Restaurant news: Culinary scholarships awarded to students, Estero BBQ spot now serving pizza


Thank God it's Wednesday. Why? Because restaurant news is here. 

Last time, we learned a new Asian quick service restaurant opened in Ave Maria's town center and that DeRomo's Gourmet Market and Restaurant in Bonita Springs welcomed a new culinary director. 

This week, a North Naples restaurant reopens after a summer closure and The Culinary & Hospitality Education Foundation of Southwest Florida awards thousands of dollars in scholarship funds to local high school students.

Read on for restaurant news. 

Culinary foundation will distribute $42,000 in scholarships to Southwest Florida high school students

Jason Goddard, the corporate chef at Dorona, Barbatella and Sea Salt, poses for a portrait inside Dorona on Wednesday, August 1, 2018.

The Culinary & Hospitality Education Foundation of Southwest Florida will distribute $42,000 in scholarships to Collier and Lee county students who intend to pursue careers and education in hospitality or culinary arts. 

The money was raised earlier this year in a charity chef show-down between Aileli Group Chef Jason Goddard and 21 Spices Chef Asif Sayed. 

CHEF has raised $300,000 in scholarships since its inception in 2004, according to a news release.

CHEF, the Culinary & Hospitality Education Foundation of Southwest Florida, has new directors and officers. Pictured, from left, at a CHEF dinner at Sails are Diane McCaw, Dan McCaw, Taryn Cafiero, Sherry Mills and Davis Mills.

The release also announced that the next showdown will once again feature Goddard and take place virtually on Monday, March 22, 2021. More event details, like Goddard's challenger, will be released at a later date.

For more information, visit

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Rib City now crafting pizza in Estero

Rib City opened its first location in Fort Myers in 1989. The now-national chain is celebrating 30 years in business.

Rib City’s Estero location at 10431 Corkscrew Commons Drive has added six varieties of specialty brick-oven pizzas to its lineup of barbecue and burgers. 

The new pizzas include cheese, jalapeno-cheddar-sausage, hamburger, Buffalo chicken, pulled pork with caramelized onions, and barbecue pulled chicken with bacon. Prices for the personal-sized pizzas start at $8.99.

“The Estero location was formerly an Arizona Pizza but until now we had not put the custom-made brick oven to use,” Rib City's managing partner Paul Peden said in a news release.

“With COVID-19 changing the way we operate all our stores and the restaurant industry in general, we need to take advantage of every opportunity we have in these unusual circumstances and felt it was the perfect time to add specialty brick oven pizzas to our menu at this location.”

Rib City launched in Fort Myers in 1989. The chain now operates 12 corporate restaurants in Florida with 11 locations in Southwest Florida, and 12 franchise restaurants across the country from Tennessee to Virginia, Colorado and Washington.

Visit for more.

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Naples Coastal Kitchen to reopen in October with new award

Coastal Kitchen Tater Kegs, stuffed with bacon, Wisconsin cheddar and chives, are an appetizer standout at Naples Coastal Kitchen.

Naples Coastal Kitchen on U.S. 41 North in Naples will reopen on Oct. 5 after closing for the summer season. During its closure, the restaurant was named one of Tripadvisor's Travelers' Choice restaurants for 2020. 

On TripAdvisor's website, the restaurant averaged a 4.5 out of 5 rating based on 152 reviews.

Naples Coastal Kitchen is at 13500 U.S. 41 N., No. 1, Naples. For more information, call 239-514-4414 or visit

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Small bites...

The G.O.A.T. coffee stout-style beer, a collaboration between Grumpy Goat Coffee and Momentum Brewhouse, has been awarded a silver medal for coffee stout in the Best Florida Beer Professional 2019 competition.

Grumpy Goat Coffee is expanding its online store to include 6 oz. bags of coffee. The beans can be ordered in medium or dark roasts and will be available as whole beans or ground beans. The website also offers free shipping to anyone in the U.S. for orders $35 or more. For more information, visit

Grappino offers a variety of bruschetta at their restaurant as pictured on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.

Grappino is hosting a four-course wine dinner featuring BiBi Graetz Vineyards. Food pairings include a peaches and burrata salad, an espresso-rubbed beef tenderloin and more. Reservations are limited due to social distancing standards. Cost is $79. 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, at Grappino, 90 Ninth St. N., Naples. For information and reservations, call 239-331-4325 or visit

Corporate Chef Jason Goddard presents one of Barbatella's wood-fired pizzas in downtown Naples.

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Barbatella will offer a buy-one-get-one deal on pizza throughout the day on Mondays. This deal is available for dine-in or take-out but cannot be combined with other offers. To order, call 239-263-1955.

A broad door connects The Cave Bistro & Wine Bar with the Naples Wine Collection retail store in the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt in North Naples.

Naples Wine Collection is holding a surprise bottle tasting with six blind-pour wines in different price ranges. Cost is $25 per person. 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, at Naples Wine Collection, 2343 Vanderbilt Beach Road, No. 604, Naples. For reservations, call 239-513-0095 or visit

Sarajane Sullivan writes about food and restaurants for The News-Press and Naples Daily News. Email her at and find her on Twitter @bysarajane.