New Season HOT LIST
Our annual guide to the latest in dining, retail and culture
Norman Love Confections spread its pastry love to Miromar Outlets.
345 Caffé Italiano, Mercato, 9115 Strada Place, Suite 5126, Naples, 345caffeitaliano.com. Panini, crepes and more
Araya Sushi Asian Grill, 2650 Immokalee Road, Naples, 593- 3344, arayanaples.com. Asian Bar Tulia, 462 Fifth Ave. S., Naples, tulianaples.com. Italian gastropub
Bill’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant, 4221 Tamiami Trail E., Naples, 455-5111, seafoodrestaurantnaples.com. Steak, seafood
BurgerFi, 12712 Tamiami Trail E., Naples, burgerfi.com. Burgers and more
Cafe Blu, 7550 Mission Hills Drive, Suite 102, Naples, 228- 7534. Breakfast, brunch
Cloyde’s Prime Steak & Seafood House, 3560 Tamiami Trail E., Naples. Steak and seafood The Crust, 875 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, 244-8488, thecrustpizza.net. Midwest-style pizza, subs, salads
Delicious Raw, 2338 Pine Ridge Road, Naples, delraw.com. Juice bar
Joey D’s Italian Restaurant & Bar, 3300 Davis Blvd., Naples, joeydsnaplescom. Italian
Inca’s Kitchen, 8955 Tamiami Trail N., Naples, incaskitchen. com. Peruvian
L’Auberge, 975 Imperial Golf Course Blvd., Unit 116, Naples, 596-4304, laubergenaples.com. Traditional French
Lamoraga, 3936 Tamiami Trail N., Naples, 331-3669, lamoragarestaurant.com. Contemporary Spanish
La Bazenne on Fifth, 474 Fifth Ave. S., Naples, 682-8623, labazenne.com. Modern French Molto Caffe, 368 Fifth Ave. S., Naples, 261-5853. American and European
Rumba Cuban Café, 1265 Airport-Pulling Road S., Naples, 659-2996, rumbacubancafe.com. Cuban
Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern, 9110 Strada Place, Naples, 260-4152, myrustybucket. com/naples. Comfort classics
Toast, 4910 Tamiami Trail N., Naples, toastofnaples.com. Breakfast, lunch
11:Eleven Cafe, 16120 San Carlos Blvd., Suite 7, Fort Myers, 208-8100. Comfort classics Belushi’s, 13851 S. Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers, 433-5299, belushislive.com. Comedy and music club with burgers and booze
The Boat House Tiki Bar & Grill, 5819 Driftwood Parkway, Cape Coral, 945-2628, theboathouseusa.com. Seafood-focused fare
Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill, Coconut Point, 8001 Plaza Del Lago Drive, Estero, 992-7611, bokampers.com. American
Bruno’s of Brooklyn, 2112 Second St., Fort Myers, 278-0211, brunosofbrooklyn.com. Italian
A Cajun Bowl, 303 NE Third Ave., Suite 14, Cape Coral, 673-6383, acajunbowl.com. Cajun, Creole
Capone’s Coal Fired Pizza, 2225 First St., Fort Myers, 337- 2625, caponescoalfiredpizza. com. Italian
DeRomo’s Gourmet Market & Restaurant, The Promenade, 26811 S. Bay Drive, Suites 140 and 148, Bonita Springs, 325- 3583, deromos.com. Italian
Divino Gelato Café, The Promenade, 26841 S. Bay Drive, Unit 154, Bonita Springs, 949-3779, divinogelatocafe.com. Artisan gelato
The Island Seafood Restaurant, 1339 Cape Coral Parkway E., Cape Coral, 541-0722. Caribbean
La Casa de Frida, 10401 W. Terry St., Bonita Springs, 221-8681. Authentic Mexican
Larry’s Lunchbox Delicatessen, 2200 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fort Myers, larryslunch- box.com. Deli
Mama Nina, 18767 U.S. 41 S., San Carlos Park. Family-style Mexican and Italian
Mereday’s Brasserie, Coconut Point, 23161 Village Shops Way, Estero, 949-9466, meredaysbrasserie.com. French
Norman Love Confections, Miromar Outlets, 10801 Cork- screw Road, Suite S-516, Estero, normanloveconfections.com. Artisan chocolates
The Pickle-N-Pub, 15455 Old McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, 208-4029. Fresh sandwiches, soups and salads
Prime de Leon, 33 Patio de Leon, Fort Myers, 689-3984, primedeleon.com. Upscale steakhouse
