Naples Originals offers 10 dining strategies for lean times
Joining the ranks of “top 10” lists, Naples Originals announces its “10 Strategies for Successful Dining in Lean Times.” Lisa Boet, president of Naples Originals, admits that, “while these strategies can save money during lean times, they are also time-honored, employed by savvy diners everywhere, during lean times or flush.”
“It’s a great time be a diner,” says Naples Originals founding member, restaurateur Tony Ridgway. “We want diners to be in our restaurants as much as they want to be there.” He advises diners to engage owners in conversation. Ask for advice on best values. Inquire about upcoming promotions and events, new dishes, just-arrived wine selections. Alexander Bernard of Alexander’s Restaurant agrees: “Diners should know that restaurant owners and chefs are flexible, now more than ever. Naples Originals restaurants are sensitive to the needs of customers, and we know that first-time customers turn into repeat customers.”
Strategies for successful dining are more than cost-cutting tips for dining on-the-cheap. Great dining is not necessarily expensive dining, reserved for special occasions. If diners employ some or all the following strategies, they can stay within budget and still indulge in the pleasures – and the people – at favorite local restaurants.
“10 Strategies for Successful Dining in Lean Times”
1. Small plates are making a comeback. Dining out is about taste, not waste of entrees one may not be able to finish (though Naples Originals endorses “people bags” -- see below). If one’s restaurants of choice don’t have a “small plates” section on their menus, cruise the appetizer and sides sections and put together interesting meals. This strategy delivers flavor as well as savings.
2. “People bags.” If an entrée is too generous for a smaller appetite, turn it into two meals. A dish often reaches its full flavor potential the next day, ideal for a nice lunch.
3. Dine early. Many Naples Originals chefs have created thoughtful early dining menus that feature their signature dishes at significant savings, usually 20% to 30%. Diners save money and beat the prime time crowd.
4. Upgrade your wine choice. Use a Naples Originals gift certificate and put the 30% savings toward an upgraded wine selection. The savings, $7.50 on a $25 gift certificate and $15 on a $50 gift certificate, can be put toward a wine one might normally shy from. Many member restaurants have extraordinary by-the-glass programs and this is a great opportunity to upgrade a wine choice and still keep the tab reasonable.
5. Turn breakfast and lunch into a dining event. Breakfast or lunch on-the-fly? Why not turn the morning and afternoon meal into a dining experience? It’s a good opportunity to enjoy a restaurant’s cuisine at savings of up to 50% over dinner.
6. Eat cake! Visit a favorite restaurant later in the evening for dessert, at about 8:00, after the dinner rush winds down. It’s important to sweeten one’s mood in these sour economic times. Even the most expensive dessert is rarely more than $12. Pair a decadent chocolate dessert with port, or strawberries with champagne, and voila, the result is a dining event for under $20.
7. Share entrees. For a wider range of flavor, order appetizers and share entrées. Many restaurants offer this option for a small sharing charge, but the total tab is still considerably less than two, three-course meals.
8. Buy a bottle of wine and take it home. Case in point: Recently a couple dined in a Naples Original restaurant. She had white wine by the glass, and the wine he wanted was available only by the bottle. No problem. He ordered the bottle and took it home still half-full. The law allows diners to take home unconsumed wine as long as it is securely recorked and placed in a sealed bag.
9. Dine at the bar. The bar is the equivalent of a communal table, great for singles and couples and a wonderfully social event if one is feeling friendly. The benefits of bar-dining are myriad: no reservation needed, bartender entertainment (or free therapy!), amusing people (or TV)-watching, and a light meal of small plates and appetizers, selections from the bar menu.
10. Clip coupons. Old-fashioned, yes, but restaurants continue to publish coupons in local guides and publications, print and online. Coupons offer percentage discounts as well as complimentary dishes or wine based on a minimum check amount.
In the spirit of coupons, Naples Originals offers a bonus strategy: Be independent. Eat local.
Naples Originals are neighborhood restaurants, locally-owned and operated, serving a broad spectrum of culinary style, service and ambiance. With 38 restaurants, each offers a unique local flavor. The restaurants share a desire to raise awareness of independent restaurants as well as all locally-owned and operated business. Research shows that every $100 spent at an independent restaurant generates $68 of local economic activity compared with just $43 for every $100 spent in a chain.
- Contributed by Naples Originals
Jazz Web site offers vintage discoveries
JazzLegends.com was founded 11 years ago by Bruce H. Klauber, biographer of jazz great Gene Krupa, writer/producer of the Warner Brothers and Hudson Music “Jazz Legends” DVD series, and for the past several years, contributor to the Naples Daily News.
The web site has become one of the most valuable domain names--and popular destinations--in the entertainment industry. Our audio and video collection of non-commercial and out-of-print works by the legends of jazz and jazz drumming, is a singular one and is, quite simply, not available anywhere else.
The Gene Krupa Jazz Trio on the George Jessell television show of 1954? The only known film clip of Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie playing together? Film of Benny Goodman in “Hollywood Hotel” and “The Big Broadcast” from the late 1930s. JazzLegends.com has it all, which is why we receive orders and inquires from all over the world every day.
Every one of our products, whether books, CDs or DVDs, is $15, and we continue to provide free shipping all over the world on orders of every size. Our feature columns, blogs and articles written by our growing community of members help make JazzLegends.com a must-visit destination.
There are many, many jazz fans in Southwest Florida who pack the clubs, attend lectures on jazz history, and frequently attend jazz-oriented concerts. All will be fascinated by our vintage discoveries.
-Contributed by Bruce Klauber
Naples Chamber recognizes new SKYshade at school
The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting event today in celebration of the new SKYShades installation at Royal Palm Academy in North Naples.
SKYShades specializes in custom shade structures with over 200 years experience in design, engineering and installation. Their products are custom engineered for both functionality and aesthetic appeal for numerous markets. They offer a turnkey product and service that includes design, permitting and installation that conforms to local building codes and wind ratings.
Visit SKYShades online at www.skyshades.com or call 992-3080.
- Contributed by the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce
Have a news release about your business to share with Southwest Florida? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and to our Business and Government Content Editor Dave Osborn at email@example.com. We’ll post these on the Business page at naplesnews.com every day and will publish these as space allows in Business Monday in the Naples Daily News.