The Cotters Planned to Retire, but Instead They Brought Great Cuisine and the Joyful Sounds of Jazz to Cape Coral

There was a good chance Slate’s—the popular New Orleans-inspired restaurant and jazz club tucked a block off Cape Coral Parkway—might have never happened.

“We came to Cape Coral to retire,” says Nancy Cotter, co-owner of the restaurant with her husband, Allan. “We thought we were ready to relax, slow down our pace and get out of the restaurant business, but within two years we really wanted to start a new place—we wanted a new adventure.”

Slate’s opened on Candia Street in December 2014. The restaurant itself is open and airy, but the feeling inside makes guests feel right at home.

“Nancy loves to decorate,” Allan says. “She did such a beautiful job with the restaurant. It really fits the feel of what we wanted to create. Nancy always does such wonderful work. I think we are a great team—we work well together.”

The Cotters are originally from Maine, but the couple spent the majority of their culinary careers living in St. Croix where they owned two popular restaurants.

“We wanted to do something a bit different and fun here in Cape Coral,” Allan says. “Slate’s offers a unique menu—Caribbean and Cajun-inspired—and the jazz club really creates an inviting and lively atmosphere.”

Partners in their restaurant business and in life, Allan and Nancy are excited to be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on Sept. 7. The couple is also dedicated to their “retirement” destination.

“We are so happy to be in Cape Coral. We truly love being a part of this wonderful community,” Nancy says.

Slate’s Shrimp and Cheese Grits

These succulent Gulf shrimp are sauteed in a delightful minced Andouille sausage sauce and served over a creamy bed of cheesy grits.

The Sauce (as shared by Slate’s chef Marquit Robinson)


Roux of flour and butter

Minced Andouille sausage

Chopped bacon

Minced fresh garlic

Chopped bell peppers (preferably orange and/or red)

Chopped green onions

Cajun seasoning

White wine

Chicken stock


Mix all the sauce ingredients thoroughly and set aside. Saute the Gulf shrimp in olive oil. (Chef Robinson suggests five shrimp per serving.) Add a small amount of cayenne powder and lemon juice as the shrimp cook. Add in the prepared sauce. Combine the shrimp and sauce. Heat thoroughly and serve over grits.

Chef Robinson likes to prepare his grits with one part water and one part milk. He uses white cheddar and seasons with salt and pepper. He cooks the grits for about 15 minutes.

Slate’s and the Sidedoor Jazz Club
4820 Candia St., Cape Coral, Florida, 239.540.6800,