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Miromar Outlets, 10801 Corkscrew Road, Suite 189, Estero, 949-6757. Candy and ice cream
Rosati’s, 21301 S. Tamiami Trail, Estero, 221-3706. Chicago pizza
Salty Papa’s Shrimp House, 15271 McGregor Blvd., Suite 1, Fort Myers, 482-7272. Seafood
SS Hookers, 17501 Harbour Pointe Drive, Fort Myers, 466-5377. Cajun seafood
Still to come:
Fall: Beach Box Café, 9020 Gulf Shore Drive, Naples, beachboxcafe.com. Bar and grill; Cavo, Mercato, 9108 Strada Place, Suite 14130, Naples. Mediterranean lounge; The Continental, D’Amico American Provisions & Craft Bar, 1205 Third St. S., Naples, continentalnaples.com. Gastro-pub steakhouse; Johnsonville Sausage Marketplace, 6355 Naples Blvd., Naples, johnsonville.com. Johnsonville grocery; Palumbo’s Pizzeria, 3375 Pine Ridge Road, Suite 104, Naples, palumbosnaples.com. Pizza; Senor Tequila’s, 13731 U.S. 41 S., Fort Myers, senortequilasnaples.com. Mexican; Sub Zero, 2359 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 408, Naples, subzeroicecream.com. Ice cream and yogurt; Taco Barn Grill, 7935 Airport-Pulling Road, Suite 12, Naples, tacobarngrill.com. Fusion tacos and craft beer
Winter: The Brass Tap, Coconut Point, 23106 Fashion Drive, Estero. brasstapbeerbar.com. Upscale beer bar; Duffy’s Sports Grill, 21253 Stoneybrook Golf Blvd., Estero, duffysmvp.com. Burgers, wings and more; The Lodge, 2278 First St., Fort Myers. Barbecue; Rosati’s, 5628 Strand Blvd., Suite B5, Naples, and 15245 S. Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers, myrosatis.com. Chicago pizza. Sakura Asian Grill, 3375 Pine Ridge Road, Suite 106, 280-5536, sakuranaples.com. Asian and Hawaiian
Spring: Felipe’s Taqueria, 4255 Tamiami Trail N., felipestaqueria.com. Mexican; HaVen, Bell Tower Shops, 13499 Tamiami Trail SE, Suite E-518, Fort Myers, 334-0900, havenfortmyers.com. Organic small plates and lounge
Moves and more:
Artichoke and Co., artichokeandcompany.com, has opened an additional catering kitchen and banquet center at 11920 Saradrienne Lane, Bonita Springs. Capers Kitchen and Bar, caperskitchen.com, has launched a catering division. Capt. Kirk’s Stone Crabs & Seafood Market, cknaples.com, is expanding next to its location at 629 Eighth St. S., Naples, and plans to reopen this fall. The former landmark Dairy Queen at 410 Ninth St. N., Naples, will be replaced by All American Shake Shop, allamericanshakeshopinc. com. Greek Gourmet, lovegreekfood.com, moved to 2196 Airport-Pulling Road S., Naples. Its old location at 390 Tamiami Trail N., Naples, will be replaced by a Dunkin’ Donuts in 2015. Little Italy reopened across the street at 2059 Tamiami Trail E. as The Colosseum, thecolosseumnaples.com. Marco Island Fish Co., marcoislandfishco.com, replaced Capt. Brien’s Seafood & Raw Bar at 599 S. Collier Blvd., Suite 218, Marco Island. Norman Love Confec- tions partnered with Princess Cruises to launch Chocolate Journeys, chocolatejourneys. com. Osetra, osetranaples.com, is under new management. Pate’s Steakhouse closed at 1100 Tamiami Trail N., Naples, and was replaced by Pompano Surf & Turf, pompanosurfandturf.com. Patric’s Kitchen, patricskitchen.net, moved to 2091 Pine Ridge Road, Naples. Peace Love & Little Donuts, peaceloveandlittledonuts.com, relocated to 3106 Tamiami Trail N., Naples. Porky’s Last Stand closed at 2560 39th St. SW, Naples, and will be the future home to Crackin’ Jacks, cracklinjacks.com. Lunch at Randy’s Paradise Shrimp Co., paradiseshrimpcompany.com, returned to 25010 Bernwood Drive, Bonita Springs, after a two-year hiatus. Simpatico, an ice cream and hot dog shop, replaced SweeTreats at 7935 Airport-Pulling Road N., Suite 11. Susie’s Too reopened as Andy’s Susie’s Too, susiestoo.com, at 4396 Thomasson Drive, Naples.
