Q: I really enjoy the Red Robin Gourmet Burger franchise in the Gulf Coast Town Center in Estero. Is Naples ever going to see a Red Robin franchise?
— Frank D'Agostino, Naples
A: Because of Red Robin's plethora of advertising on local television, you would think the burger chain already has multiple locations in our region. Even though the location at Gulf Coast Town Center is the only Red Robin nearby, the Colorado-based company does not plan now to locate one in Naples or elsewhere in the area.
"We are always looking at potential areas for growth but, at this point, we do not have any Red Robin restaurants planned for Naples itself," said Peter MacKellar, a Red Robin corporate spokesman. "We are not actively seeking any other franchise locations."
In addition to Gulf Coast Town Center, the restaurant chain's website lists Florida locations in Miami, Tampa, Port Orange, Wesley Chapel, Pensacola and Panama City Beach. Locations are reported coming soon in Clearwater and Pembroke Pines.
"Because unplanned schedule changes can arise with new restaurants, we typically do not publicly announce new restaurant locations until a couple of months before opening,"says one answer to frequently asked questions on the company's website.
"If you have a suggestion for where we might open a new Red Robin in your community, or any other location, we welcome your thoughts."
Send the company location suggestions via the contact page on its website, redrobin.com/contact_us.
Red Robin, which opened its first restaurant in Seattle in 1969 and went public in 2002, has more than 450 restaurants across the U.S. and Canada. Most of the locations are company-owned, but about one-third are franchised restaurants.
In addition to its signature burgers and chicken sandwiches, the chain's menu features other entrees, salads and bottomless beverages and steak fries.
More local restaurant news
■ Caffe Portofino artisan Italian bakery opened June 6 in the Neapolitan Way shopping center off U.S. 41 in Naples. The bakery/pizzeria took over the former space of Flavor Tree restaurant/deli, which operated at that location, 818 Neapolitan Way, from March 2010 to June 2011.
Caffe Portofino previously had a retail location in the former Naples Famous Pizza location on Collier Boulevard at Rattlesnake Hammock Road, and later a wholesale location on Beck Boulevard in East Naples.
"I'm very happy to be back in retail. I missed it," said owner Rolan Richard.
The Bronx-born Richard bakes New York-style, thin crust pizzas, as well as Sicilian pizza, stromboli and calzone. The menu also includes grinders, salads and pasta dishes. Of course, the Italian bakery also is known for its cannoli, biscotti, and other fresh pastries, cookies, breads and holiday specialties.
"We are talked about for our pastries," Richard said. "We are known primarily for our bakery."
Look for the business to nearly triple in size in a couple of months. Richard is tearing down an adjoining wall and expanding his 1,100-square-foot store by another 2,200 square feet. In addition to more space, Richard said he will add an espresso bar.
The local bakery delivers within a 3-mile to 4-mile radius. It is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. 239-774-0199.
■ Jet's Pizza is opening its third area location this summer on U.S. 41 in the Naples Park area of North Naples, said franchisee Thomas Jakubczak of Michigan. The new store is expected to open in the latter part of August next door to AAA Coney Island & Mario's Greek Gourmet in the former Pak Mail suite of Duchess Centre, a small strip center along U.S. 41 North between 98th Avenue North and 99th Avenue North. Expect the new Jet's to deliver south to Pine Ridge Road, north to Bonita Beach Road and east to Interstate 75, Jakubczak said.
In addition to the North Naples location, Jakubczak (pronounced Juh KOOB-zak) owns the original East Naples location in Commerce Centers off Radio Road, as well as the one in Estero Town Commons. Look for future Jet's locations in the eventual shopping center at Wilson and Golden Gate boulevards in Golden Gate Estates, as well as expected locations near Davis and Collier boulevards, and in Bonita Springs and Sarasota, he said.
Jet's America Inc., which began in 1978 in Sterling Heights, Mich., has more than 225 franchises throughout 13 states. In addition to its signature deep-dish, Jet's pizza menu features hand-tossed rounds, as well as thin crust pies cut into squares.
What sets Jet's apart from other pizzeria chains?
"It's what we do every day. We make our dough fresh every day. Our vegetables are cut every day. Our cheese is shredded fresh every day," Jakubczak said. "We don't have commissaries. Our commissary is our back kitchen."
In addition to adhering to a mission for consistency, cleanliness and customer service, Jet's make contributions and commitments to local community agencies, youth sports teams, and helping special needs children, Jakubczak said.
"If you have a need and need it fulfilled, the answer is always yes," he said. "We look at the area we can do the most good for the most people."
■ Maguro Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi is opening this month in the Gateway Shoppes at North Bay shopping center on the northwest corner of Wiggins Pass Road and U.S. 41 North. Owner Vicky Zhang hopes to open her first restaurant about July 10, she said.
Maguro will be located in a new unit in an out-parcel building connected to Scottrade, an online investment firm. The nearly 5,000-square-foot restaurant will seat 150 and feature 10 hibachi tables, where diners get a front-row seat as chefs prepare meals on tableside grills. 239-591-0003.
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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.