Photo by DANIA MAXWELL, NAPLES DAILY NEWS // Buy this photo
NAPLES — The arrival of fall on Saturday — at least on the calendar if not on the thermometer — means the summer break that some Southwest Florida restaurant operators take is about to end.
Pastrami Dan's in Naples is one of several Collier County restaurants that closed for part of the summer, but which will reopen next month.
Owner Dan Castaregni said he traditionally closes for a month starting in September, usually after Labor Day, because it's the slowest time of year and children are back in school.
"It's a good time for us to take off," Castaregni said. "What kind of life do you have if you cannot do that?"
Castaregni said he understands that many businesses cannot do what he does, but because it's a family-owned business he has the ability to close for a month each summer. The business has been closing every summer since 1975.
In addition, Castaregni said he doesn't have the crew to keep the restaurant at 586 U.S. 41 N., between Fifth Avenue North and Sixth Avenue North, open so that he can take a vacation. This year, Pastrami Dan's reopens Oct. 15.
Castaregni said the time off gives him an opportunity to recharge and deep-clean the eatery before it reopens for tourist season.
Nearby, Cosmo's Café and Pizzeria, 536 U.S. 41 N., is open for business — a bit earlier this year.
Cosmo's Café and Pizzeria owner Gianluca Corso closes every year to recharge, because most of the year he works seven days a week. When Corso closes his Naples restaurant, he travels to Italy to rest and bring back new recipes from his native land.
"I learn a lot of new recipes. It makes me happy to bring it back to America," he said.
Typically, Cosmo's closes for all of August and September, but this year only closed five weeks. This year, Cosmo's reopened Sept. 5.
Corso, who has been in business nearly five years, said he decided to reopen earlier this year because the restaurant had more customers than usual in July.
"I was busy and I believe this season is going to be better than last year," said Corso, noting he had a good season last year.
When Cosmo's is closed, Corso still pays his employees, most of whom are kitchen workers.
"As employees, they can rest as well and plan their vacations in the month of August," he said. "And everybody is happy."
Several miles away in Goodland, Old Marco Lodge Crab House, Little Bar Restaurant and Stan's Idle Hour Restaurant were closed for the summer but reopen in October.
"Goodland is a small town and it becomes basically a ghost town for about three months," said Steve Gober, Stan's owner. "There is not really enough business to afford to stay open."
Stan's has closed in August and September every summer for the past 20 years or more. Stan's, at 221 Goodland Drive, reopens for business Oct. 6 and remains open solely on the weekends in October. Then, in November, the restaurant opens daily, except on Mondays.
At the end of September, Gober will start preparing the eatery to reopen.
Closing for two months gives everyone a break and employees return rejuvenated to work in October, Gober said.
For the most part, Stan's has the same employees every year.
Typically, Gober goes on vacation to the Florida Keys.
Some of the other restaurants that closed for the summer were Michelbob's Ribs Restaurant in East Naples, Bellini on Fifth Italian Ristorante in downtown Naples, Wylds Cafe in Bonita Springs, and A Table Apart in Bonita Springs (closed the first three weeks this month and reopening Wednesday, Sept. 26).
Among other restaurants mentioned by the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce that closed for the summer and which already reopened or are getting ready to: Altin's Cafe & Grill (closed for September), The Jolly Cricket (closed from Sept. 3 through Sept. 13), Cibao Grille (closed in August) and Alexander's (closed May through September).