Not Your Standard Steakhouse
Fifteen years and four hotspots-with-staying-power later, Richard D’Amico is set to wow Naples once again. Besides his brand-new Lurcat Catering becoming the exclusive caterer of Naples Botanical Garden, his latest restaurant exudes a level of luxury even its locale of Third Street South has yet to witness.
One part steakhouse, one part gastropub and one part designer drinks, The Continental, D’Amico American Provisions & Craft Bar (slated to open around Thanksgiving) definitely leans more Paris than Longhorn. To be stunning from its first impression, a brilliant bougainvillea trellis, The Continental already feels like the place to see and be seen—whether at its covered outdoor bar, inside its seductive dining area or occupying one of its private dining cabanas.
The bare bones of Handsome Harry’s are about all that will remain of the previous restaurant to brandish a retro-contemporary feel. Showings of swank include tufted-leather and distressed-gold walls, wood and marble-tile flooring, commissioned artwork, sleek restrooms, an entryway koi pond, tin ceilings and planted rooftops.
But, as with all D’Amico restaurants (Campiello, Masa, Lurcat and D’Amico & Sons), the fabulous setting is not to eclipse the fabulous food. (Though the menus themselves, plural, will be presented on sumptuous leather embossed with the logo of a crowned bull’s head flanked by two elegant ladies.) Chef Andrew Wicklander will move from Lurcat to take the helm, a highlight, of course, being the hardwood charcoal-cooked steak selection of Waygu, Piedmontese, Chianina, grass- fed and prime beef. But it’s hard to ignore sure-hit starters, daily fresh catches of fish and shellfish, and a rotating assortment of decadent custards, pies and a Continental Cheesecake. A glass of vanilla custard comes accompanied by a warmed jar of salted caramel or fruit compote, for example. As for D’Amico’s most anticipated items? A crock of French onion soup—studded with pork-belly chunks, pierced by a bone marrow sheath and blanketed with melted cheese—and a jar of caviar parfait—layers of finely chopped egg salad, crème fraiche and caviar to spread on brioche toast points. “And then all the steaks!”
Let’s not overlook the libations. A craft program focused on domestic spirits brings real artistry in a return to the prohibition era, taking time-honored beverages and kicking them up a notch. Think sizeable sphered and cubed ice, custom mouth-blown glassware from the south of France to suit each drink, and names like The Church Key and Follow the White Rabbit. The menu is centered around five colorful cocktails that will hang in globes above the bar.
“We’re trying to take a craft program, which takes time to make the drinks, and mold that with high volume,” D’Amico Beverage Manager Ross Kupitz says of the pre-batched signature cocktails, adding, “The orbs are just going to be sexy.”
Kupitz has been perfecting recipes for house-made bitters (woodland, fig and orange, and cranberry-anise) and cold shrubs (raspberry-rosemary and blueberry-sage). If you want a margarita, you got it, he says, but his goal is for patrons to visit for a Continental-specific beverage just as they would a favorite meal.
As if this hasn’t awakened your appetite, we’ll leave you with something else.
“When we’re done with this, we want to do a French restaurant,” D’Amico says. He adds: “And then I’m taking a long vacation.”
Big-name Sausage with Small-town Charm
Rural Wisconsin is coming to the heart of Naples. The country’s largest sausage brand is getting ready to unveil Johnsonville Sausage Marketplace, and Johnsonville Sausage owners Ralph and Shelly Stayer have chosen their home of Naples for the company’s first retail store.
