Q: When is Comcast bringing back Channel 25 weather radar?
A: The answer to this question has been on my radar since I first tackled it in this column a month ago. At that time, Barbara Hagen, Comcast’s vice president and general manager for Southwest Florida, said she was “hoping within the next couple of weeks” to negotiate a contract with a new vendor to replace the failed software for the 24/7 weather radar service that many local residents had regularly relied on for storm information.
After four weeks passed since initially speaking with her about it and not seeing the return of the radar feature, I again contacted Hagen to find out when Comcast customers can expect to see Channel 25 resume its regular programming.
Thursday night, I received this email response from Hagen:
“We are working to restore our popular weather radar programming as quickly as possible. Contract negotiations take time but we have recently made some progress,” Hagen wrote.
“Last night, the contract was returned to us with the vendor’s requested changes and our team is now diligently reviewing. We are hopeful that we can launch the product in the coming weeks. As soon as I have a signed contract I will forward you the press release.”
When I receive Comcast’s news release, I will let you know, of course.
Let’s hope this occurs before Southwest Florida faces a tropical threat this year. In my nearly 20 years of living in Florida, I have learned tropical conditions usually do not heat up here until late August, and they continue through September and into October.
The first four named storms of the Atlantic hurricane season were not a concern for our area, but Tropical Storm Emily is approaching this week. Emily might only give us inclement weather Friday and Saturday, but that could change, of course. Stay updated at naplesnews.com.
Regularly check out interactive weather radar online at naplesnews.com/weather. Zoom in to see real-time animated radar pinpointing storm severity for local communities.
Not just handy during big storms, weather radar is a useful tool to help you know whether you can get the lawn mowed before it becomes too soggy, get in a round of golf or a couple of tennis sets before rain arrives, and whether you should reschedule that picnic outing, beach trip or boating excursion.
I think it’s a good sign Comcast still labels Channel 25 as local weather radar while programming is temporarily being simulcasted from the Weather Channel. This label probably would have been long gone if this service wasn’t returning.
Comcast also provides a weather radar map on Channel 101. A small corner map is always available on this channel, and a larger map is rotated frequently with other weather information.
Grill makeover: Uno to Agave
Q: Do you know what is going in the building where Uno Chicago Grill was located on Vanderbilt near Airport-Pulling Road? Looks like they are working on something.
— Linda, Naples
Q: What is going into the old Uno’s on Vanderbilt? It’s been under renovations for a while.
— Danielle Broderick, Naples
Q: Do you know what is going in at the previous Uno restaurant location near the southwest corner of Vanderbilt Beach and Airport-Pulling roads? It is being renovated.
— Doug Caldwell, Naples
A: When I reported in a March column that the owner of Angelina’s Ristorante in Bonita Springs was gutting and renovating the former Uno building, transforming it into an upscale Southwestern-style restaurant, the new name for the place was still under wraps.
Now we know Agave Southwestern Grill — tequila inspired and real wood fired — is scheduled to open Sept. 1 at that location, 2380 Vanderbilt Beach Road, said spokeswoman Sharon Arnold of Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold marketing and public relations firm.
Agave will feature authentic Southwestern/Mexican cuisine, including homemade tortillas and tamales, and more than 150 tequilas — the largest selection in Southwest Florida, Arnold said. Thomas Rieman, formerly executive sous chef at Angelina’s Ristorante, will be Agave’s executive chef.
If interest in the renovation of the more than 7,000-square-foot building is any indication, the new locally owned restaurant in Olympia Park could become as hot as its flaming logo. Puzzled past patrons say — and recent news reports indicate — that the location and a lack of business was not why the Uno pizza chain franchise closed there last summer.
Agave Southwestern Grill will be open daily from 11:30 a.m. to midnight.
More local restaurant news
■ Simply Southern BBQ will open soon in Naples at 600 Goodlette-Frank Road N., suite 101, said owner/chef Mikkel Brinson. The new local barbecue joint will be located in a former copy center on the northern end of Empire Plaza, the same strip center that is home to Bambusa Bar & Grill. Born and raised in Naples, right around the corner from his new place, Brinson started his culinary career by establishing a catering company and serving as a private chef for local families. Simply Southern specializes in pulled pork and St. Louis-style ribs, and also features smoked chicken and beef brisket.
■ The Pita Pit is projected to open Thursday or Friday this week at 1427 Pine Ridge Road, the former Quiznos Sub location between Rosedale Brick Oven Pizzeria and Starbucks in North Naples’ Magnolia Square. Tim Goff, 27, an entrepreneur from Fort Myers, already operates a half dozen Pita Pit franchises in Florida — including the one in Gulf Coast Town Center — and plans to open at least a half dozen more in Southwest Florida, including more locations in Naples. The growing chain, founded in Canada, promotes itself with the motto “fresh thinking, healthy eating,” and serves a large selection of Lebanese-style pita sandwich wraps and salads.
■ Remy’s Bistro's former location in Pine Ridge Crossing shopping center, 2300 Pine Ridge Road, will be a future location for Aspen Dental, one of the largest and fastest-growing providers of dental care services in the nation. Aspen Dental has more than 300 locations in 20 states. Remy’s closed in February after operating at that location since 1997.
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