Hot Dish

Hot Dish: Jan. 13, 2010

BY January 13, 2010
Inside the Gulfshore’s dining scene.
Detroit Delicatessen Comes to Naples
The wait is over. Stage 62 Delicatessen & Restaurant opened its almost 200 seats on Friday, bringing Detroit-style Jewish deli delights to Naples’ Mercato. 

I asked manager Jerry Sattler which sandwiches are more popular at the Detroit location. He smiled and rattled off, “The Russian Reuben, regular Reuben, Dinty Moore (hot corned beef, lettuce, tomato, Russian dressing), hot corned beef, My Fair Lady (turkey, lettuce, tomato, mayo) and the West Side Story (hot corned beef or pastrami, coleslaw, Russian dressing, Stage rye) are a just a few, not to mention the soup and half sandwich, hot brisket sandwich and the hot turkey sandwich.” 

Stage 62 Deli’s interior.

Sandwiches range from $10-$15 and come with a pickle. There’s matzo ball soup ($6), smoked fish platter ($23), rib eye steak ($19), stuffed cabbage ($14) and meatloaf ($14). Stage 62 Delicatessen & Restaurant, 9105 Strada Place, 597-2800,

Authentic Mexican Cuisine and a 46-Ounce Margarita!

Mr. Tequila Mexican Restaurant
opened Dec. 30 at the former site of Meson Ole and Ditka’s. This is authentic Mexican, not Tex-Mex, and the food is unique and tasty. I recommend the chori-pollo grilled shrimp with chicken and mildly spiced chorizo—a filling plate for $14. 

Chori-pollo grilled shrimp at Mr. Tequila.

Carol and Herman Rudolph with Mr. Tequila Mexican Restaurant’s 46-ounce margarita.

Also try the chicken poblanos, the carnitas dinner with fried pork tenderloin ($12) and fajitas. The 46-ounce margarita will quench any thirst! Mr. Tequila Mexican Restaurant, 3126 U.S. 41 N., 304-8629. 
High Spirits at Chrissy’s Bianchi’s Restaurant

Chrissy and Fadi Rabil invited the star-studded cast of High Spirits (onstage at TheatreZone through Sunday) to Chrissy’s Bianchi’s Restaurant in the Courthouse Shadows last Sunday night for a fundraiser to support TheatreZone’s programs.

TheatreZone Artistic Director Mark Danni, patrons Howard and Stacey Murrell, actress Georgia Engel and choreographer/actress Karen Molnar.

Georgia Engel (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Everybody Loves Raymond), James DePaiva (One Life to Live) and others in Noel Coward’s musical satire about ghosts, mediums and comedic relationships mingled with the public at the restaurant that features Chrissy’s well-known breakfasts and lunches by day and Bianchi’s by night, serving tasty Italian cuisine such as steak Portobello ($14) or tilapia Livornese ($13) and frutti di mare. Chrissy’s Bianchi’s Restaurant, 3040 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, 417-5050.
Is 2010 Looking Up?
I check Internet job postings to monitor restaurant market trends. There were fewer jobs posted at the start of the 2010 season as compared to last season. Restaurant jobs are primarily offered at lower-priced mall chains or at country clubs. Few jobs are offered at mom-and-pop spots. Some independent owners have told me they expect 2010 to be a slower season than 2009 and won’t expand staff until season merits it. Customers who dined once weekly are now returning once monthly, and dining more at Mercato, Coconut Point and Gulf Coast Town Center. Fifth Avenue South has also lost visitors to the malls and needs to reinvent its image to regain customers. Its two newest spots are The Jolly Cricket and Ron’s Italian Pizzeria and Café.
Comings and Goings…

Eric Pate’s Backstreet Bar and Grill
just opened at the former site of Gina’s 7th Avenue and Nektar at 849 Seventh Ave. S., 435-1882. The restaurant will serve Pate’s steaks and seafood, and continue some Italian specialties from Gina’s. The Pate family is a Naples restaurant dynasty, having started Pate’s Marker Four, Pate’s on U.S. 41, and Pate’s Piccadilly Pub and Cork’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar, both on Fifth Avenue South.

Figaro’s Pizza
and Cena Entrees to Go, whichoffered prepared ingredients, utensils and recipes to make inexpensive meals to cook or freeze, have closed in the Marquesa Plaza on Livingston Road at Pine Ridge in Naples. The plaza also recently lost Sharks Cavern and On the Rocks. Meanwhile, Bajio Mexican Grill and Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries have flourished in the plaza. Five Guys has also done well further west on Pine Ridge and is opening another location Sunday in the former Shane’s Rib Shack at Coconut Point mall.
A burger joint that has not done so well is Mile High Burger, having just closed a location in Bonita Springs. Although it was on the busy Bonita Beach Road, it had less exposure because of its rather-hidden location in a plaza.
Bistro Paradis closed at Bed Bath & Beyond plaza in Naples. Look for owners Maria and Bernard Grand-Clement to open a new spot at the Hibiscus Center on U.S. 41 North within a few months.
Mamma Pasta Italian Restaurant in Fort Myers changed its name to Rao’s Italian Restaurant for a few months, and then renamed it to the current Mastello Ristorante. Co-owner Carlo Rao proudly put his name on the restaurant. However Rao’s Restaurant in New York City holds the copyright to that name. Mastello Ristorante, 7890 Summerlin Lakes Drive, Fort Myers, 936-3660.
The Promenade’s Farmers’ Market in Bonita Springs will offer local produce, fresh flowers, baked goods and more on Wednesdays from 7-11 a.m. through May 5.
Let’s broaden our dining choices together. Post your hints and experiences of great Southwest Florida restaurants below, as a comment, or email

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