Hot Dish

How Liberty Plaza Got Its (Food) Groove Back

Say hola to a Mexican restaurant and privet to a European market—and other dining changes you may not have noticed.

BY September 1, 2017


Sound the mariachis. Soon enough it will be time to welcome Casamigos (239-529-6472) to the Liberty Plaza, which is just south of Pine Ridge on U.S. 41. The space on the southwestern end had been home to the old Flaco’s (and then Café Luna), and its new tenants are looking at a late September opening. They’re seasoned pros as well; they own the two Mr. Tequila Mexican restaurants in Naples (one is on 41 across from the Moorings, and the other is on the East Trail).

Imported European pastries fill the cases at the new Europa of Naples market. 

That’s not the end of the action at this little U-shaped strip mall these days that has had its share of dining points of interest, including Pelagos (one of the only Greek places in town) still holding fort.

Europa of Naples (, a market specializing in imported goods from across "the Continent" has its grand opening Sept. 1. Vibrantly hued pastries and frozen novelties, along with meats and smoked fish, are in the coolers, and the shelves have predominantly jarred, packaged and canned goods from Lithuania and Russia, with some from Germany and Greece. Tthe idea is to expand the breadth with time.

Just a few doors down is Juicelation (, which opened two years ago—it’s a healthful café with organic cold-pressed juices (a subscription service is also available); smoothies; protein-rich bowls with nuts, fruit, vegetables, seeds and spices; plus vegetarian lunches like flatbreads with pesto cashew cheese, avocado and sautéed kale.

Juicelation’s owners are certified nutritional therapists and blend cold-pressed juices, smoothies, bowls and healthful munchies in a tranquil setting. 

Last but not least of what should be on your radar is Natural Wines (, a shop that’s had a one-of-a-kind niche in the state of Florida ever since it made its debut a year ago. Peter Rizzo, a retailer with decades of experience importing and selling wine, has made the mission of his store to promote only all-organic, additive-free bottles. This harkening back to the winemaking of yesteryear (how civilizations did it for thousands of years before herbicides were invented) is a trend that’s gripping the country. There’s been such interest and excitement locally for what Rizzo selling that he’s in the process of completely renovating and expanding the store in time for season.

At Natural Wines, owner Peter Rizzo hand-writes descriptions of each bottle he sells. 



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