Sizzle Dining, Southwest Florida’s premier culinary event, has concluded, achieving an impressive 48,884 Sizzle Dining meals sold. This annual event, known for its affordable three-course dinners and two-course lunches, has made a lasting impact on the local community with the record number of meals sold that directly benefit Blessing in a Backpack of Southwest Florida.

Sizzle Dining Sets Record in Meal Sales, Partners with Blessings in SW Florida

One of the key highlights of this year’s Sizzle Dining was its unwavering commitment to giving back. For every Sizzle Dining meal purchased during the event, participating restaurants pledged to donate $1.00 to Blessings in a Backpack of Southwest Florida, a local charity dedicated to providing meals to food-insecure elementary students every weekend throughout the school year.


“The event’s success demonstrates that one dollar at a time can make a profound difference in the lives of those in need,” said Guy Clarke, co-founder of the event.


Cecilia St. Arnold, executive director of Blessings in a Backpack of Southwest Florida, expressed her gratitude, stating, “Blessings in a Backpack is thankful to be the beneficiary of Sizzle Dining and It’s heartwarming to know that restaurants are stepping up to help ensure that our local children have access to food on the weekends. This kind of support and community involvement will make a significant difference in the lives of those who need it most.”


Sizzle Dining continued to shine brightly since its 2016 founding, building upon its success of selling over 22,000 Sizzle Dining meals the previous year, even with a shortened schedule due to Hurricane Ian. The event, designed to showcase the vibrant culinary landscape of Lee and Collier Counties, exceeded all expectations in 2023. Guy Clarke states that, “I would have been delighted to secure the participation of 50 restaurants this year but we nearly doubled that number!”


For 2023, Sizzle Dining featured an impressive 95 participating restaurants across the region, surpassing the previous record of 69 restaurants in 2019. This year’s event spanned from Cape Coral and Sanibel to Marco Island, encompassing every corner of Southwest Florida’s Paradise Coast.


Guy Clarke, co-founder of the event, shared his thoughts, saying, “This year’s event exceeded my expectations, and it’s heartwarming to see how the community embraced both the restaurants and the charity. Sizzle Dining is not only about bringing people together for affordable dining but it’s also about supporting the community.”


Paul Beirnes, executive director of Naples, Marco Island and Everglades CVB, expressed pride in their partnership with Sizzle Dining, saying, “The Naples, Marco Island, and Everglades CVB were proud to partner with Sizzle Dining this year. The event not only showcased our destination’s outstanding restaurants and culinary talent but also supported a vital charitable organization helping food-insecure children in our community. In the traditionally slower month of September, we aimed to promote our Florida offerings to residents and domestic visitors.”


Erin Clarke, co-founder of the event, expressed gratitude to the sponsors — Florida Weekly, Porsche of Naples, National Chemicals Inc., Farmer Mikes Foodservice, and Toast POS. She said, “We thank them for their commitment to the cause and the spirit of community collaboration which helped make the event a resounding success.”



Sizzle Dining is more than just a culinary celebration, it’s a catalyst for positive change and here’s how:


  1. Economic Boost: Sizzle Dining injects over $3 million into our Southwest Florida economy annually, promoting local businesses and encouraging residents to explore and support their community’s restaurants.
  2. Customer Loyalty: By encouraging residents to try new restaurants, Sizzle Dining fosters long-term customer loyalty and keeps diners coming back for more.
  3. Revenue Growth: Increased diner traffic benefits businesses that sell to the hospitality industry, leading to revenue growth across the board.
  4. Community Pride: Sizzle Dining fosters a sense of community pride and identity as we come together to celebrate and support local restaurants during the traditionally slow month of September.
  5. Job Growth: The event stimulates job growth within the hospitality industry, creating employment opportunities that positively impacts our local community.
  6. Tourism Impact: Sizzle Dining attracts tourists and visitors, generating additional revenue for local businesses and showcasing our region’s culinary excellence.
  7.  AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – The Sizzle Dining event serves as a platform for charitable initiatives. Just in the past 3 years, Sizzle Dining has helped 800+ Lee and Collier children have over 60,000 hunger-free weekends.

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Plans for Sizzle Dining 2024 are already underway with numerous restaurants in Lee and Collier already committing their participation. For more information visit