Q: Do you know of any casual restaurant, sports bar, 19th hole planned in the immediate Lely Resort area? Don’t get me wrong, Sam Snead’s is great, but how many times can we go there? Thanks.
— Jeff S., Naples
A: Outback Steakhouse is expected to open soon in that area, but confirming its location has been difficult.
Bloomin’ Brands Inc., the Tampa-based restaurant conglomerate that includes Outback, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s and Roy’s, still isn’t talking about it.
“Still too early to discuss a potential new Outback in Naples,” emailed Cathie Koch, Bloomin’ Brands’ vice president of corporate communications, when I asked her this week about a new Outback. “Will keep an eye on it for you.”
During district town hall meetings last week for Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala, Growth Management Division Administrator Nick Casalanguida said Outback is planning to open near U.S. 41 East and Collier Boulevard. Neither Casalanguida nor Fiala could be reached for comment by press time.
County records show Outback has applied for permits at Triangle Plaza at Lely Resort. That’s the 9-acre property that includes Chase Bank at U.S. 41 East and Triangle Boulevard that also borders Freedom Square, the shopping center at Collier Boulevard and U.S. 41. Stock Development, the developer of the plaza and Lely Resort, would not confirm that the steakhouse will open a restaurant there.
It’s no secret that the popular, Australian-themed restaurant chain has been planning for many years to locate in East Naples. The Daily News first reported it about eight years ago.
If Outback lands in Triangle Plaza, it would be only about 500 feet away from its Bloomin’ Brands sister restaurant, Carrabba’s, which opened to a packed house in Freedom Square in June 2006.
In fact, because of the usual Outback-Carrabba’s connection, rumors of Outback opening there were further fueled at least three years ago when Stock began clearing that undeveloped commercial property for development.
As far as other eateries or watering holes coming to that area, Brixmor and Kite Realty have nothing to report for Freedom Square and Shops at Eagle Creek, respectively. If anyone knows of anything else, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE LOCAL RESTAURANT NEWS
■ Sumo Sushi Sake, the first sushi drive-thru in Naples, opened Feb. 25 in The Promenade at Naples Centre, 6438 Naples Blvd., at Airport-Pulling Road. The new casual restaurant is in the completely remodeled former Starbucks drive-thru next to Chick-fil-A.
In addition to sushi, the menu features barbecue skewers and other Yakitori dishes, salmon and steak. Sumo also has saki and saki drinks, beer and wine.
Sumo Sushi Sake is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday. 239-591-1122
■ Zaxby’s, a casual restaurant chain built around chicken fingers and wings, is planning five locations in Lee and Collier counties within the next six years, according to Rusti Clinger, who co-owns the local franchise, Deklam Divas LLC, with Marie Mahan.
The first local Zaxby’s is planned to open by December in the Palm Pointe Shoppes, 11521 S. Cleveland Ave., just south of Page Field in Fort Myers, Clinger said.
The second area location is scheduled to hatch by next summer near Gulf Coast Town Center in south Lee County. Deklam Divas recently purchased 1.25 acres of vacant land at 17500 Ben Hill Griffin Parkway for $550,000 from Wells Fargo Corporate Properties Group, according to a news release.
Where will Zaxby’s open in Collier? The Divas duo is waiting to see where the demographics work best and where they can purchase land, Clinger said.
Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo
■ Ozzy’s Place Sports Bar & Grill opened in December at 3929 Bayshore Drive in the former location of the Ship’s Inn. The East Naples location most recently was the short-lived Bayshore Breeze Inn.
By investing in the community, co-owners Osmel “Ozzy” Suarez and Maria Cruz plan to be part of the recent movement to improve and transform the Bayshore area, Cruz said. Future plans include exterior renovations such as a tiki area.
The casual bar features karaoke on Wednesdays and live music and outdoor grilling Sundays. The grill serves cheese fries, mozzarella sticks, wings, chicken fingers, Cuban sliders and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches.
Ozzy’s Place is open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and closed Monday and Tuesday. 239-732-8008
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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.