In the spirit of renowned restaurateur Richard D’Amico’s Border collie, Ziggy—who D’Amico described as his “buddy” and much-beloved sidekick, who’d go everywhere with him. D’Amico wants his patrons to get Ziggy with it starting November 12—when he’ll reopen his longstanding D’Amico & Sons as Ziggy D’Amico’s Whiskey Bar & Diner.
From an eclectic, fun, de rigueur menu to the irreverent art that will hang on the walls, it’s a completely new concept. But the biggest change is the layout, which is being upended to support a top-shelf liquor program by introducing a long Calacatta-marble-topped bar in place of what had been the deli cases at the edge of the open kitchen.
“With the demographics changing in North Naples, we had wanted to do something for a long time to bring in a bigger range of diners. The entire mall it’s in will be renovated sometime in the next year, so we thought it was a good time to change our space, too,” D’Amico says.
The original restaurant had reopened in the spring when the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, but D’Amico thought the time was right to start the transformation. So, he closed it again in June. Past patrons will have to say ciao to the $9 bottomless glass of wine special and the more typically Italian menu, but they’ll be greeted with customizable pizzas featuring three different kinds of crusts (traditional Neapolitan, deep dish and cauliflower), smashburgers where the fat caramelizes on a griddle, plus a smorgasbord of au courant global fare that would please anyone (some tuna poke with ponzu here, an elote salad of sweet Mexican corn and cotija cheese there, plus baby back ribs and more).
“If you can’t make people happy between burgers and pizza, you’re in trouble,” D’Amico says with a hearty laugh. “The rest of the menu is more of a gastropub than a diner, but I think that term has been overused and ‘diner’ gets the message across that the food is fun and casual.”
Another facet of this space that will make it irresistible especially in this era is that the majority of the seating has always been—and will continue to be—on a tree-shaded patio surrounding its prime corner spot in the shopping center. (And, not to mention, like all of D’Amico’s properties, it will be completely dog friendly, so compatriots of its namesake can enjoy treats, too.)