Half-time report: opening of local restaurants in 2021 to date
As the group takes to the field, here’s the annual halftime report on the area restaurants that have opened so far this year. Celebrate the local sites that launched in the first six months of 2021.
Some local restaurants have generated excitement ahead of their opening this year.
Fresh off his performance on âThe Voice,â local country singer Ben Allen teamed up with restaurateur Todd Brooks to launch Ben Allen’s Backyard Grill & Pub last week in the reimagined Brooks Burgers space near the US 41 East and Collier Boulevard in East Naples.
Fans also followed local rock star chef Vicenzo Betulia from his famous gourmet cocktail Bar Tulia in downtown Naples to his second visit in April to the Mercato in northern Naples.
The Phelan family brand created a buzz by thoroughly renovating the old, long-standing Ruby Tuesday restaurant space in North Naples to move its original Deep Lagoon Seafood from Naples Park in May. The fifth food and beverage offering at the new Luminary Hotel & Co. in downtown Fort Myers also sparked excitement in March ahead of the opening of Oxbow Bar & Grill on the Caloosahatchee River.
Serving one of the most popular cuisines in the world, Indian restaurant options are mushrooming in Collier and Lee counties. Three different restaurants opened new locations in Bonita Springs or north of Naples during the second quarter of 2021.
Aroma Indian Cuisine launched on June 7 in northern Naples. The new restaurant is located between the Pewter Mug and O’mei on Tamiami Square, the mall just south of the Collier-Lee County Line on US 41.
The other two new Indian restaurants moved in April to cool spots along Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Springs. The 20-year-old India Palace moved from Page Field in Fort Myers to a location behind Publix in central Bonita Springs off the US 41. Bombay Grille, five, transferred a shorter distance of Beach Road Plaza at Sunshine Plaza.
Other social activities
Enjoy an international assortment through a variety of new restaurants. Calabria Pizza-Gyros at Bonita Crossings off US 41 in Bonita Springs launched last week with a menu of Italian and Greek cuisines. To Spiti is promised a daily dose of Greek food, which opened this spring in the former Subway store at Crossroads Market on Pine Ridge Road.
In April, El Gaucho Inca opened another location for its Argentinian and Peruvian cuisine across from Coconut Point in Estero, the Chinese restaurant O’mei reopened to its original location on US 41 in northern Naples, and the Pharaohs Fusion food truck has started serving its Egyptian specialties at locations in the area.
In March, La Casa dell’Anima Italian Market & CafÃ¨ debuted on Airport-Pulling Road in East Naples to share its authentic taste of Italy. Cubans Be Like Restaurant & Cafe launched in mid-January at Cypress Trace across US 41 from Bell Tower Shops in southern Fort Myers.
The Food Rock Cafe was launched last week in the former Get Fried space in University Village near FGCU by a local family who also operate the Food Rock food truck. His tasty dishes have an island touch influenced by the Haitian roots of chef JD Damas and the Colombian heritage of his wife and co-owner, Jennifer Verbel Damas.
Nawty Hogg Backyard BBQ opened its third location in January in the space Pei Wei left last year in Vanderbilt’s Galleria Shoppes in North Naples. Napoli on the Bay Pizzeria opened its sixth location in January in the former Pizza Hut home at Pebblebrooke Center on Collier Boulevard, just south of Immokalee Road.
The upscale T42 restaurant and tapas bar opened on February 1 in the extensively renovated former space of TGI Friday’s facing US 41 at Coconut Point in Estero. Taqueria Jalisco replaced the Chilis Mexican Grill this spring on Pine Ridge Road, in the same center as World Bakery & Cafeteria, just west of Collier Boulevard.
Felipe’s Mexican taqueria opened its third location in January at Logan Landings, anchored in Sprouts, on the southeast corner of Logan Boulevard and Immokalee Road in northern Naples. Ohio-based Burntwood Tavern also opened its third restaurant and bar in February at Bell Tower stores in southern Fort Myers. In April, Florida-based Duffy’s Sports Grill reopened its location in Estero in April after being closed for more than a year.