“Every week I was shipping sausage in for friends,” Shelly Stayer says. “Finally I said to my husband, ‘You know, I’m just going to open our own store. I don’t want to be shipping all this sausage all the time.’”
The Midwestern consumer has spoken. Snowbirds used to their pick of the company’s 40 sausage flavors up north come to Florida and want more than only “brats or Italian,” Stayer says. She wants to keep them happy while introducing new customers to the complete product line.
Among those 40 varieties, Neapolitans will see the old- world recipes Johnsonville was built on—Polish sausage, kielbasa, Andouille, bologna—plus, “in perfect Naples style,” its Better for You chicken and turkey sausages. You’ll also find mustards, buns, apparel, and grilling tools and accessories.
“My favorite that I hope just catches on like wildfire is one of our very oldest products that Ralph’s father created—it’s Johnsonville Summer Sausage,” comparable to a softer version of salami, Stayer says. “That’s the No. 1 item that I’ve had to ship to Southwest Florida.”
The rest of the items carried Stayer classifies as “all things Wisconsin.” Jelly Belly candies, Door County cherries, Sprecher old-fashioned root beer, cheese curds, gourmet popcorn and premier Sartori cheese will complete the spread, and customers will have the option of creating their own gift baskets.
Though it’s not a butcher shop, as Johnsonville got its start by Ralph’s parents in 1945, the grocery store is inspired by one. It will be small, quaint—reminiscent of The Waltons, Stayer says. The designer who brought together Osteria Tulia will fulfill Stayer’s vision of wood floors, wood walls and other reminders of “the olden days.”
“Our store is going to really tell the story about who we are—we’ve been doing this for 70 years—where we’re from—Johnsonville, Wisconsin, a town of 65 people—and who’s making my food—and that would be the 1,600 local townsfolk who come to work every day at Johnsonville,” Stayer says. “So the real trend we’re finding is ‘authentic.’”
The grand opening, in Naples Boulevard’s Boulevard Shoppes, is scheduled for Nov. 15. One of Johnsonville’s three 65- foot Big Taste grills (the Ms. Shelly)—used for disaster relief as well as for show, serving 2,300 bratwursts an hour—will complete the occasion.
Theater Picks from the Pros
We asked area theater leaders to name the one upcoming production they’re most excited to see—that’s not their own.
Annette Trossbach, producing artistic director and president, The Laboratory Theater of Florida:
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Florida Repertory Theatre (through Nov. 19) and Gulfshore Playhouse (Jan. 17-Feb. 8)
“I am a big Christopher Durang fan and love what he’s done with this Chekhov story, so of course I am most looking forward to (this production)—and I’m hoping to see it twice!”
Bill Taylor, producing artistic director, Theatre Conspiracy:
Tribes, Florida Repertory Theatre (Nov. 5-30)
“I really like that how the idea of writing the play was based on a documentary about a deaf couple who were expecting a child, and they said that they hoped their child would be deaf. The playwright made the connection that a family was a tribe, whose members wanted to pass on values, beliefs and language to their children. She began to see that there were ‘tribes everywhere,’ in groups including individual families and religious communities, with their own rituals and hierarchies that are hard to understand by ‘outsiders.’ To me it sounds fascinating.”
Mark Danni, artistic director, TheatreZone:
The Santaland Diaries, Florida Repertory Theatre (Dec. 17-28)
“I think (it) should prove to be very entertaining. I love the idea of a chronicle of someone working as an elf at Macy’s during Christmas.”
Will Prather, owner, Broad- way Palm Dinner Theatre:
Cabaret, The Laboratory Theater of Florida (Feb. 6-28) “I’m a big fan of (producing artistic director) Annette Trossbach and think she and the inspired theater troupe she leads is creating some of the best theater in the area. Although they’ve stayed mostly to dramas and comedies, I’m really looking forward to their take on the (musical). It should be right up their alley.”
Robert Cacioppo, producing artistic director, Florida Repertory Theatre:
The Liar, Gulfshore Playhouse (April 4-26)
“I got to see (the play) at Theatre Conspiracy a few years ago and it was hilarious. ... I remember laughing myself silly. I’m a big fan of Gulfshore Playhouse and have been consistently impressed by their consistently good work. ... I am also a big fan of actor Cody Nickels, who will be directing it. Cody is a huge theater talent, and while I don’t know his work as a director, I am very familiar with his work as an actor, which is always stellar. (The Liar is) just plain fun, out of the ordinary—in verse—a period piece— which we don’t get to see often in Southwest Florida—and it will be produced by a theater with a very good track record and directed by a pro.”
