Q: Looks like Latitude restaurant is reopening as Bond. There is a sign up on the marquee. Could you check it out and see what is up?
— Pat, Marco Island
Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo
A: A big, bold, black BOND pops off the marquees at the Naples Walk shopping center entrances, a first impression that provides a sharp contrast to the laid-back look of Latitude, the restaurant and piano bar that preceded it.
The sudden closing of Latitude on April 15, three days before its first anniversary, was the third strike in four years for the 7,000-square-foot location at 2500 Vanderbilt Beach Road. The space was the former site of Paul Sturkey’s Encore until 2008 and Cafe Italia Ristorante from January 2010 to March 2011.
Although that North Naples location has been thoroughly shaken and stirred, its new name has nothing to do with British espionage. When Bond opens June 28, the team behind the new restaurant and lounge intends for it to be a new local place to bond.
Bond’s general manager is Adriano Pucci, who is not new to the location or the restaurant business. Pucci formerly operated Café Italia there as well as in Miromar Outlets and Venice, both of which are closed now. In February, after the Venice location closed, the timing was right for Bond.
“This fell into place better than any of us could have expected and has felt right from the start,” Pucci said.
Pucci’s new team includes former Café Italia Chef Daniel Regalado, as well as Entertainment Director Scott D’Antuono and Beverage Director Larry Genta, a duo that conjures up a live social scene with new nightlife possibilities. They hope Bond becomes a local hangout, a bonding experience.
“Growing up here, it was the local places that united us as friends and neighbors,” said D’Antuono, who also will continue as the managing partner of Vision Nightclub in North Naples. “It was the places you could go to dinner with your family, but as the night and week progressed, they were the same places we went to with friends to be entertained, to see live music and dance.”
Expect “a much broader and more versatile” menu for lunch, dinner and even late night. A sampling of Bond’s “Sharing Menu” features Maine lobster mac & cheese, miso calamari, Parmesan cheese fries, Mediterranean flatbread, and Buffalo chicken pizzetta. Classic entrees will include encrusted grouper, Manhattan chicken, prime cuts of filet mignon and New York strip steaks, as well as Thai ahi tuna, pork shank osso buco and Caribbean mahi mahi. The fusion menu also offers homemade soups and salads with fresh local produce, and special selection of burgers, panini and sandwiches.
“It’s a fusion menu for sure, but as an independent, we are confident we can compete at a higher quality and a varied but value price point. This great kitchen allows us to have a more realistic, creative and efficient behind-the-scenes operation,” Pucci said.
Genta, well known locally as the singing bartender at the former Witches Brew in Naples, and later as operator of the area’s first bartending school, has assembled interesting cocktails and a comprehensive wine list for Bond.
“It’s really adapted to giving something for everybody,” said Genta, noting a variety of liquid refreshments from sake bombs to classic “Mad Men” cocktails.
Expect Bond to have a stage for live music as well as a disc jockey booth in an effort to transform the restaurant after hours into an upscale lounge. The wall between the former restaurant’s lounge and dining area has been removed and replaced with a marble bar.
Three McDonald’s fast-food restaurants in Collier County will be sporting new looks before the summer ends.
First, the McDonald’s on Marco Island is saying goodbye to its iconic red roof, tiki statues, grass huts and hula dancer mural. The local franchise at 899 N. Collier Blvd. will remain open as it undergoes an overhaul to make several contemporary renovations.
“Our customers and employees have enjoyed the restaurant’s unique tiki theme for years, but we felt it was time for the restaurant to change with the times,” said Mike Adams, who co-owns area McDonald’s locations with Tom O’Reilly. “We’re excited to continue serving up quality food and beverages in a fresh environment that is modern, dynamic and comfortable.”
Highlights of the redesigned restaurant will include a new exterior, landscaping that complements the community and a double-lane drive-thru, according to a news release. Inside, customers will enjoy comfortable lighting, flat-screen TVs, contemporary color schemes that reflect the personality of the brand, along with new furniture with natural finishes.
The restaurant will host a “grand reopening” celebration at a date to be announced.
Two additional McDonald’s locations along Immokalee Road in North Naples — Shoppes of Pebblebrooke, 15291 Collier Blvd., and The Strand, 5616 Tavilla Circle — also will undergo similar renovations this summer.
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