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What's New and Hot 2009

IF YOU'VE BEEN NORTH ALL SUMMER, WELCOME BACK! If you’ve been in town but stuck indoors with the air conditioning on, it’s time to come on out! We’ve found the newest shops, dining, entertainment and healthy living options for you to explore along the Gulfshore.

Snowbirds coming back for season will find lots of tasty new treats awaiting them (especially for pizza lovers). New eateries are sprouting up in Mercato, and the River District has a few new restaurants, as well. Newer concepts—like cupcakeries and all-organic pizza—are diversifying the dining options throughout the Gulfshore.

Collier County

Blue Martini
Location: 9114 Strada Place, Suite 12105, at Mercato in Naples
Details: (239) 591-2583 Hours: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily
What’s the buzz:
This has become the place for singles in Naples. Every night of the week you can find a good-looking crowd enjoying drinks and dancing throughout the club and patio. Things heat up Wednesday through Saturday with live music.

Sassy Cakes
Location: 2550 Goodlette Road N., Suite 2, Naples
Details: (239) 687-5100, www.sassycakesinc.com. Hours: Wednesday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What’s the buzz:
There’s a new cupcakery in town, with flavors of the week like “Mocha Make My Day” and “Snickers Chocolate Craze.” Delivery service available.
Be the first to try:
Pupcakes! Made especially for dogs.

Location: 9118 Strada Place, Suite 8170, at Mercato in Naples
(239) 592-5056, www.piola.it. Hours: Sunday through Wednesday noon to 11 p.m., Thursday through Saturday noon to 1 a.m.
What’s the buzz: One of only seven in the United States, this international chain makes thin-crust brick oven pizzas.
Be the first to try:
Sauce-free white pizza, such as the Copenhagen with smoked salmon, brie, parsley and mozzarella.

Bravo! Cucina Italiana
Location: 9110 Strada Place, Building 6, Suite 6, at Mercato in Naples
Details: www.bravoitalian.com
What’s the buzz:
Upscale casual Italian restaurant serving a huge menu of traditional Italian favorites and a few surprises.
Don’t miss: The interior is inspired by ancient ruins, but if you’re on the run, 17 menu items can be packaged up to go in “large pans” and serve eight or 16.

Stage Deli
Location: Mercato in Naples
What’s the buzz: This deli, founded in Detroit, isn’t open yet, but it’s getting lots of attention already. It promises to serve deli standards like soups, sandwiches and salads—and we hear the corned beef is going to make it worth the wait.

Cosmo’s Café & Pizzeria
Location: 536 Ninth St. N., Naples
Details: (239) 262-8181, www.cosmospizzanaples.com. Hours: Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to close, Saturday 4 p.m. to close.
What’s the buzz:
This refurbished restaurant is a new Gulfshore Life staff favorite for its hearty pizzas, pizza rolls, pasta dishes and sub sandwiches.

Lee County

Pizza Fusion
Location: 12901 McGregor Blvd., Suite 5, Fort Myers
Details: (239) 337-7979. Hours: Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
What’s the buzz:
This new pizzeria uses organic ingredients and focuses on maintaining an ecologically sustainable business, even using hybrid cars to deliver its pies.
Be the first to try: Gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian pizzas and lactose-free cheese.

Café Matisse 
Location: 2236 First St., Fort Myers
Details: (239) 362-1831. Hours: Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. 10 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
What’s the buzz: A new River District restaurant that used to house Liquid Café. All items are under $9.
Don’t miss: The organic coffee and teas.

Captiva Pizza, Yogurt & Gift Emporium
Location: 11513 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva
Details: (239) 395-0823, captivapizza.com. Hours 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
What’s the buzz:
Opening this month, try the pizza, yogurt and organic salads served in environmentally friendly packaging, or pick up candies or gifts.
Be the first to: Get food delivered on Sanibel or Captiva. Owner Sandy Stilwell says this is the only restaurant to bring your order to your home.

Bad economy or not, there’s no doubt the shopping scene in Southwest Florida is thriving. New stores are opening, while others are relocating and even expanding. Among the changes, one thing’s for certain—the days of having to get your shopping kicks out of town have gone the way of tie-dye and matching shoes and bags.

