New restaurant coming to Naples Bay Resort, get ready to Nosh

Nosh on Naples Bay, a new restaurant from chef and Naples native Todd Johnson, is coming to the Naples Bay Resort on Fifth Avenue South.

Annabelle Tometich
Naples Daily News

A new restaurant is coming to Naples Bay Resort, and it's coming from a Naples local. 

Chef Todd Johnson and his wife, Dana Johnson, plan to open Nosh on Naples Bay in January. It's Johnson's first new concept in the almost two decades since he and his partners opened Rumrunners in Cape Coral. 

"We took occupancy on the 15th of October, so we've been doing a lot of cleaning," Todd Johnson said. "My wife's doing all the decor changes in the front, changing the paint, the art, the lighting, just really making the space ours."

Nosh on Naples Bay is slated to open January 2022 at Naples Bay Resort

Situated on an inlet of the Gordon River, Nosh is taking over the unit that formerly housed 1500 South and Mereday's. Nosh sits on the ground floor of the luxury resort, occupying what's known as "the point," a small peninsula that allows for waterfront views on both sides of the restaurant. 

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The unique space felt ideal, Johnson said, for his unique concept. 

"We're going to encourage people to do shareables and tastings," he said. "Think tapas, but it's French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, everything."

At Todd Johnson's forthcoming restaurant in Naples, the global menu will feature high-end dishes from this classically trained chef.

The chef, a Naples High alumnus, learned a bit of everything while earning a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University in Miami, and while working alongside renowned Chef Tom Colicchio, co-founder of Gramercy Tavern in New York City. Some of Johnson's earliest jobs were in Naples. In the mid-1990s his work took him north as he helped open Bistro 41 in south Fort Myers, Aqua Grill in North Naples and Mia's in Tampa. In 2003, Johnson and his partners opened Rumrunners, and the 350-seat restaurant all but consumed the chef.

At 5,900 square feet with about 160 seats inside and out, Nosh is a much less sprawling undertaking. 

"I'm really happy with the size," Johnson said. "It allows me to focus on what's coming out of the kitchen."

Nosh on Naples Bay is slated to open in January at the Naples Bay Resort on Fifth Avenue South.

That could include stone crab served with warm, savory bread pudding, steam buns packed with miso pork belly, seared bluefin tuna wrapped in nori, flat breads from the kitchen's wood-fired oven, fresh pastas, USDA Prime dry-aged beef, Wagyu steaks and more. The only dish that will be staying with Johnson from his Rumrunners menu is the meatloaf. 

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"I've had my meatloaf, this will be the seventh restaurant menu that it will have been with me," Johnson said, laughing. "Of course for Nosh, we're going to make it stunning, using great beef but still keeping that comfort factor."

Nosh's kitchen, if all goes as planned, will also be home to eight "Nosh seats," a sort of chef's table available by reservation only, where customers can sit in on the action while enjoying multi-course tastings. 

Those outside of the "Nosh seats" will still have a view of the restaurant's open kitchen, something Johnson hasn't had since his time at Aqua Grill. There will also be a private dining room with seats for 32. And Nosh will have access to Naples Bay Resort's adjacent 5,000-square-foot banquet hall for special events. 

Johnson, who's also a certified sommelier, will feature a robust wine list at Nosh, as well as a full bar of craft cocktails. He and Dana plan to hire about 50 employees. 

"We're just excited to have something smaller," he said, "but something that's still on the water, still with private dining, still with so many of the amenities people enjoyed at Rumrunners — but in a setting where I can make the food I love."

To follow Nosh's progress, visit instagram.com/noshonnaplesbay

Annabelle Tometich is a staff writer and food editor for The News-Press and Naples Daily News. Email atometich@news-press.com; connect on Instagram (@abellewrites) and Twitter (@atometich).

Stone crab with warm, savory bread pudding will be among the seasonal offerings at the new Nosh on Naples Bay from Chef Todd Johnson.