NAPLES — After the long Labor Day weekend, two more local restaurants in the Naples area are closed, but others continue to open.
Both shuttered dining spots — Patric's in North Naples and Sweet Mama's Island Cuisine in East Naples — were distinct, personal extensions and unique creations of their hands-on chef-owners.
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The closing of Patric's in Mission Square West off Pine Ridge Road is not a happy ending for diners who have followed the local dining variations of Patric Achilles for the last 14 years.
The author of his own cookbook, "Cook Your Way to a Happy Ending," Achilles sounded exhausted before he closed his self-named restaurant Sunday afternoon in preparation for what he is calling semi-retirement, although he is in his early 50s.
"I personally need to slow down a bit. My relationship needs to catch up," Achilles said. "It's just the beginning step to retirement, a slow transition to fully retiring. It's time."
Achilles and longtime partner Gary Teater won't be going far. They will be taking over the private café at World Tennis Club, a gated community off Airport-Pulling Road and only 2.5 miles away from the former Patric's.
Despite its proximity, Achilles' new creations won't be easy for the average Neapolitan to sample. The tennis club's poolside restaurant, to be renamed Match/Point Café when it debuts next month, is open to the general public only one night a week. Free tennis exhibitions are open on Thursdays by pro Pavel Slozil on the stadium court adjacent to the clubhouse and café, near the community's entrance.
"We are going to do a great barbecue every Thursday," Achilles said.
Patric's sweet potato fries and a variation of its popular chicken sandwich will follow Achilles to his new venue, but loyal fans will miss his all-day breakfasts with sausage gravy on homemade buttermilk biscuits, his signature breakfast burrito, and his popular corned beef hash, all made from scratch. Match/Point Café will serve lunch and dinner, but not breakfast, Achilles said.
The tennis club's restaurant, most recently called WTC Café, was operated last year by the Stranavsky family, who wanted to devote more time to their new Alpine Restaurant in the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt. They recently relocated, revamped and renamed their Europia Bistro from Pebblebrooke Center off Collier Boulevard.
Achilles knows firsthand about the evolving local restaurant business. He operated Patric's from 2005 to 2007 on Davis Boulevard in a location that now is part of the parking lot for Oakes Farm Market in East Naples. After a brief hiatus, including a stint at the former Shark's Cavern in Marquesa Plaza and a "reinvention period," Achilles opened Patric's in North Naples in July 2009.
In October 2010, Achilles expanded into the adjoining space of the former Café Alessio and opened Patric's in the Evening, a nightlife addition to his breakfast-lunch business. He closed that part of his business last May.
Through all the changes, Achilles has been working nonstop running a local catering service, which he began in 1998 as Patric's Expressions and eventually shortened the name to simply Patric's. He still makes his own jams, preserves and butters as well as other sweets such as homemade ice cream.
A thank-you note to customers has been posted at Patric's during the past month.
"What a journey this has been. But to every journey there comes a resting place," reads the letter in part, signed by Achilles and Teater. "We are both pleased and saddened, but Patric's needs to take a breath."
Sweet Mama's Island Cuisine
Sweet Mama's Island Cuisine closed Friday night in East Naples. Naples' loss is a gain for Nashville, Tenn.
Local restaurateur Sheraz Roobena Khan has fallen in love with a Tennessean and volunteered to follow him to Music City.
Khan intends to share her popular Caribbean and Creole dishes with fresh faces. She plans to open Sweet Mama's Caribbean Cuisine, substituting the word "Caribbean" for "Island" in her new landlocked location.
Khan opened Sweet Mama's Island Cuisine in April 2010 in the former home of Mr. Mom's Diner, 3560 U.S. 41 E., across the street from the Sonic drive-in in Naples Towne Centre. She previously operated a small restaurant with the same name at U.S. 41 and Third Street North in Naples, and she had introduced the area to her cooking skills with Pizza Pasta Paradise, which she previously ran on Pine Ridge Road in North Naples.
More local restaurant news
■ Larry's Lunchbox Delicatessen opened its second location Aug. 29 in the Neapolitan Way shopping center off U.S. 41 in Naples.
The second Lunchbox offers the same popular menu as the first, which marks its 25th anniversary this year on Airport- Pulling Road in East Naples. The local kosher-style deli operated by the Redding family offers dine in, pickup and free local delivery.
The new location, 870 Neapolitan Way, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. 239-263-2713.
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■ Cgrape Chef is scheduled to open Monday in Imperial Square Plaza on the northeast corner of U.S. 41 North and Imperial Golf Course Boulevard between Wiggins Pass and Immokalee Road. The new location, 975 Imperial Golf Course Blvd., No. 116, is the former home of GreekElicious, which closed earlier this year, and Pandora Bakery.
Owner and chef Mai Harkness now serves her Asian-American cuisine at the Flamingo Island Flea Market off Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Springs and formerly operated Cgrape Coffee and Wine Bar where C Level Wine Bar opened late last year in Bonita's Liberty Bank Plaza.
■ DQ Grill & Chill opened Tuesday at 694 Ninth St. N. in Naples, a day after Dairy Queen's more than 50-year-old store closed three blocks south in the classic red, A-frame building. The new location features inside seating, more outdoor seating and new items such as ice cream cupcakes. Its hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.
■ McDonald's in the Shoppes of Pebblebrooke, 15291 Collier Blvd., fully reopened Saturday after undergoing a renovation. The project began in July to give the fast-food spot a more modern, cleaner look. The exterior now features stone bricks and the company's golden swoosh eyebrow.
A central eating counter with eight stools and a flat-screen TV, a "refresh" station, and the addition of earth tones are among the changes inside. It's the second of three local McDonald's owned by Adams and O'Reilly getting remodeled this year. The McDonald's on Marco Island reopened with the new look earlier this summer, and The Strand location off Immokalee Road is undergoing changes but remains open in North Naples.
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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.