Collier County

New stores in downtown Naples
Location: Throughout Third Street South and Fifth Avenue South, Naples
What’s the buzz: Downtown Naples is abuzz with new store openings and relocations, including English Traditions, Lulu’s Little Market, Random Acts of Art, Island Company, Marilyn’s and BR Uno.
Be the first to: Give your wardrobe a new perspective with unique statement pieces from Paris and Milan, hand-selected by Marilyn’s owner Marilyn Hellman.
Name to look for: Bruno Dhaine, former partner at A Mano, branches out with his own namesake gift and tabletop store, BR Uno, on Third Street South.

Style Matters at Waterside Shops
Location: 5415 Tamiami Trail N., Naples
What’s the buzz: Waterside shoppers get personalized color analysis, style consultation, gift buying and personal shopping—just like the stars.
Don’t miss this: A shopping trip without the stress of deciding yourself what looks hot and what looks … not.
Name to look for: International style and image expert Cheryl Lampard, who tailors trends to fit each client’s individual lifestyle.

New stores at Mercato
Location: U.S. 41 and Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples
What’s the buzz: The retail lineup at Naples’ newest live-work-play development continues to grow with additions like Pandora, Spectacles, Femme Fatale, Mercato Jewelers and GiGi’s Children’s Boutique.
Be the first to: Build your own customizable bracelet from Pandora’s more than 800 charms.
Names to look for: Little stylistas meet their match with GiGi’s Children’s Boutique’s collection of Ella Moss, Juicy Couture and Twelfth Street.

New at Marissa Collections
Location: 1167 Third St. S., Naples
What’s the buzz: Marissa’s unveils men’s collections from Luciano Barbera and Brunello Cucinelli, as well as products from the Swiss skincare line Cell Cosmet, tailored just for the guys. Also, don’t miss several trunk shows and personal appearances by designers throughout the year, including Oscar de la Renta Nov. 12–13.
Be the first to try:
Bundling up in the exceptionally cozy Italian cashmere of Brunello Cucinelli at the first sign of cooler weather.
Names to look for: The Santa Maria Novella fragrance and skincare line has some celeb support—designer Zac Posen says he loves the orange blossom fragrance.

Branching out at Saks Fifth Avenue
Location: Waterside Shops, Naples
What’s the buzz: Saks Fifth Avenue announces the debut of the Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s Collection.
Don’t miss this: Saks’ collection has been in the works for two years and debuts just in time for Fall 2009, making the Loro Piana-cashmere blazers right on cue.

Lee County

New designers at Brodeur Carvell
Location: 13550 Reflections Parkway, Suite 2-203, Fort Myers
What’s the buzz: The traditional men’s clothier unleashes its first women’s collection.
Names to look for: Zanella, Three Dots, Audrey Talbott and other designers round out the women’s lineup at Brodeur Carvell.

New showrooms at International Design Center
Location: 10800 Corkscrew Road, Estero
What’s the buzz: Southwest Florida’s ultimate one-stop shop for furniture, fabrics and home décor expands its roster to include In Bloom Flowers, Apostol Gallery and ArtGlass International.
Don’t miss this: The certified crystal lamps at ArtGlass International come in all forms, from pendant lamps to large-scale lighting, and are sure to dazzle.
Name to look for: Renowned Greek artist Apostol creates unconventional contemporary sculptures and paintings that adorn homes around the world—including, recently, Madonna’s.

Diamond District moves in at Coconut Point
Location: U.S. 41 between Corkscrew and Coconut roads in Estero
What’s the buzz: It keeps getting bigger and better for the Diamond District, which recently moved into its new 6,000-square-foot freestanding store at Coconut Point.
Be the first to: Hit the town in style in a stretch Ford Excursion limo—free when you spend $1,000 at Diamond District.
Don’t miss this:
The can’t-beat-it prices on loose certified diamonds.

Scot’s Fine Jewelers opening
Location: 2075 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel
What’s the buzz: The newest business venture by Scot and Doug Congress of Congress Jewelers fame ups the dazzle quotient with a selection of diamond jewelry and Rolex watches.
Don’t miss this: It’s just a stroll down the boardwalk from Scot’s Fine Jewelers to the original Congress Jewelers store, where you’ll find even more unique designs at a lower price point.
Be the first to try: The signature Sealife jewelry collection Congress Jewelers is known for gets a facelift in the form of new designs at Scot’s Fine Jewelers.

