This review is an amalgamation of observations from multiple visits beginning with their second night in operation.
First - I'm from Alabama, so I know Southern Food. And the thing you must know about Southern Food is that it varies in its presentation and flavors, from state to state and, indeed, from family to family. So every Southerner is going to compare the country fried steak they're eating to their grandmother's. Fancy's does its food very well, and it has a distinct "Southern Food identity," as if the chef were trying to recreate a lifetime of Sunday dinners (which in the South is served at what the rest of you call lunch, and on Sunday we eat it after church).
I could stick with the appetizers for a year and never order anything else on the menu. I can't go there without getting fried okra (not like my mother's but better than most: lightly fried and not greasy, the veggie inside still giving off a nice crunch), the fried green tomatoes (like my mother, they wisely don't gunk up the crispy, tart tomato slices with thick tasteless batter; the batter is well-proportioned, allowing the tomato inside to sort of melt a bit in frying ... oh my, this is the way fried green tomatoes are supposed to be). The deep fried cheese grits are billowy, creamy little bites in the same thin, non-greasy fry. My husband loves the frogs legs and "Et touffe" [sic].
If you have room for more after all these apps (be sure to share!), the chicken & waffles are divine -- not something we really ate in 'Bama, but we were missing out if all c & w are like this. Even with the waffles and the syrup, this dish is not as sweet as you'd think. Shrimp & grits share the same tomato-based tasso ham jus as the étouffée -- it's good, just not the way I grew up eating it (we don't go for ketchup-y ham jus). The catfish is fantastic -- again, these guys know how to fry. Their tasty, nicely-spiced batters are more like light dustings that turn the subject of the frying into something much lighter than normal.
Their pimiento cheese is perfect, and serving it on a burger is hip enough to fly in Brooklyn, where Southern food is the rage and not always done as well as this. The Red Velvet cake is lovely, and only a tad less scrumptious than the one my Granny Mae made (but then no one makes RV cake like she did). See what I mean? Can't help comparing....and Fancy's stands up to the scrutiny.
Portions are huge; turns out that chicken & waffles makes a marvelous breakfast the next day. Fancy's take on Southern is well worth the billions of calories you'll ingest (don't say I didn't warn you).
One word about service & decor & etc. - service is willing & enthusiastic, although sometimes you have to keep a close rein on the energetic, mostly young servers for refills of water, tea, etc. It gets really crowded, and it closes too early. But then, every place in Ft. Myers closes early. The room is very nicely decorated -- full of interesting touches but not too cutesy or cluttered.
It's LOUD, especially that big round table in the middle. Previous restaurants in that space sacrificed some seats for a half-height room divider that buffered noise. Here, the sound billows up from the middle of the room to that pretty ceiling and bounces down and around the room and the noise level can reach a mild roar.
For some reason, they don't put salt & pepper shakers on tables which, as my son says, is an abomination for a Southern restaurant. Fortunately, we true Southerners bring along our own personal shakers in our purses.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.