Kristen Coury, founder/ producing artistic director, Gulfshore Playhouse:
Split in Three, Florida Repertory Theatre (April 21–May 10)
“Daryl (Lisa Fazio, the play- wright) is a graphic designer who lives in Georgia. She is also the graphic designer of Florida Rep, and she happens to be a talented playwright. This play would have been one of our 10 semifinalists for our New Works Festival, but she let us know about the pending production at Florida Rep.”
John Sorey, executive director, The Naples Players
They’re Playing Our Song, TheatreZone (April 30- May 10)
“A great funny musical. This is a classic, and I love these types of plays.”
The Book of Mormon: Broadway’s Best Comes to Southwest Florida
Nine tony awards. rave reviews. forty-four months and counting on Broadway. And now you can have a front- row seat.
The Book of Mormon will grace both Artis—Naples and Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall this January, and we’ve never been in such support of short-sleeved button-downs.
The story of two young Mormon missionaries trying to convert citizens of Uganda comes from the creators of South Park and Avenue Q, so it’s anything but mild. Known as an “equal opportunity offender,” the profanity-laced musical considers religion, sexuality, poverty and race fair game.
“I expect it will both a huge hit and push the boundaries,” says Artis—Naples CEO Kathleen van Bergen of its tour of Southwest Florida. “I feel that’s a good thing!”
The production opened in March 2011 and still has everyone talking, setting records from London to Los Angeles and dubbed by The New York Times as “The best musical of this century.” Scott Saxon, general manager of Barbara B. Mann, echoes van Bergen in his excitement to bring in such a buzz-worthy show.
“One thing that I think always surprises those who see the show are the homages to other well-known Broadway musicals (The King and I, Wicked, The Lion King, etc.) in The Book of Mormon,” he says. “It truly is a great Broad- way musical.”
We can’t wait.
Audra McDonald is set to play with the Naples Philharmonic.
15 Things We Highly Recommend
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, through Nov. 19 at Florida Repertory Theatre and Jan. 17-Feb. 8 at Gulfshore Playhouse
Exploring America: Western, Wildlife and Contemporary Art from the National Museum of Wildlife Art and the Stonehollow Collection, Nov. 8-Feb. 1 at The Baker Museum
We the People: Everyday Life in Soviet Ukraine and Contemporary Southwest Florida featuring works by Juan Diaz, Marcus Jansen and Daniel Venditti, Nov. 29-Dec. 20 at Gallery on Fifth
Joe Banamassa, Dec. 20 at Germain Arena
The Book of Mormon, Jan. 6-11 at Barbara B. Mann and Jan. 13-18 at Artis—Naples
The Phantom of the Opera, Jan. 22-Feb. 1 at Barbara B. Mann
Audra McDonald with the Naples Philharmonic, Jan. 24 at Artis—Naples
Art Walks the Runway, Jan. 30-31 at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center
Jerry Seinfeld, Feb. 7 at Artis—Naples
Cirque de la Symphonie, Feb. 17 at Artis—Naples
Gods and Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, Feb. 19-May 17 at The Baker Museum
The Way We Worked, Smithsonian Institute traveling exhibit, April 4-May 16 at the Marco Island Historical Museum
ArtsNaples World Festival: Celebrate the Cultural Arts of France, April 27-May 10
Chris Botti with the Naples Phil- harmonic, April 29 at Artis—Naples
Intuitive Praxis: New Works by David Acevedo, May 1-22 at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center
Air Bar Blowouts & Extensions
8050 Trail Blvd., Naples, 592- 4556, myairbar.com. Hair styling blowout bar
Waterside Shops, 5375-5 Tamiami Trail N., Naples, 867-0001. High-end jewelry, accessories, handbags, fur and leather goods from Florence, Italy
457 Bayfront Place, Naples, 280-0045, myxnscents.com. Custom-made-scent specialists in bath, body and home
Organic Skincare & Bodyworx
