Two local restaurants recently closed, but their owners hope the closings are only temporary.
Naples Tap Room & Grille
Q: We noticed that Sam Snead's Tavern changed it's name to Naples Tap Room & Grille. Thanks for the heads up. But this week we tried to dine there (twice) and the doors are locked, even though the new sign is up. No note on the door. What's happening?
— Carol McDonough, Naples
A: FDR Enterprises Inc., the owner of Naples Tap Room & Grille, formerly known as Sam Snead's Tavern, in Naples Walk, was evicted March 26, according to Collier County Clerk of Courts documents. Naples Walk Shopping Center LLC filed for eviction Feb. 22 and a writ of possession was granted March 20, court records show.
Francis D. Reiff of FDR Enterprises admits to a rent issue at the North Naples shopping center, but he said he hopes to reopen the longtime business there this week.
"Regency gave me a little bit of a problem," Reiff said, referring to Jacksonville-based Regency Centers, owner of Naples Walk.
Corporate representatives for the shopping center refused to answer specific questions regarding the status of the space, which opened as Sam Snead's Tavern in December 1999.
"Regency Centers does not comment on landlord and tenant business," Regency Centers spokeswoman Bonnie Hayflick replied via email.
Hayflick answered follow-up questions by only reiterating the one-sentence statement she had earlier released.
A private cleaning crew hired by the shopping center was on the premises Monday morning to ready the tavern's 4,800-square-foot space for a prospective tenant. Naples Tap Room menus still in the framed display case near the tavern's main entrance on Monday morning were gone by Monday afternoon.
Also on Monday, Reiff said he hoped to reopen Naples Tap Room again in three or four days. The fact that his tavern's retail beverage license expired March 31 seems not to faze Reiff, who said he can easily renew it online with the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation.
While Reiff says he made the decision to recently drop the Sam Snead franchise and forgo the franchise fee amounting to 4 percent of his tavern's net revenue, Snead corporate representatives said they voided the agreement because of nonpayment of the fee.
"I didn't want to pay them 4 percent a month," Reiff said. "I've lived here 26 years. I know a lot of people. I didn't need them to make me successful."
When Reiff purchased the longtime business in November 2011, he signed a license agreement to continue to operate the Sam Snead concept.
"The license was terminated due to breach of agreement," said Patrick Casey of Pike Corp., which licenses the Sam Snead's Tavern franchises, and use of the legendary golfer's name and dining concept. "For the better part of a year, I tried to get the licensee to live up to his end of the agreement to no avail. Finally, after 10 months of failing to comply with the terms of the agreement and numerous excuses and false promises to comply, I had no other choice than to end the agreement. It is a shame as we have enjoyed years of success in North Naples and made countless friends in the community."
Casey said the Naples location was one of the first Sam Snead's Taverns he licensed more than 12 years ago.
Although the business remains closed, the temporary banner for Naples Tap Room & Grille, the tavern's new name as of March 19, remains hanging along the front of the building. Sam Snead's Tavern signs remain at shopping center entrances off both Airport-Pulling and Vanderbilt Beach roads.
Sixteeen miles south and far removed from its northern cousin, a new Sam Snead's Oak Grill & Tavern opened to the public March 7 in the former Flamingo Island Grill in Lely Resort Golf and Country Club, 8004 Lely Resort Blvd.
Pate's House of Prime Rib
Q: What happened to the Pate's restaurant in the Coastland mall? My wife and I had dinner there in January, but when we returned last week there was a sign on the door that said "Closed." What's up?
— Tom Ryan, Naples
A: After operating for only six months, Pate’s House of Prime Rib has temporarily closed at Coastland Center, but the restaurant's owner hopes to reopen at the Naples mall.
"I just wasn't doing enough business and I couldn't keep up with my overhead," said Stanly Pate. "We are still trying to work out some way to move ahead. I just have to step back and regroup. I am exploring every possibility to get this place up and running again."
Although the restaurant closed March 25, Pate intends the closing to be only temporary. He said he is negotiating with the mall and hopes to reopen yet this spring.
Pate opened Pate’s House of Prime Rib in October in the mall location vacated two years ago by Ted's Montana Grill. The local business is a family affair, with three generations of Pates pitching in. Stanly's brother, Nate, is the chef. Stanly's son, Chris, is a maitre'd, and Stanly's wife, Julie, is the manager. Of course, Cloyde Pate, the patriarch of the local family of restaurateurs, is there to help anyway he can.
Stanly and Julie Pate still operate the newly renamed Pate's Pub, which they have owned for more than six years at the nearby Ramada Inn, 1100 U.S. 41 N., Naples.
More local restaurant news
■ Chrissy's at Bayfront closed March 18 after operating for more than a year at Bayfront Place in Naples.
"I simply wanted to downsize and just take care of my restaurant at Tanglewood," said owner Chrissy Bianchi-Rabil, referring to Chrissy B's, her restaurant on U.S. 41 North in Tanglewood Marketplace, the North Naples shopping center anchored by Outback steakhouse. She and her husband, Fadi Rabil, have operated as many as four local restaurants at once, but now have just two — "an all-time low," Bianchi-Rabil said. In addition to Chrissy B's, which Chrissy calls her last and best restaurant, they have Chrissy's Courthouse Tavern, which Fadi runs in East Naples' Courthouse Shadows. "We have his and her's restaurants," she said.
■ EJ’s Bayfront Café opened March 19 in the former restaurant location of Chrissy's at Bayfront, 469 Bayfront Place. The cafe, open 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, offers a breakfast and lunch menu with breakfast served all day. The menu is basically Chrissy's old menu now, but expect some new menu items and signature pieces, such as German panckaes and stuffed French toast, to be introduced soon, said Eric Joseph Becker, whose back-home nickname is EJ. Becker, who co-owns the cafe with his father, Allan, is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in St Louis. Previously, Becker was the food and beverage manager at Hilton Golf and Country Club St. Louis, and was also a partner at Eli's, a restaurant and lounge in Carlyle, Ill.
■ Manhattan Steakhouse opened in February in Bonita Springs. The 2,395-square-foot space was formerly Bella Vita Ristorante in Burnt Pine Plaza, 24940 U.S. 41 S., just south of Pelican Landing and U.S. 41’s intersection with Old 41 Road. The new restaurant, which features dry aged prime steaks, fresh seafood and chops, is open for dinner daily 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. For reservations, call 239-676-8687.
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"In the Know" is published Mondays and Wednesdays in the Naples Daily News. Find a complete archive of "In the Know" columns at naplesnews.com/intheknow.