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April 27, 2011: Taste of Collier, Chipotle Opens and WOB Set to Open

BY April 27, 2011

Taste of Collier Offers an Afternoon’s Feast with Live Music!

The 28th Annual Taste of Collier welcomes food lovers to sample delicious sample plates from more than 30 area restaurants on May 1. The event will be held at Bayfront Place, located at Goodlette-Frank Road and Fifth Avenue South from noon until 4 pm. Free parking is available across Goodlette-Frank at the former Grand Central Station site.

The 28th annual Taste of Collier poster.

Restaurants include: BrickTop’s, Calistoga Bakery Café, Chrissy’s, Costco Bakery, Emack & Bolio’s, Fleming’s Steakhouse, Fred’s Food, Fun & Spirits, Greek Gourmet, HB’s on The Gulf, Jet’s Pizza, Longhorn Steakhouse, Jimmy P’s Butcher Shop & Deli, McCormick & Schmick’s, Miller’s Naples Ale House, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Mongello’s Restaurant and Lounge, Mulligan’s Sports Grille, Naples Grande Beach Resort, Naples Ice Cream Factory, Panera Bread, Pinchers Crab Shack, Pub at Mercato, Real Seafood Company, Roy’s Restaurant, Sam Snead’s Tavern, Seminole Casino – 1st Street Deli, SMH Catering, Stoney’s Steakhouse, Tavern on the Bay, Terracina Grand, Texas Tony’s, Trail Café & Grill, and Truluck’s.

There will be Iron Chef competitions and chef demonstrations throughout the afternoon. Bid on  fantastic packages from hotel stays to fine jewelry to in-home chef prepared dinners for eight during a live auction. Kids enjoy ice carving demonstrations, and there’s plenty of live music.

Crowd enjoys 2010 Taste of Collier.

Admission is $5 per person, and children 5 and under are free. Food tastings range from $2 to $5 with proceeds benefiting the Collier County Chapter of the American Red Cross, St. Matthew’s House and area culinary/hospitality scholarships. I’ve been to many Tastes over the years, and highly recommend this for a great afternoon of family-friendly fun

Comings and Goings

After months of delays, Chipotle Mexican Grill is open at the Mercato opposite Sur la Table, offering two dozen basic dishes with thousands of ways to combine their ingredients. With the build-up surrounding the opening of a Naples location nearly two years in the making, lines for their burritos, burrito bowls, tacos and salads have stretched well down the sidewalk in the opening weeks. But don’t let the wait scare you. Service is fast once you get to the head of the line. With the lines and limited seating, many happily get take out, which can be done online at allowing you to skip the wait and head straight to the cash register. The food is fresh, tasty and a good value, with most dishes running between $5.95 and $6.35. My boldly spiced $6.35 burrito bowl, all the fixings in a bowl rather than a tortilla, was large enough for two meals and one happy camper.

Chipotle’s burrito bowl with a selection of toppings.

  While many of the afternoon patrons students, seniors predominate in the evenings. Chipotle’s superb Mercato location facing U.S. 41 and quality will give nearby Moe’s Southwestern Grill and Cilantro Tamales strong competition.

Diner of all ages enjoy Chipotle’s cuisine.

9100 Strada Place Unit 2110, Naples, 254-1292,

Sushi Thai Too has now completely taken over David Wong’s Pan Asian site at 25301 S. Tamiami Trail in Bonita Springs. The staff did consider keeping on some of David’s popular signature dishes. But, in the end, this Sushi Thai Too will share the same menu as its sister restaurants in Naples.

World of Beer (WOB) is set to open in June, 2011 at Bell Tower Shops next to Talbots in Bacchus’ old location. The Tampa-based franchise trains staff in “Beer School” to appreciate and educate others in the centuries-old nuances of beer and brewing. Learn about alcohol by volume (ABV) and international bitterness units (IBU) and the differences between an India Pale Ale and pale ale and English ale.. Then savor microbrewery’s niche offerings.  With more than 500 bottled beers and 50 draft beers available, you’re bound to taste and find some new favorites. And there’s more to the experience than just hops, even though WOB doesn’t cook meals on premises.  It partners with other restaurants who send runners with their food to customers who order from several restaurant’s menus. Varied sports will be up on wide-screen TVs. Live music will be featured, inside or on the patio, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. World of Beer’s track record and plans are likely to help revive the Bell Tower Shops.

C Grape Coffee and Wine Bar in Bonita Springs recently closed. The lease was ending and an agreement was not made on a new lease.  Many devoted customers wouldn’t be surprised if this popular venue pops up in another location C Grape was popular for its unique wines, good food and pricing, local bands and karaoke.

Let’s broaden our choices of great Southwest Florida restaurants together. Post your hints and experiences below or e-mail me at

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