Q: We’ve heard that one of our favorite North Naples restaurants, EVOO, may be moving. Any idea where they will be going?
— Joe DeGioia, North Naples
A: EVOO Bistro isn’t exactly moving, but the Martin family, who has operated the local restaurant for more than eight years, is moving on to a new venture in Naples for next season, said Brian Martin, EVOO’s executive chef and managing partner.
The Martins are joining forces with the Phelans, the family behind the successful regional seafood chain Pinchers Crab Shack, to open a high-end seafood restaurant, tentatively called Yellowfin Bistro.
“They are a local family owned restaurant and so are we,” Martin said. “The partnership is a good opportunity and a good concept.”
Expect EVOO Bistro to close at the end of April and Yellowfin Bistro to open at the end of summer, Martin said, although the location for the new restaurant has not been narrowed down.
“I’m just looking for a great location for us,” he said. “I’m looking for a location with a lot more traffic.”
The new bistro’s menu won’t be completely new to EVOO patrons.
“EVOO classics will definitely be available and on the menu at the new place,” Martin said.
For instance, he said EVOO entrees such as the recently added tripletail with Parmesan gnocchi and lobster butter sauce will carry over to the menu at the new bistro.
“Dishes like that will be the style that we are going to bring to Yellowfin,” Martin said.
Martin said the new bistro will be supplied fresh seafood from Island Crab Co. on Pine Island. The seafood company is owned by Tony and Grant Phelan, the same father-and-son team that owns and operates eight Pinchers Crab Shack restaurants. The Phelans could not be reached for comment regarding the new bistro venture.
EVOO’s Martin was sous chef at Four Seasons in Boston when he moved to Naples to open his own place in February 2005 with his father, Robert Martin, who lived in Bonita. Then, it was EVOO Market and Bistro, but the adjoining gourmet market, part of the original 8,000-square-foot business in Royal Cove Plaza, 13240 U.S. 41 N., closed in May 2009.
Orange Leaf update
Q: In early January, you reported that Orange Leaf, a yogurt business, would open two stores — one in Naples and the other in Town Center on Marco. Do you have any updates on these stores? Nothing has happened on Marco.
— J.P, Marco Island
A: The self-serve frozen yogurt chain had construction issues preventing it from opening both area stores as planned. The new locations for Orange Leaf were scheduled to open the same day — March 4 — in North Naples and on Marco Island, said Bil Potter with the Florida development company for Orange Leaf.
The locations, both opening in former video stores, are at least two months behind schedule. Orange Leaf now plans to open in late May in Riverchase Plaza in North Naples in the corner location of a former Blockbuster, Potter said. It will be until at least mid-summer before the location opens in Marco Town Center.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt opened three area locations in 2012. The first opened in early May in Miromar Outlets in Estero, followed by another in early June in the Village on Venetian Bay. A third location opened Dec. 19 next to the Lani Kai Island Resort in Fort Myers Beach.
Saladworks will share the space of the former Blockbuster store in Riverchase Plaza with Orange Leaf, which is building the wall dividing the two businesses. Saladworks, a nationwide fast-casual salad franchise, cannot begin construction until the wall is completed.
“Hopefully, this all comes together next week so we can get the construction started,”said Cheri Cecchin, who is opening her second Saladworks location with her husband, Victor. “It is looking like a June opening now.”
The North Naples location on the northeast corner of U.S. 41 North and Immokalee Road will be the first restaurant in Southwest Florida for the franchise.
The Cecchins' first store opened four years ago in New Jersey, and they plan at least four more in the Collier-Lee area.
“We are currently in lease negotiations with Kite Realty for a space in the Target shopping center at Pine Ridge and Airport,” Cheri Cecchin said. “We would like that space to be opened by year end, but permitting is really slowing the process at this point, so we have to factor that into our expectations.”
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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.