Bell Tower Shops renovation
Daniels Parkway and U.S. 41, Fort Myers
What’s the buzz:
A multimillion-dollar facelift modernizes the outdoor mall with a new color scheme, enhanced landscaping and easier access.
Be the first to: Grab a latte and take advantage of the cooler weather and improved outdoor seating options for some prime people watching.
Name to look for:
Stock up your fall wardrobe at Designer Delight, a newly opened European boutique that features both men’s and women’s contemporary clothing and accessories.

Sanibel’s newest children’s boutique
Location: 2075 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel
What’s the buzz:
Moms (and grandmas) love the wearability factor for tots, boys and girls alike at Friday’s Child—no frilliness here.
Be the first to try:
One-stop holiday shopping for the kids and grandkids. Between clothes, accessories and toys, there’s something for every little one on your list.
Don’t miss this: Each month, someone wins a $25 gift certificate at the store’s Web site, www.tgifchild.com—it could be you!

There’s no need to fly off to the Big Apple. Naples now has an International Film Festival to call its own, TheatreZone nabbed The Beast of Broadway before the show even hits Broadway and the Sanibel Island Writers Conference landed famed author Carl Hiaasen—to name a few of the recent happenings in the Gulfshore’s arts scene. Enjoy your culture fix right here at home.

Collier County

Silverspot Cinema
Location: 9118 Strada Place at Mercato in Naples
Details: Tickets—adults, $15; seniors, $12; matinees before 4 p.m. and children, $10.
What’s the buzz:
The new 11-theater Silverspot Cinema opened in September at Mercato in Naples, featuring reserved seating in comfy leather seats to enjoy independent and foreign films as well as first-run Hollywood blockbusters.
Don’t miss this: You’ll have the option to nosh on everything from sushi to burgers (or popcorn for the traditionalists) during the movie. Or if you prefer, dine before or after the show in Silverspot’s 65-seat restaurant.

Ronan Tynan with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra
Location: The Philharmonic Center for the Arts, 5833 Pelican Bay Blvd., Naples
Details: Nov. 7 with hors d’oeuvres and wine reception at 7 p.m., performance at 8 p.m.; tickets, $129.
What’s the buzz:
Opening night never looked so good! The Phil raises the bar again by kicking off a stellar 2009-10 orchestral season with a performance by world-renowned Irish tenor, Ronan Tynan, who performed Amazing Grace at the funeral of former President Ronald Reagan. He is quite simply the best.

Naples Botanical Garden Reopening
Location: 4820 Bayshore Drive, Naples
Details: Nov. 9
What’s the buzz: One of Naples premier cultural destinations will reopen in November. Designed as a community gathering place, the expanded facility features tropical gardens, restored natural habitats, traveling exhibits, art displays and special performances.  
Don’t miss this: An amazing transformation has taken place, so you’ll want to stop by during the weeklong celebration that begins Nov. 9.

Naples International Film Festival
Location: Silverspot Cinema, 9118 Strada Place, Naples
Details: Nov. 5 through Nov. 8
What’s the buzz:
The festival will screen feature films, shorts and documentaries from around the world, with a special focus on local filmmakers. About 30 independently produced films will be screened at the three-day event at Silverspot and other locations around town.  

Fifth Avenue South Series
Location: Sugden Community Theatre, 701 Fifth Ave. S., Naples
Details: Season opener Dec. 7
What’s the buzz: Everything is new at Classic Chamber Concerts this season—new Artistic Director William Noll, the Fifth Avenue Chamber Orchestra, the Fifth Avenue Chamber Chorus—with all concerts moving to the Sugden Community Theatre.  
Don’t miss this: Be sure to catch the season opener on Dec. 7 with pianist Ilva Itin and the Jasper String Quartet from Yale University.

Location: Gulfshore Playhouse at Norris Center, 755 Eighth Ave. S., Naples
Details: Jan. 22–30, 2010
What’s the buzz:
Gulfshore Playhouse’s season at the Norris Center starts with this provocative drama that challenges our notion of honor, our sense of decency and our belief that love will prevail.  Enjoy this Broadway-quality production right here in Naples.

