Mike Ward just couldn't stay retired.
His Erin's Isle Irish Pub reopened Jan. 7 in the former Bogey's Bar & Grill at Hibiscus Golf Club, a public golf course located off Rattlesnake Hammock Road in East Naples.
Also making a move is O'Donaghue's Bar and Grill, going to where Cathy O'Clarkes was located before it closed recently.
Gavin Donahey, general manager of O'Donaghue's, said, "We were very happy with the business we built (at its previous location at 969 N. Collier Boulevard), but we could not pass up the opportunity to relocate to one of the busiest parts of the island." When it opens on Jan. 28, O'Donaghue's will be open every day for lunch and dinner and its Sunday Brunch.
O'Donaghue's customers will be greeted by the same staff and menu with some "great additions," Donahey said, "and the Irish culture will be in place at the new location."
The new location is being completely redecorated and will feature two bars, with covered seating on its new patio.
The original Erin's Isle on Collier Boulevard closed last summer after operating nearly 30 years. Closure came after a disagreement with a new landlord that purchased the property. Ward's lease was not renewed, forcing closure.
The new owner said the building was to be torn down, but no action has occurred since closing.
At that time Ward considered retirement. In fact he and wife Terry went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
"After working 14 to 17 hours a day, me being at home was kind of overwhelming," Ward said. "Terry admitted that me being retired was driving her crazy."
Ward did look at other locations.
"I had looked at a couple of locations, but I liked the space and it (Hibiscus) was open to the public," Ward said. "I saw great potential."
He said he did look at locating in the Naples Outlet off Collier Boulevard.
"For now I am concentrating on this (Hibiscus) location," he said. "I might look at the (Naples Outlet) location at another time."
Allan Cooper, Hibiscus general manager, called Ward about operating a restaurant at Hibiscus.
Cooper said, "I talked with Mike and it has been a fantastic fit for both of us."
Ward said the location is a little farther from the old location than he would have liked, but Hibiscus made sense to him.
"Old customers are already coming back," he said. "It is more of a country club setting than an Irish ambiance, but the reaction has been good after they see the beauty of the dining area and the outside seating, (overlooking the golf course)."
The menu is a bit limited, due to kitchen space. However, customer favorites, Maine Lobster, prime rib and sauteed grouper, remain featured items. He also continues a customer favorite, his breakfast buffet on Sundays.
Ward said his well-known St. Patrick's Day party will continue, but it will be toned down some because of kitchen space. He plans extensive remodeling to the kitchen when season is over.
Ward is pleased that many of his former employees were available to come back to Erin's.
Sara Gade, who started 29 years ago at Erin's as a waitress, is back as a cashier and hostess, which she has done since 1995.
"I missed all the people, particularly at holiday time," Gade said.
Ward is working on having entertainment nightly. For now he has Pete Beyers and Bob Leary on Wednesday, Beyers on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Still to be named is the entertainer for Friday and Saturday night.
Restaurant hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, it opens at 8 a.m. for the breakfast buffet and closes at 6 p.m.
For more information and reservations the temporary phone number is the Hibiscus Pro Shop, 774-0088. When in operation the phone number will be 325-2629.