A lot of dining room chairs shuffled before the music stopped at the end of the year. We have a few more local tables to bus in 2012.
Changes on the local dining scene were occurring before you hit the share button on last week’s column. After the holiday rush settled, the Naples area lost a couple more eateries, but gained a few new ones.
Q: What happened to Pizzaiolis restaurant that is in the Shoppes at Vanderbilt (used to be Collection at Vanderbilt) corner of Airport-Pulling and Vanderbilt Beach roads? There is a sign on the door that says “If you need access,” so what is the situation? Thanks for your help. Love your column and all the info about restaurants. Keep up the good work.
— Lynn Barr
Q: Pizzaiolis? We stopped for fries and pizza at Pizzaiolis, Friday evening, Dec. 30. It was closed. Has another restaurant/business fallen victim to the new owners of the Collection at Vanderbilt? The last article regarding them, in July, quoted the Pizzaiolis manager saying they were happy there and doing great business at that location. Naturally, as seems the custom, no sign up, just closed. They arguably had the best garlic fries in Naples.
— T. Avatarici
A: Pizzaiolis permanently closed at the end of December in the Shoppes at Vanderbilt, according to Stacy Crowley, a spokeswoman for the shopping center in North Naples.
Pizzaiolis operated its Neapolitan wood-fired pizzeria for two years after opening in December 2009 at 2359 Vanderbilt Beach Road, unit 416.
No immediate plans exist for Pizzaiolis to reopen elsewhere in the area, but its vacated space will be filled soon.
“We have lots of prospects,” Crowley said. “We actually have many new prospects for spaces in the center but nothing specific for that spot.”
More local restaurant news
Last Tuesday, Dec. 27, was a big opening day for area restaurants. That’s the day Gyrene Burger quietly first started delivery when it opened shop on U.S. 41 just south of Central Avenue. The basic concept is new and different and being closely watched because it is another creation from Tom Monaghan, the man who brought us Domino’s Pizza and Ave Maria University.
As previously mentioned, Flava also debuted Dec. 27 in downtown Naples. The European-styled restaurant is off Seventh Avenue South in the most recent location of Eric Pate’s Backstreet Bar & Grill.
Overlooked in the holiday shuffle was Roma Italian Bistro and Pizzeria, which opened Nov. 27, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, on Fifth Avenue South in downtown Naples.
Roma Italian Bistro and Pizzeria, 655 Fifth Ave. S., specializes in cuisine from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, according to owner Ron Rule, who previously owned Ron’s Italian Pizzeria & Café across the street on Fifth Avenue South. In addition to pizza, Roma’s menu features eggplant parmesan, lasagna, and organic salads.
Ron’s Italian Pizzeria & Café had to close in 2011 when hotelier Phil McCabe made plans to raze the one-story building and replace it with a three-story building to expand his Inn on Fifth across the street.
Not too far from Southwest Florida International Airport, Funky Fish Seafood Grill opened Dec. 19 at 8911 Daniels Parkway, the former location of Bella Rosa Italian Grill. It’s another culinary creation from Sal Basile, co-owner of the nearby Two Meatballs in the Kitchen in Fort Myers.
Add Kountry Spot to the list of eateries that both opened and closed in 2011. The Spot, which opened in March on the east side of Wilson Plaza, 50 Wilson Blvd. S. #12, in Golden Gate Estates, closed in December.
Although I mentioned that Artichoke and Company closed last May after 25 years in the Village at Venetian Bay, chef Brian Gorman wants patrons to know that he still operates his Artichoke and Company full-service catering business in Naples. Gorman moved the business to 1410 Railhead Blvd., North Naples, but did not close Artichoke and Company. Artichoke’s new location can accommodate cooking classes and demonstrations, wine tastings, and small corporate meetings and luncheons, Gorman said.
Expect many new restaurants to open soon in the Naples area. Here are a few newcomers. We will spotlight others in the coming weeks.
■ Barbatella Spirited Italian Trattoria, a new local restaurant from the husband-and-wife team which created nearby Sea Salt in downtown Naples, is targeted to open next week on Third Street South.
Chef Fabrizio and Ingrid Aielli are creating a little piece of Europe in Naples, a simple, everyday venue that is extremely casual and welcoming. The goal is a place where beachgoers and others can walk up as they would to a gelato shop in Italy.
“You don’t have to go home to change. You will feel welcome to come here,” Fabrizio said.
Dishes even will be served friendly style in the middle of a 20-seat community table to encourage passing and sharing. The idea is to create an eatery where people can meet other people.
“It will be very simple, but at the same time very different,” Fabrizio said. “It’s something just a little more upbeat than the red and white tablecloth.”
Barbatella, 1290 Third St. S., will feature pizza, pasta, sandwiches and homemade gelato, and be located near Old Naples Pub in the courtyard spaces formerly occupied by the Garden District and CW Smith Gallery. Click on this link to see Barbatella's breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert menus.
The new eatery will seat about 160 inside and another 60 outside around a courtyard fountain. It will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
■ Gordon’s on the River opens today at Naples Harbour, 475 North Road, on the Gordon River behind Naples Municipal Airport.
Gordon’s traditional steak and seafood menu will include Veal Oscar, Florida Lobster Thermidor, bone-in prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, and aged Black Angus steaks. A new signature dish called Gordon’s Quartet will feature wild boar sausage, ostrich wing, venison tenderloin, and beef short rib, each paired with a complementary sauce.
The new waterfront restaurant, an attempt to revive private supper clubs, is above Jack’s River Bar. The intimate venue has 60 seats with additional seating at a bar and outdoor terrace.
“When diners experience Gordon’s personal service and menu of celebrated classics, they will want to become regulars and enjoy all of the lifestyle amenities that Naples Harbour has to offer,” said Scott Miller, general manager of Naples Harbour, in a news release.
Social memberships include full access to restaurants and bars, a pool, fitness center, sauna and locker rooms. Naples Harbour’s calendar includes themed dinners, wine tastings and other special events.
Reservations are required. Call 239-213-1441, ext. 214.
■ Whisk! Treats and Eats plans to open in the beginning of February on Third Avenue North next to Richie’s Restaurant, across from NCH Hospital in downtown Naples. It’s a new location and business model from the owners of French Bread Oven, an artisan bakery which remains open in St. Andrews Square on U.S. 1 East in East Naples.
The Facebook page for Whisk Treats and Eats describes the new eatery as as “an urban-style grab-and-go serving international baked goods, pastry, sandwiches and more” with the motto, “Fresh Fun Food ... Fast.” Whisk! features sandwiches, dessert shots, salads, soups and “all the things you’ve loved from French Bread Oven.”
Considered part of Trinity Plaza, Whisk! is behind the new Simply Cupcakes store in the former space of Spa Excel.
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