The bloody Mary bar is a sight to behold.

Along the Gulfshore


Best Bloody Mary Bar in Southwest Florida. Period.

The Naples Grande is new to brunch and doing it right.

It’s no secret I’m a brunch aficionado. I say loud and proud that it’s my favorite meal of the week, and I assembled my thoughts on the topic in our December 2018 issue. How I wish The Catch of the Pelican at the Naples Grande Beach Resort was doing brunch back then! But I’ll gladly settle for the remarkable addition now.

Launched on April 13, the overall experience is a touch of heaven on Earth to start a Saturday or Sunday (especially if you sit on the gorgeous patio overlooking the mangroves below), and the bloody mary bar is the best and most comprehensive I’ve ever seen. In fact, it’s so much fun, it had the four of us adults in my group laughing and giddily taking pictures to document every aspect. We wanted to shout from the rooftops (or Facebook) just how cool it is! You can do a single drink ($14) or all you can knock back ($35). It starts with choosing one of eight salt rims for the glass (I went with Peruvian chili and citrus salt), then Smirnoff vodka or Sauza tequila, two house-made tomato juices (I mixed both), and finally filling a long skewer with as many toppings as you can fit (there are a dozen trays of hot items, like empanadas, mozzarella sticks, bacon and fried ravioli; crunchies, such as popcorn, to sprinkle on top; bottles of hot sauces; and more than 50 cold choices, from cornichons to hearts of palm to blocks of gorgonzola). The only tiny complaint one might have is that you don’t have much choice when it comes to alcohol, but since the restaurant has a full bar, I’m sure you could upgrade for an uptick in price.

Short ribs at The Catch of the Pelican

On top of that, the actual brunch dishes from the a la carte menu are filled with complex flavors—I am still longing for a bite of my short ribs that I used to sop up runny poached eggs, chimichurri-accented bearnaise and crispy roasted potatoes. Plus, tables also get a complimentary bakery basket, with house-made Fig Newtons, mini blueberry muffins and more. And I haven’t even mentioned the other two bars to start the day right—one for mimosas, with fresh fruit, sprigs of herbs and eight juices, and a cereal bar after my younger heart (about 10 years ago, I’d have gone to town on the Cookie Crisp and Lucky Charms, mixing in puffy marshmallows, M&Ms, chocolate chips and chocolate milk to boot). My daughter is a little too young for that now, but hopefully this brunch will catch on with locals and be here for the long haul, so she can have a weekend splurge in the not-too-distant future. (FYI, valet is free if you eat at the restaurant.)

To plan a visit:
The Catch of the Pelican
Naples Grande Beach Resort
(844) 824-9668
naplesgrande.com

The outdoor dining seating at The Catch of the Pelican