Hot Dish

Mercato Is Losing One Restaurant but Gaining Another

In an unexpected turn of events, two Ohio restaurant companies are trading spaces.

BY December 30, 2016



North Naples’ stomping ground for adult revelry, with enough restaurants and bars to keep anyone busy for more than a week straight, is saying goodbye to the Rusty Bucket and hello to Burntwood Tavern.

On Dec. 31, the Rusty Bucket, a Cameron Mitchell restaurant (he just opened his swanky flagship Ocean Prime on Fifth Avenue South earlier this month and has most of his portfolio in the Columbus area), is serving its last round of beers and wings. Then construction crews will enter space between Bravo! Cucina Italiana and The Counter on Mercato’s main strip to transform it into Burntwood Tavern—yet another gathering place that got its start in Ohio. It is slightly more upscale and decidedly more rustic with a reclaimed wood interior.

Burntwood, which is shooting for a summer 2017 opening, is owned and run by the Chef Art Pour Restaurant Group (it’s not “chef Art Pour” but rather the concept of chef-driven restaurants focusing on artfully crafted food and drink). It stands for a lofty goal, one that should fit well in the Mercato mold, but let’s be clear—the tavern, the 10th in the brand, will specialize in the type of worldly upscale bar nibbles that are all the rage right now. Think: blackened shrimp tacos, spicy chicken sliders, margherita pizzas, and burgers topped with fried eggs and bacon, plus a good selection of larger plates like a pork chop with peach jalapeño preserves and beer-battered fish and chips.

As for the watering hole side of the equation? There’s a little something there for everyone as well, making it easy for a group to kick back—from Moscow Mules in copper mugs to beers by the bottle and draft to a few reds and whites to boot. Even easier? Daily happy hours with deep discounts.


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