counted decades of service, not just years.

A former torpedoman second class during WWII, Ellis hailed from Armattwaite, Tennessee. He came to Florida after the war to begin his career, and his devotion to good food and great service along with a location at the civic, retail, and cultural center of post-war Southwest Florida quickly made the Snack House Restaurant the place to be. Ellis had a reputation of great kindness and generosity in Fort Myers and, more importantly, powerful dedication to his staff.