Naples Collects
Location: The von Liebig Art Center, 585 Park St., Naples
Details: Jan. 23 through Feb. 14, 2010
What’s the buzz: The Naples Art Association has secured an amazing collection of artwork on loan from some of Naples’ most prominent art collectors. It’s the second year for the event but a new exhibit of paintings, offering a rare view of privately held treasures.
Names to look for: Featured works will include Wolf Kahn, Paul Arsenault and many more.

Marco Island Historical Museum Opening
Location: 1264 Mistletoe Court, Marco Island
Details: Feb. 6, 2010
What’s the buzz:
The long-awaited opening of this new museum is scheduled for Feb. 6. The
museum will spotlight Calusa Indian artifacts excavated from the island more than a century ago.
Be the first to try: Interactive exhibits

The Beast of Broadway with Hal Linden
Location: TheatreZone, 13275 Livingston Road, Naples
Details: March 4–14, 2010
What’s the buzz:
Tony Award winner Hal Linden tackles one of the most complex characters of his illustrious career. David Merrick was Broadway’s most successful producer, and this play takes a behind-the-scenes look at his life as he produces such hits as Gypsy, Hello, Dolly! and 42nd Street.
Be the first to:
Enjoy this world premier event at TheatreZone before it embarks on a national tour headed for Broadway.

Princess Diana: Dresses of Inspiration
Details: www.naplesart.org March 13 through June 27, 2010
Location: The von Liebig Art Center, 585 Park St., Naples
What’s the buzz: Get up close and personal to this special exhibition of clothing and accessories worn by the late Princess Diana.

—Source: Elaine Hamilton, executive director, United Arts Council of Collier County

Lee County

Location: Alliance for the Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers
Details: 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday
What’s the buzz: This farmer’s market started at the Alliance over the summer and grows every month, showcasing an exclusive selection of local, fresh, sustainable and organic foods, and other products to sample and purchase. Enjoy live entertainment by local musicians and fun activities for the kids. 
Names to look for:
Rabbit Run Farm, Lees Bees, French Bread Oven, Cowgirl Kitchen, Andy’s Island Seafood and many more.

Art Studios and Live at the Promenade!
Location: Promenade at Bonita Bay, U.S. 41 and South Bay Drive, Bonita Springs
Details: Art League of Bonita Springs Artist Studios are open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and feature demonstrations. The League also has a new performance space across from Silver Spoon Café featuring the monthly performance series, Live at the Promenade!
What’s the buzz: Visit the Promenade on the last Thursday of the month from 4–7 p.m. to enjoy live musical entertainment to accompany a Studio Walk of artists demonstrations, gallery displays of painters, sculptors, photographers and glass artists.

Space 39 Modern & Contemporary Art Gallery
Location: 39 Patio de Leon, Fort Myers
Space 39 Modern & Contemporary Art Gallery has reopened in Fort Myers after a summer hiatus. 
What’s the buzz: Go for a visit and you’ll be sure to experience some of Fort Myers’ hottest visual artists.

Blane De St. Croix
Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, Edison State College, 8099 College Parkway, Fort Myers
Details: Oct. 30 through Dec. 5
What’s the buzz: His work in sculpture, drawing and installation reflects upon the subliminal landscape imagery of the Florida Everglades and how it ties into encroachment, conservation and restoration.

Carl Hiaasen at Sanibel Island Writers Conference
Location: Big Arts, 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel
Details: Nov. 4–8. Participants at all stages of development are invited to attend three-day, morning workshops in fiction, poetry, screenwriting and creative nonfiction; afternoon panels on publishing, collaborative writing and humor writing; and nightly readings.
What’s the buzz: All of the workshops are presented by celebrated and experienced writers and teachers—and the keynote speaker is Carl Hiaasen. This event promotes the importance of literary arts in an artistic sense and the importance of literacy in life.

Holiday Art Market Fine Art Show
Location: Harborside Event Center, 1375 Monroe St., Fort Myers
Details: Nov. 20–22; $5 admission (free for children younger than 10)
What’s the buzz: Kick off your holiday shopping with art-chic gifts from this new event from the team that produces ArtFest Fort Myers. More than 100 artists from around the country will display and sell their “Made in America” work.