Three more restaurants specializing in healthy bowls were launched earlier this year. The Bowl, which has been serving its organic acai and pitaya bowls for more than five years in Naples, opened its third store in January at University Village stores near Florida Gulf Coast University in Estero.
The first zone slot for Hawaiian-influenced PokÃ© Mahi Bowls & More launched in February at Vanderbilt’s Galleria Shoppes, on the northwest corner of Airport-Pulling and Vanderbilt Beach roads in northern Naples. In March, Eat Smart opened in March at Berkshire Commons at the corner of Radio Road and Santa Barbara in East Naples. Diners make their own savory bowls at this Asian-influenced restaurant.
Yacht Club Subs launched in March next to The Wine Store in Victoria Square, 1200 Central Ave., just west of Goodlette-Frank Road in Naples. The quick and easy-going local business serves subs, salads, soups and more with a nautical theme.
The rapidly growing Jersey Mike’s Subs opened another branch in June, but this is the first in Estero. It’s also the first location for Mike Silverman, who previously operated 11 Moe’s Southwest Grill franchises from East Naples to North Port. The new sub-store is located next to Ben Hill Griffin Parkway, between Miromar Outlets and Hertz Arena.
New food dealers serve residents and visitors at a few locations in Collier County.
The catering and rental concession returned this spring to Tigertail Beach Park on Marco Island after having been dark since last July. Nicky P’s Cafe debuted there in April with a menu that includes breakfast and lunch options and snacks. The dealership is operated by Nicholas Parziale, CEO of SSG Food & Beverage Inc., a sister company of Orlando-based Safeway Services Group Inc. SSG will also operate the concession at Barefoot Beach Preserve in northern Naples.
In May, Habaneros Catering moved into the county-owned snack bar across from the Tax Collector’s Building at the Eastern Naples Government Center. Habaneros, which for years has served authentic Mexican cuisine at local fairs and special events, offers traditional dishes such as tacos, tortas, and enchiladas.
A few sips
While these aren’t actually restaurants, there are a few new watering holes that provide interesting places to socialize.
Chartreuse, an artisanal cocktail and dessert lounge, opened in June on Old 41 Road in Bonita Springs. The South Avenue Bar started serving its premium cocktails and exclusive drinks with a fun twist in April on Fifth Avenue South in Naples.
The Stogie Pairing Cigar Lounge opened at the end of March in Bell Tower stores in southern Fort Myers to serve flights of beer and coffee and other drinks to pair with cigars. Winfield Street Coffee rolled out its retro kiosk earlier this month at Park Shore Plaza, but had to relocate due to city restrictions on trailers. The mobile cafe is looking for another place to park regularly. In addition to caffeine, Winfield serves breakfast dishes, baked goods, and sandwiches.
The CRU Wine Club, an intimate place reserved for reservations in Bonita Springs, launched in March for tastings of California wines, olive oil and light food pairings at the new Causeway Commerce Park on Old 41 Road in south of Bonita Beach Road. Another new social lounge, Kava Luv, opened its alcohol-free kava bar on March 13 in the Mission Hills Mall on the northwest corner of Collier Boulevard and Vanderbilt Beach Road.
Smallcakes Cupcakes & Cookies launched its small bakery in April next to Moura Bistro on Meridian Marketplace, on the northeast corner of Pine Ridge and Livingston Roads. In January, Mitch’s Cookies Dessert Bar & Soda Fountain opened a second location on Park Street, just off Fifth Avenue South in downtown Naples. Scoops Ice Cream & AÃ§ai Bowl also opened a second place this month at the Green Tree Center, on the southwest corner of the Airport-Pulling and Immokalee routes in northern Naples.
Dunkin ‘has opened two new drive-thru restaurants for donuts and coffee. First in January at Neighborhood Shoppes in Orangetree at the corner of Immokalee Road and Randall Boulevard, then in April on Bonita Beach Road east of Imperial Parkway in Bonita Springs. |
– âTim Aten Knowsâ is published weekly in Naples Florida Weekly. Mr. Aten is editor-in-chief of Gulfshore Business magazine. Email your questions to [email protected] Follow @TimAtenKnows on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.