1500 Fifth Avenue South, Naples, FL
NAPLES — The doors at Olio on Naples Bay are locked and a sign reads “closed until further notice.”
Like many businesses in Southwest Florida, Olio on Fifth Avenue South lost its gas service last week when a main line in Fort Myers operated by TECO Peoples Gas was damaged by a contractor working on a road widening project.
While the gas outage forced some restaurants to close for a few days, most have already reopened with TECO restoring service to 98 percent of its commercial customers by Tuesday night.
Olio – closed since last Friday – remains dark. No one answers the phone and a message left on the answering machines says, “Unfortunately, we are temporarily closed.” Customers wanting more information are directed to call the nearby Naples Bay Resort. The resort’s general manager had no comment.
“I think it was the final blow for Olio, the lack of gas,” said Naples developer Jack Antaramian, a partner in the Naples Bay Resort project.
He saw the close coming.
“Business was terrible,” he said. “It was very bad. I think all restaurants now are really having a problem. There are just too many restaurant seats in Naples.”
Gerry McHale, a court-appointed receiver for the Naples Bay Resort, said he’s seen the financial statements for Olio and they don’t look good.
“It’s been difficult,” he said. “They’ve had substantial losses.”
He said the gas outage didn’t help. “It was one more problem, but it was not necessarily the prime problem,” McHale said.
NBR Shoppes LLC owns the building that was being leased to Olio. Steve Thompson, a Naples attorney representing NBR, said the landlord had no comment about the closing.
The Italian inspired restaurant, overlooking Naples Bay, has been open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving everything from omelettes to homemade pastas. It’s not part of a chain.
Antaramian said the restaurant’s closing has nothing to do with a dispute between him and Naples-based Kraft Construction, the contractor for the Naples Bay Resort project. He’s been in a legal fight with Kraft to review its accounting records for the project. So far it has been a losing battle.
Recently, Antaramian, took over the mortgage for the Naples Bay Resort as it faces foreclosure. Olio is not part of that mortgage, so it’s not under his control.
The loan for the restaurant came from a London-based bank, Investec, he said.
The resort has its own restaurant, the Blue Water Grill, and also there’s a Bonefish Grill nearby.
“Bonefish is doing very well,” Antaramian said. “It has name recognition.”