Southwest Florida Symphony Classical Concert Made in America 
Location: Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, 8099 College Parkway, Fort Myers
8 p.m., Nov. 21
What’s the buzz: Experience intoxicating violins and electrifying brass as we celebrate the melting pot that is America with the Southwest Florida Symphony.
Name to look for: Conductor Michael Hall

Bruce Gora: A Night to Remember
Location: Alliance for the Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers
Details: 7–10 p.m., Dec. 5.Tickets: $25 Alliance members, $30 general public, $36 after Nov.15
What’s the buzz: Celebrating the life of Bruce Gora, a man who was an integral part of our arts and culture community. This premiere arts event will showcase his photography and architecture.
Don’t miss: Limited Gora prints will be available for purchase, and there will be a fine art auction.
Names to look for: Music performances by The Juice, Cracker Blues, Kat Epple and more. Culinary artists from Flying Pig, FGCU, Mucky Duck, Sasse’s, Robb & Stucky Culinary Center, University Grill and Whole Foods.

The Santaland Diaries
Location: Florida Repertory Theatre, 2267 First St., Fort Myers
Details: Dec. 10–23; adult content
What’s the buzz: This thorny comedy comes direct from the delightfully twisted mind of acclaimed satirist David Sedaris and tells the story of a down-and-out writer who desperately takes a job as a Macy’s elf, only to endure the worst of the Christmas spirit. Adapted by Joe Mantello.

Step Afrika!
Location: Big Arts, 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel
7:30 p.m., Feb. 20, 2010
What’s the buzz: Washington, D.C.’s critically acclaimed Step Afrika! brings high energy performance to the stage using kicks, stomps, claps and chants to create visually and musically exciting rhythms.

—Source: Lydia Black, executive director, Lee County Alliance for the Arts

If you’re looking for philanthropic endeavors, gift ideas or new healthy options, there are lots of fresh things to explore around Southwest Florida.

Beyond Motion
Location: 11985 Tamiami Trail N., Suite A, Naples
Details: (239) 254-9300, go2beyondmotion.com
What’s the buzz: This new eco-friendly health studio combines private and group exercise classes and programs including Pilates, Nia, Zumba and more. It will also offer nutritional support and performance enhancement for athletes through strength and speed training.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Location: Mercato in Naples
Details: Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN) is an offshoot of www.iwannahelp.net, a Naples-based online nonprofit organization.
What’s the buzz: NHN raises awareness and funds for one individual each month who is in dire financial need due to medical expenses. Partnering with Mercato’s First Fridays event, the inaugural NHN event in October helped its first Neighbor in Need, Suzanne Perry, a Naples resident since 1981 who is battling cancer with no health insurance.

Hyp Yoga at Baji Yoga Studio
Location: 1250 Tamiami Trail N., Suite 112, Naples
Details: (239) 775-0888
What’s the buzz:
Hyp Yoga is a nationwide program that combines hypnosis and yoga for weight loss. The six-week course is geared for beginners.

Big Cypress Swamp: The Western Everglades
What’s the buzz: This new 96-page book by photographer Clyde Butcher will be ready in time for holiday gift-giving. Each photograph is accompanied by a behind-the-scenes description from Butcher. Order for $40 through the Web site.

Salt Cave
4962 Tamiami Trail N., Naples
Details: (239) 403-9170. Hours: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
What’s the buzz:
It’s a cave made of walls covered in Himalayan pink crystal salt. Hanging out in this room for a 45-minute session is believed to offer health benefits including asthma relief, treatment of emotional and mental disorders, and improved sleep.

PinnacleCare Private Health Advisory
Details: (888) 556-3703, www.pinnaclecare.com
What’s the buzz: Now you can now hire a health advisor to manage your healthcare in the same way you hire a lawyer or financial expert. This international firm offers advisors in Lee and Collier counties who can help you find doctors, manage your medical records and transfer information to your physicians anywhere in the world.

The Resort at Marina Village
Location: 5951 Silver King Blvd., Cape Coral
Details: (239) 541-5000, www.marinavillageresort.com
What’s the buzz: Opening this month, this new 19-story condo/hotel resort offers whole or part ownership of its rooms. It also includes room service, housekeeping, valet and more for the residents of its two- and three-bedroom suites.

511 Travel Information System
Details: www.fl511.com
What’s the buzz: Traveling Florida’s roads? You can now dial 511 for free and get reports on crashes, congestion and construction that can slow drivers down on the road. Register online and get reports sent right to your e-mail or cell phone.

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