878 5th Avenue South, Naples, FL
NAPLES — By early fall, Mangrove Cafe on Fifth Avenue South may be opening its doors again.
Many doors, in fact.
The City of Naples Design Review Board on Wednesday unanimously approved plans for the restaurant’s exterior, more than five months after a gas explosion destroyed much of the structure near the Four Corners. The most notable difference from the street will be three sets of french doors at the front of the restaurant.
Mangrove Cafe owner Diane Amaral said work will begin immediately.
“They are ready to go,” Adam Benigni, senior planner for the city of Naples, said after the okay came through. “No other approvals are necessary from the city.”
The Jan. 10 explosion injured three people. Fire officials originally said the building would need to be demolished, but top-to-bottom renovations ultimately took the place of a wrecking ball.
“They’re going to get in there and start from the roof down,” Amaral said. “Everything’s going to be new in there. It’s going to be really nice.”
From the ceilings to the floors and the kitchens to the bathrooms, the restaurant will be redone from the inside out, but the look and feel won’t change much, Amaral said. A variation on color scheme from the previous dark greens and browns, to possibly taupes and warm browns, yellow and purple, will be the biggest visible change inside, she said. A new kitchen is also in the works.
Amaral estimates that rebuilding costs will be around $650,000. Construction is expected to finish in September or October.
Fire officials believe the large fireball that blew out windows, knocked down walls, and detached the roof was triggered by a propane leak erupting next to a running car.