Q: I just found out that the Perkins at Park Shore closed on Sunday, Feb. 5. What happened? I am bummed out. Everyone in Park Shore is. It has been there forever! Please advise! Thanks so much!
— Anne, Naples
A: Yes, the longtime Perkins Family Restaurant & Bakery in Park Shore Plaza permanently closed on Super Bowl Sunday afternoon.
The Perkins franchise, which opened in 1984, closed because of a combination of things, said franchisee John D'Agostino, who has co-owned that location at 4255 U.S. 41 N. for the last 15 of its more than 25-year run.
The location wasn't performing as well and disagreements with the landlord over rent, and other economic issues, led to the restaurant's closing, D'Agostino said.
Although he was able to relocate some of the employees of the restaurant to other Perkins franchises he has in North Naples, East Naples and Estero, D'Agostino said 15 to 20 workers lost their jobs to the shuttered restaurant. D'Agostino said he plans to keep his other three Perkins locations open.
Outside of economic reasons, the recent local closing is not related to the parent company, Perkins & Marie Callender's LLC, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last June, D'Agostino said. The casual dining chain successfully emerged from bankruptcy in November and all Perkins locations in this region remained open, but nine Florida restaurants and about 55 other locations in the casual dining chain closed last summer.
Before it was a Perkins franchise, the Park Shore Plaza location was a Country Kitchen and, before that, another restaurant, D'Agostino said.
The 4,325-square-foot vacated building on a quarter-acre outparcel is being marketed for lease to a new tenant or for redevelopment, said David Stevens, a principal at Investment Properties Corp., representing the property owners, Tenth Street Partners LLC.
More news for area foodies
■ Pizzeria PiccoBello opened in January in the former North Naples location of Gatsby's Pizza, 13510 U.S. 41 N., behind Walgreens off Wiggins Pass Road in the back tier of Wiggins Pass Crossing shopping center. PiccoBello means small and pretty in Italian, according to a note on PiccoBello's website from owners Carmelo and Manuela Piazza.
"Our mission is to be your small, pretty neighborhood restaurant," reads the note, in part, "We believe your dining experience needs to feel like you're at home, in our home, in our family kitchen in southern Italy."
The new local pizzeria features thin-crust pizza and panini, as well as salads and signature pasta dishes. Open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, it is closed on Sunday.
■ La Bamba Mexican Restaurant moved across the street Feb. 3 in North Naples. La Bamba closed its location in the Bed Bath and Beyond Plaza on the northwest corner of Airport-Pulling and Pine Ridge roads, and moved across Pine Ridge to a larger location with a full bar near Target in Pine Ridge Crossing shopping center on the southwest corner. The new location was the longtime home of China Tokyo, which closed last March. La Bamba, which has two other locations in East Naples and Estero, features burritos, chimichangas, quesadillas, enchiladas, tostadas, tacos and more Mexican cuisine. Hours at the new location are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9:30 Sunday.
■ The Chapel Grill will be the name of the new local restaurant targeted to open this fall in a 65-year-old former church at 811 Seventh Ave. S., across from Cambier Park and next to Naples City Hall.
"We anticipate opening September 1," said co-owner Stephen Fleischer. "It's gonna be a happy place — a lot of energy, good food, moderately priced."
The casual dining spot, planning to specialize in fresh local seafood and specialty steaks, will have a full bar, indoor and outdoor seating, and valet parking. The Chapel Grill is being promoted with the tagline "Love. Food. Spirit."
The restaurant will have an old church-like feeling, but outside of the vaulted ceiling and the 120-year-old floor being brought in from an armory in Louisiana, the rest of the restaurant will be new and beautiful, Fleischer said.
"We wanted to create a different experience," he said. "We are spending a lot of time and energy making this place a bang-up place."
The new business will be divided into three parts: the Chapel Tavern under the steeple facing the park on Eighth Street, the main dining room, and private dining rooms on the north side of the building, Fleisher said. The business will have 140 seats inside and 80 seats oudoors.
As reported in November, the Old Naples building was built in 1946 and was the original First Baptist Church in Naples. It most recently was home to a Senior Friendship Center before the health clinic relocated.
■ Cathy's Herbs and Botanicals, which started at the Third Street South Farmers Market in downtown Naples, now has its own store at 281 Ninth St. S. Cathy Via opened her shop Thursday next to Cooper's Farm Market in the plaza on the corner of U.S. 41 and Third Avenue South. Cathy's features its own herbal tea blends, spice blends, dried herbs, and homemade salsas, chutneys, jams and jellies. The store is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
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