13240 Tamiami Trail N., Suite 207, Naples, 514-4494. Organic skincare products and services
Mercato, 9105 Strada Place, Suite 3110, Naples, papersource.com. Stationery, décor and gifts
Mercato, 9115 Strada Place, Suite 5150, Naples, 596-3830. Edgy men’s apparel
Shades (by Spectacles)
Mercato, 9118 Strada Place, Suite 7120, Naples, 451-6975, spectaclesofnaples.com. Luxury sunglasses
The Village on Venetian Bay, 2600 Gulf Shore Blvd. N, Naples; Mercato, 9115 Strada Place, Suite 5100, Naples, tommybahama.com. Island-inspired styles of apparel and home goods
837 Fifth Ave. S., Suite 200, Naples, vfinity.com. Health and weight loss products
Mercato, 9123 Strada Place, Suite 7115, Naples, 260-7725, yogaloftnaples.com. Yoga instruction
Casanova Boutique, The Village on Venetian Bay, 4370 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., Suite 704, Naples, 450-6844, facebook.com/ casanovasnaples. Luxury fashion and accessories
Gallery on Fifth, Mercato, 9115 Strada Place, Suite 5130, Naples, 220-7503, artorg.net. Fine art gallery specializing in Russian art
Philip Douglas Salon, 2118 Tamiami Trail N., 643-0233, philipdouglas.com. Styling services
Pierre & Harry, 374 13th Ave. S., Naples, 263-6664, pierreandharry.com Pearls, pearls, pearls
Rochelle Shucart Photography, 584 Ninth St. S., Naples, 253-1880, rochelleshucart.com. Portrait photography
Shannon Green Collection, 639 Eighth St. S., Naples, 919-8091, shannongreen.com. Original jewelry
Promenade at Bonita Bay, 26821 South Bay Drive, Unit 119, Bonita Springs, 362-1789. Handcrafted Italian glass jewelry
1552 Carson St., Fort Myers, 791-0004, barnluck.com. Custom motorcycles, accessories and apparel
John Craig Clothiers
Promenade at Bonita Bay, 26821 South Bay Drive, Bonita Springs, johncraigclothiers.com. Men’s apparel
Miromar Outlets, 10801 Corkscrew Road, Suite 153, Estero, 495-3185, loft.com. Stylish women’s clothing
Mes Amies Medical Spa
9140 West College Pointe Drive, Suite 5, Fort Myers, 791-7867, mesamiesmedspa.com. Full- service medical spa featuring a wide array of noninvasive cosmetic procedures
Coconut Point, 23160 Fashion Drive, Suite 103, Estero, michaelkors.com. Stylish women’s clothing and accessories
Coconut Point, 23106 Fashion Drive, Suite 129, Estero, 992- 7007, truefashionistasesale.com. Designer resale for fashion and accessories for men, women and children
The Woodruff Institute
23471 Walden Center Drive, Bonita Springs, 498-3376, thewoodruffinstitute.com. Dermatology, facial plastic surgery
Children’s Couture, Promenade at Bonita Bay, 26811 South Bay Drive, Unit 134, Bonita Springs, 274-5437. Children’s fashion
Tommy Bahama: Two More Stores
Southwest Florida is a from one location to another remarkable place: It feels is really difficult. So, as we like a tropical island, but has all the comforts of home. In fact, it could be argued that Southwest Florida should copyright this lifestyle. Unfortunately, Tommy Bahama has already beaten us to it.
The lifestyle retail giant known for its relaxed island clothing, accessories and home goods has added two new stores to Naples this season: one at The Village on Venetian Bay and another at Mercato. You might not think that was particularly odd until you remember there’s already a large Tommy Bahama retail store and restaurant on Third Street South. So why would we need two more?
“We actually started this retail restaurant business in Naples (on Third Street South back in 1996), so we’ve established a really great relation- ship with the community,” says Tommy Bahama Executive Vice President of Retail Joel Gardner. “We feel like we’ve been embraced for the last 15 to 20 years in Naples. We also know that when you’re in season, your ability to move looked at new opportunities, it was natural for us to look at the area that seems to resonate with our brand more than any place else in the country.”
