You wouldn't know it by a quick Google search, but Joey D's Italian Restaurant & Bar has opened a third location on Marco Island.
But you'd certainly know it by the packed parking lot on a Friday evening at the start of season. "Your neighborhood Italian restaurant and bar," as the tagline goes, had all the comforts of a local eatery with friendly service and good eats.
Owners Joseph and Jennifer DiPascale operate the trio of eateries featuring Jersey- and New York-style thin-crust and deep-dish pizzas, a smorgasbord of Italian pastas dishes, baked entrees, cold and hot subs, wraps, salads and appetizers. The other two locations can be found at Immokalee and Airport-Pulling roads in North Naples, and on Davis Boulevard in East Naples.
This latest restaurant, on Bald Eagle Drive just off Collier Boulevard, opened in July and takes up two storefronts, one briefly Seven-O-One Bistro & Lounge and the other the longtime home of Porky’s Restaurant and Lounge.
One-half is for the bar, which has booths on the perimeter and about two dozen widescreen TVs overhead, and the other half is a much quieter lounge dining area, with dangling chandeliers and crystal-studded mirrors. Our table of three was seated in a U-shaped booth on the bar side, which was loud, but it was the first available.
We already had drinks from the bar, but our waiter was quick to take an appetizer order.
The fried calamari ($10.99), lightly floured and deep-fried, was the perfect texture — tender with a little bit of chewiness. Diners can order it mild, medium or hot for additional flavor. A side of marinara came alongside for dipping. It was what it should be, nothing more or less.
We also ordered the fried ravioli ($7.99), which included eight of the miniature raviolis lightly floured, egg-washed, breaded and deep-fried to crispy perfection with a side of marinara. The little pockets of cheese puffed up and oozed when we bit into them.
With our dinner entrees, Joey D's adds in complimentary salads and a pepperoni roll, which was deliciously topped with Parmesan cheese and Italian seasonings. We wished there was more marinara for dipping.
The menu of pizzas — ordered small, large or deep dish — includes all the favorites, like the five meat or five cheese pizza, plus some more unusual offerings like the seafood pizza, with sautéed shrimp, calamari, mussels, clams, garlic and olive oil.
We steered clear and selected the 16-inch cheesesteak pizza ($20.99), which came topped with peppery Philly steak, onions, peppers and pools of melted American cheese, the kind gooey enough to stick to the top of our mouths when we took a bite. This pizza can be ordered with or without marinara sauce, and at our waiter's suggestion, we added the sauce.
It was a good suggestion, too, because without it we feared the pie would be too dry. As a whole, the pizza really did taste like a cheesesteak. Our only complaint was that the crust lacked flavor. A dusting of Parmesan cheese or garlic butter would have gone a long way here.
We each tried a pasta dish, too, including the pasta Alfredo ($14.99). Heavy cream and egg yolk blended for a creamy sauce that wasn't too rich like many Alfredos, although it was a little on the bland side. And there was a lot of it, too. The penne pasta was nearly drowning in sauce, but we really didn't mind it.
We did mind it more with the pear and Gorgonzola fiocchi ($15.99), though. The purse-shaped noodles were filled with pear and Gorgonzola cheese. It had wonderful textures, with creamy cheese and sweet, crunchy bites of pear. But between the Gorgonzola and the pool of cream sauce, it was so rich I could only take a few bites. Still, those few bites were very yummy.
Lastly, another diner at our table ordered the Zuppa De Pesce ($20.95) with angel hair pasta. It came with a white garlic and oil sauce that had the perfect amount of spice for the jumbo shrimp, clams, mussels and calamari packed into the dish. Joey D’s definitely does not use the pasta to skimp out on the seafood. The medley is the star, and it almost falls out of the dish. He ordered it hot. You could also order mild or medium, but why?
Although the menu for Joey D's Marco Island location is hard to find on the web, it certainly doesn't need the help. Diners packed the restaurant on that recent Friday evening. Still, our waiter found time to check on us and kept up a friendly banter that gave Joey D's that "neighborhood" restaurant and bar feel.
It's clear that the casual dining experience and rich Italian specialties keep customers coming back. With a little more seasoning and a little less sauce, we'll come back, too.
The Naples Daily News pays for all meals for dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free meals.
Where: 701 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays; closed Mondays
Prices: Appetizers $2.99-$12.99; soups and salads $3.50-$14.99; entrées $11.99-$28.99; chicken and veal $17.99-$19.99; seafood $17.99-$20.99; baked entrées $14.99-$19.99; pizza $12.99-$20.99; specialty subs $8.99-$10.99; wraps $8.99
More information: 239-389-5639; joeydsnaples.com
Forks: 4 out of 5