The wave of development that is washing over Southwest Florida is not limited to new construction. Places as ingrained in the landscape as dots in a Seurat are flourishing, and none exemplifies this as much as Bayfront.
The brainchild of owner Kevin Stoneburner, the mixed-use space off Goodlette-Frank Road across from Tin City at the entrance to Naples Bay is being re-created for a new era. Stoneburner intends to beautify it with piazzas and outdoor bars and expand its footprint, but the biggest news by far is in its restaurant DNA. Stoneburner not only is launching K-Rico Mexican Grill hopefully no later than Nov. 15 in what had formerly been Roy’s, but also soon after is opening a yet-unnamed Mediterranean tapas and wine bar in what had been an art gallery.
He wants to bring more people into his waterfront oasis, and what better way than with the promise of upscale yet wallet-friendly Latin fare—the likes of which have been absent from the Fifth Avenue environs for years? By the way, for those who follow my column, you know that earlier this year there had been whispers of plans for a restaurant in the vein of True Food Kitchen or Food and Thought, but that is not in the cards. Instead, Stoneburner decided to give K-Rico a clean-eating streak. “There are going to be some entrées that are very fresh and healthy and different than your regular tacos, enchiladas and burritos, but we’ll have the old standards as well,” he says.
More changes will come in 2019, with Shane’s Cabana Bar doubling in size.
In the process, Stoneburner has become an unexpected force in the dining scene. He now owns and is in the process of developing five eateries: Stoney’s Stone Crab (reopening for season Oct. 15), St. Germain Steakhouse (which he purchased this year), Shane’s Cabana Bar (that’s expanding in 2019; more below), K-Rico and the tapas project.
No one is more surprised by this than him.
“I never thought I would be this into the restaurant business. I own five now, all at Bayfront,” Stoneburner says with a laugh. “My son Shane went to culinary school, and that’s what got me interested.”
Yes, Shane Stoneburner, as in the Shane of Shane’s Cabana Bar, and he’s currently its manager. He’s helping his father on the other projects and will also work on the long-awaited expansion of their iconic waterfront watering hole that will give it a larger footprint in the bay (losing only about four boat slips in the process). They meant to do the work before Hurricane Irma in late 2017 but have judiciously waited and scheduled the demo to start May 1, 2019.
There is a lot to look forward to as the Stoneburners make Bayfront bigger and better—and there’s no doubt they’re now a force to be reckoned with in the Naples restaurant world, period.