It is getting very quiet here in Collier County now that our winter residents have headed back up north, which also means our volunteer core has left. It always amazes me how these wonderful people come to stay for a few months, roll up their sleeves and become a vital part of the fabric of our community. We are truly fortunate to have these winter residents among us.
• We have a couple new restaurants that have opened in East Naples recently. Remember Gemi’s on Davis Boulevard? (Oh my, I loved their food). Well, a new restaurant has opened in that same location and completely changed the inside. My friend and restaurant “guru,” Ellie Tegelman, scouted this new establishment out for me.
The name of this new restaurant is “Olympia Dining.” They have added a sit-down counter, black marble tabletop booths, plus regular tables and chairs for those who prefer this type of seating. They have two TV’s and serve a very nice breakfast, which Ellie and her husband Richard enjoyed very much. The prices were in the fair price range. They are open 7 days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ellie said we should all like the food, and believe me, she is a connoisseur. Drop me a note and let me know what you think. Hopefully I can get there myself soon to sample the food.
• Another friend of mine, Jesse Kamieniarz (my goodness, we go way back to the days of the Golden Gate Visitor’s Center when I was the executive director and Jessie was one of the volunteers. By the way, some of those volunteers and I still get together once a month for lunch; after all these years we never lost track of one another), said she and her husband Matt went to the new Empire Bagel Factory, 3802 E. Tamiami Trail across from Town Center, to check them out.
The store hours are Monday to Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends. One dozen bagels sell for $11, half a dozen for $6 and a single bagel for $1.25. Jessie said they have a large assortment of bagels, including plain, poppy, rye, cinnamon sugar, cinnamon raisin, onion, etc.
They also sell cream cheese made in-house in a number of flavors including strawberry, sun-dried tomato, lox, cinnamon, honey, walnut and more. They also sell sandwiches such as tuna salad, chicken salad, bacon/lettuce & tomato served on a bagel or Kaiser roll. All sandwiches are served with a bag of chips or pickle.
They also feature Boar’s Head lunchmeats: roast beef, oven-gold turkey, black forest ham, Genoa salami, and a variety of cheeses. They even have a bagel-dog, a pizza bagel, breakfast sandwiches including egg sandwich and lox and cream cheese, plus assorted beverages. Jessie said she and her husband split an onion bagel and found it to be very good!
So, we have a couple new places to try during the summer. I’m thrilled to see new eating establishments coming to East Naples. We have a multitude of retirees in this part of the county, and many of them prefer to eat out rather than cook anymore. Heck, they cooked all their lives...now it is time to treat themselves.
The next column will discuss hurricane preparation. Don’t forget – this is a La Niña year, which means El Niño isn’t here to protect us.