That’s right, as ironic as it sounds, Naples is ground zero for all your palm frond-patterned clothing needs because of traffic. But while the Third Street South location features a men’s store, a women’s store, a restaurant and bar, and a Relax store across the street, these new locations will be a bit smaller (1,600 square feet in The Village on Venetian Bay, 3,200 square feet in Mercato) with a smaller subset of the larger store’s inventory.
“We’re trying to take care of additional business that we think is there in a really localized manner,” Gardner says. “And that’s why we chose the locations we did. We don’t want to do anything that will hurt our flagship store on Third (Street South) because for us, as a starting point, that’s a very, very important store for us. It’s retail and a restaurant and almost an entertainment (venue) that you have to go see and be at.”
But with three stores in Naples and one at Coconut Point (not to mention all of the Tommy Bahama items available at places such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue), it really is starting to feel like we’re living in the Bahamas.
“With our brand, virtually anyone who lives in Florida certainly lives a lifestyle that we support,” Gardner says. “And we can’t think of a better place than Naples, Florida.”
The Promenade at Bonita Bay. With several new retail and dining options and beautiful fountains, what had been a quiet and sparse shopping plaza is once again a destination.
The Fort Myers Country Club is set to reopen this month after a complete golf course renovation stretching what was a 6,400-yard par 73 to a 7,000-yard par 70 course, altered by noted golf course architect Steve Smyers.
Gordon River Greenway, a two-plus-mile collection of paved pathways, bridges and elevated boardwalks featuring kayak launch stations and scenic overlooks, is officially waiting for your daily constitutional. It stretches from Golden Gate Parkway south to downtown Naples, connecting the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and the Naples Municipal Airport.
Remember the Naples Grande? Remember when it became the Waldorf Astoria? Well, forget all of that. This summer the Waldorf Astoria signs came down and the Naples Grande Beach Resort signs went back up as part of an ongoing $18 million renovation at the 23-acre Gulf-side resort. naplesgrande.com
Baku and Cleo Join the Zoo
If you’re familiar with the musical Cats, you’re aware that a surprisingly large percentage of felines have lovely singing voices. If you’re not familiar with that Tony Award-winning Broadway smash, you might as well head over to the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens to say hello to their newest residents, a brother and sister pair of serval kittens, Baku and Cleo. They’re adorable and will steal your heart with or without piano accompaniment.
The pair joined the zoo over the summer after being born in Idaho as part of the Species Survival Plan coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It’s an effort to maintain species that are threatened or endangered. It’s good for them, and it’s good for us.
“We love to give something new to our visitors at the zoo,” says Naples Zoo President and CEO Jack Mulvena. “But we do our collection planning based on, ‘What does this animal do in terms of conservation value? In terms of an educational value?’”
New residents at the zoo tend to spark some curiosity and, not surprisingly, can be good for business.
“I think from a marketing standpoint any zoo will tell you that,” says Mulvena. “Visitors are coming for educational purposes—to expose their kids and grandkids to different animals. So it’s important to continually provide our visitors with a new experience and connect them with new animals much as we possibly can.” Last December, the zoo introduced its South American exhibit with the giant anteater and cotton-top tamarins. Now they’re designing a python exhibit, a new panther exhibit and, Mulvena says, in the next year or two, they’ll begin working on a komodo dragon exhibit. It’s a pretty exciting time to be a zoo-goer.
But don’t expect to see Baku and Cleo just lounging around. They were chosen to be part of the zoo’s educational program and participate during the new Animal Training Session presentations daily at the Safari Canyon theater.
“In the case of the servals, there are a couple of reasons why they were high on our list,” Mulvena says. “One, in our educational programs, we focus not on animals doing tricks, but showcasing their natural behaviors. The servals were a great addition be- cause, frankly, they’re really cool, cute African cats, but they can jump six feet into the air to take a bird out of flight. It’s pretty extraordinary behavior.”
And, obviously, they’re adorable. But don’t let their good looks fool you: They are among Africa’s most prolific killers. In fact, one study found that a typical serval eats nearly 4,000 rodents a year along with 125 birds and 250 snakes. Their skillset comes from their remarkable hearing.
Go ahead and visit the servals. You’ll make a Memory.