In the Know: What is the oldest restaurant in Naples?

TIM ATEN
Kelly's Fish House Dining Room, located at 1302 Fifth Ave. S., just south of the Gordon River Bridge, is the oldest, continuously run restaurant in Naples.

Photo by ERIC STRACHAN // Buy this photo

Kelly's Fish House Dining Room, located at 1302 Fifth Ave. S., just south of the Gordon River Bridge, is the oldest, continuously run restaurant in Naples.

Q: Could you solve a “discussion”? What’s the oldest, continuously run, same-location restaurant in Naples?

— Buzz Hill, North Naples

Kelly's Fish House Dining Room, located at 1302 Fifth Ave. S., just south of the Gordon River Bridge, is the oldest, continuously run restaurant in Naples.

Photo by ERIC STRACHAN // Buy this photo

Kelly's Fish House Dining Room, located at 1302 Fifth Ave. S., just south of the Gordon River Bridge, is the oldest, continuously run restaurant in Naples.

A: Kelly’s Fish House Dining Room, at 1302 Fifth Ave. S., just south of the Gordon River Bridge, is the oldest, continuously run restaurant in Naples.

“I’m 99.9 percent sure that’s the oldest,” said Old Naples historian Lois Bo­lin.

“Kelly’s would win hands down,” said Bill Barnett, a Naples coun­cilman and former mayor who knows a thing or two about local restaurants.

“None are as old or as popular as the Fish House,” said city histori­an and Naples Daily News columnist Doris Reynolds.

Pat and Bob Combs opened the Fish House Dining Room in 1953. Sixty years later, the nau­tical look of the seafood restaurant — with its glass-topped tables serv­ing as display cases for native shells — has hardly changed, Reynolds said.

“The Fish House be­came noted for its unusu­al décor, for the fresh fish which came directly from Combs Fish Company and the fishing fleet tied up at the back door. Its most fa­mous dish, however, was the Fish House key lime pie,” Reynolds wrote in “When Peacocks Were Roasted and Mullet Was Fried,” one of her books commemorating local color.

In 1971, the Combs fam­ily sold the waterfront property to Kelly McGill, who added her name to the landmark restaurant. Today, Kelly Ellis, the son of “Mama Kelly,” still owns the family restaurant and Combs Fish Co. across from Tin City.

Photo with no caption

TIN CITY’S FIRST RESTAURANT

Q: Do you know the name of the first restaurant in Tin City, other than Riverwalk? I believe there was at least one before Merriman’s Wharf.

— Ray White, Naples

A: Tin City Food & Spirits was the first dining spot in what was originally called the Old Marine Marketplace when it opened in 1976, said Vin DePasquale, one of the co-developers who transformed a former clam-shelling and oyster-processing operation into a collection of shops and eateries at 1200 Fifth Ave. S. in Naples.

“That was my restaurant at the beginning,” said DePasquale, who has operated Riverwalk restaurant in Tin City — as well as The Dock restaurant nearby at Crayton Cove — for more than 30 years.

“We built Tin City in stages. There were three buildings involved,” he said.

The first stage was the building along U.S. 41, De-Pasquale said. The building’s easternmost space on the Gordon River was where Tin City Food & Spirits was located. The name changed when DePasquale sold it, although he could not recall what it was called then.

In the same location, Tommy Merriman soon opened Merriman’s Wharf, the name that stuck with the place the longest. In the early ’90s, Naples City Councilman Bill Barnett’s son, Jeff, operated Bill’s Pier on Fifth there. The waterfront restaurant eventually became Pier 41, and it has been Pinchers Crab Shack since 2007. In 1979, during Tin City’s third stage, Riverwalk restaurant opened where it still operates today in the former Doxsee clam cannery, DePasquale said.

Mr. Big Fish seafood restaurant opened Feb. 10 in the former Tropical Palm Café space in Neapolitan Way shopping center off U.S. 41 North in Naples.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Mr. Big Fish seafood restaurant opened Feb. 10 in the former Tropical Palm Café space in Neapolitan Way shopping center off U.S. 41 North in Naples.

MORE LOCAL RESTAURANT NEWS

Mr. Big Fish opened for dinner Sunday, Feb. 10, and for lunch on Valentine’s Day on Thursday in the former Tropical Palm Café space in Neapolitan Way shopping center off U.S. 41 North in Naples. The local restaurant focuses on fresh seafood, but its menu also has steaks and a few chicken dishes, as well as beer and wine.

Mr. Big Fish, 754 Neapolitan Way, isopen11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. 239-213-9342.

A corner in Old Fogies in Bonita Springs steps up to a 1960s-era living room with a big console television topped with rabbit ears antenna.

Photo by Old Fogies

A corner in Old Fogies in Bonita Springs steps up to a 1960s-era living room with a big console television topped with rabbit ears antenna.

Old Fogies opens today in Bonita Springs, serving up music, food and fun at 26455 Old 41 Road, in the Shoppes at Hawthorne just north of Buffalo Chips Restaurant. Its old-fashioned lunch counter includes grilled cheese, BLTs, chicken salad, tuna salad, hot dogs, Italian sausage and fresh salads. Drinks include beer and wine as well root beer floats and shakes.

Check out the unique entertainment venue’s website at oldfogiesbonita.com.

Old Fogies is open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. 239-676-1360

Naples Caribbean Market & Take-Out Restaurant closed in January 2013 in Pebblebrooke Center, near the corner of Collier Boulevard and Immokalee Road.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Naples Caribbean Market & Take-Out Restaurant closed in January 2013 in Pebblebrooke Center, near the corner of Collier Boulevard and Immokalee Road.

Naples Caribbean Market & Take-Out Restaurant closed in January in Pebblebrooke Center, 15215 Collier Blvd., in North Naples. The local business, which specialized in dishes and products for Jamaican, Haitian and Latin cuisines, opened in November 2011. A thrift store soon will replace it.

___

Have a local question? Email it with your name and city of residence to intheknow@naplesnews.com.

"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.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Related Links

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features