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‘Watts for Dinner’: Wendy brings her old-fashioned burgers to South Naples

Will Watts
Correspondent

Fast food. I eat it now and again. I’m not sure why though. It’s typically not good for you. It never looks as advertised. And you rarely feel good after eating it. Alas, crave it we do.

And for those of us with a craving, there’s a new fast food option in South Naples. I should say a new location for an old favorite: Wendy’s.

This Wendy’s is the most modern one in Collier County. There’s a nice spot for outdoor dining. Upon entry there’s a staffed register as well as electronic ordering stations. You can also order ahead on your phone for pickup inside or at the drive through. The indoor dining area is cozy.

One thing – as if there’s just one – that sets Wendy’s apart from its counterparts is the chili. Not only one of the best in fast food, but customizable. It’s served hearty and mild, with crackers, and for those who need a little kick, a packet of hot sauce to spice things up. Or several packets.  

I was also looking forward to Wendy’s “Pretzel Bacon Pub Cheeseburger” ($5.69), a quarter-pound of fresh, never-frozen beef (Wendy’s famous square patty), a warm beer cheese sauce, Applewood smoked bacon, smoky honey mustard, crispy fried onions, pickles, and a slice of muenster cheese all on an extra soft pretzel bun. The burger was the bomb! And kind of fancy for a fast food joint.

Even though I had a single, you can double or even triple your patties.

This sandwich also comes with lightly breaded or grilled chicken. And you can’t go wrong with either.  

Unlike many fast food establishments, Wendy’s offers a host of big fresh-made salads.  

I took home the “Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad” ($6.69) featuring a signature lettuce blend, pepper jack cheese, diced tomatoes, cool and creamy avocado, Applewood smoked bacon, and grilled chicken breast, all topped with southwest ranch dressing. And yes, it’s zesty! The chicken was all white meat, the salad was big, delicious and satisfying.

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My dining companion had the “Apple Pecan Chicken Salad” ($6.09) with the lettuce blend, crisp red and green apples, dried cranberries, roasted pecans, crumbled blue cheese and grilled chicken breast l, all topped with a pomegranate vinaigrette. Where else you going to get a salad like this in a drive through? Amazing!

When it comes to fast food French fries, I’m picky. McDonalds, on the rare occasion when they’re served right, are the absolute best. I’m not a big fan of Burger King’s fries – but I do like their onion rings. One thing that makes Wendy’s fries stand out is not the fry itself, but rather that you can get them with melted cheese, or bacon and melted cheese or melted cheese and chili. I’m drooling just typing this!

In addition to the typical soft drinks, Wendy’s also has their famous Frosty. But I went a different direction, ordering off Wendy’s coffee menu. I had a vanilla “Frosty-ccino.” And it truly hit the spot. Just keep stirring it, or the flavor of the last half will suffer.

As fast food chains go, I’m happy to welcome Wendy’s to South Naples. The restaurant is located in the Tamiami Crossing’s shopping center.

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This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.

If you go

Wendy’s

  • 13030 Tamiami Trail E., Naples
  • 239-774-0089
  • wendys.com