|Hi, everyone —
I just realized that it has been since the end of February since I last wrote a “Greetings.” Wow — this season seems to have been busier than usual and gone by faster than usual. I know Bob and I have been incredibly busy — I am sure everyone else has been as well. And here it is, the middle of April and the car carriers are arriving daily to take snowbirds back to the north. What is UNUSUAL about this year is that winter is hanging on BIG TIME in the Northeast and Midwest. Blizzard warnings are up for the northern tier of the country for this weekend which is CRAZY!! Bob and I are watching the Boston Red Sox/Baltimore Oriole game at this very moment and the Boston sportscasters are talking about a BIG winter storm coming to Boston tomorrow — just in time for Patriot Day and the Boston Marathon on Monday. Yikes — enough already.
There has been lots of news swirling around lately and many people we talk to are keenly aware of the happenings in and around SW Florida which is one of the reasons I have waited so long to write. For example, the Naples Beach Hotel will be coming under new ownership and probably as a result, major changes will occur at that valuable site. Gulfshore Playhouse has revealed the artist rendering of the new and fabulous theatre which will eventually rise in the Naples Square area off of Goodlette-Frank. Lucky’s Supermarket will be opening a store off of Wiggins Pass at the Gateway Shoppes at North Bay AND will fill the vacant space of the former Wild Oats between Golf Galaxy & JoAnn Fabric on the corner of Naples Boulevard and Airport-Pulling. One of our most favorite places to dine for the last 15 years is Cafe Lurcat and this week it was announced that they will close as of May 5. And finally, progress continues to be made on moving forward to transform the Third Street Plaza in Old Naples to a spectacular boutique hotel. That cannot happen soon enough.
This season has brought more new restaurants to our Paradise Coast with more to follow. Namba, the new Asian fusion restaurant close to Publix at the Shoppes at Vanderbilt, opened to rave reviews. Dorona, the sibling of our favorites Sea Salt and Barbatella, did the same. Everyone I have spoken to have loved their experience at Dorona….from the decor to the excellent cuisine. Sails Restaurant, the new shining star on the corner of 5th and 3rd, is all the rage. The Rooster — which serves breakfast & lunch….& dinner once a week….has been getting great reviews. Of course, how could they not with Bubba Sutton (formerly of Veranda E, Naples Tomato & Tropical Reef) as co-owner and chef. The Rooster is located on Goodlette-Frank, close to the East Trail. Some changes are on the way as well. Rocco’s Tacos will be taking the place of MASA at Mercato before the end of the year. McCormick’s & Schmick’s has gone and in its place will appear a newbie called Hampton Social. That will happen before the end of the year as well. And I have received news from a very reliable source that one of our all-time favorites, Cibao Grille, is looking to enlarge its space even more on Neapolitan Way. I will keep you posted on that.
Some housekeeping and real estate news — Vanderbilt Drive is STILL a hot mess, but at least the digging and and closure at Vanderbilt Beach Road is a thing of the past. The bridges are now complete and open farther up on Vanderbilt Drive towards Wiggins Pass and the new bike lanes and road are really a huge improvement. Mystique in Pelican Bay continues to rise; new owners of Kalea Bay have closed on their new digs and are moving in; Naples Square is on their Phase 3 and selling like hotcakes; a Mr. Hoffman continues to buy up Old Naples — the latest of which is the Naples Princess Cruises and finally, I am expecting announcements soon as to new stores at Waterside as Calypso and Teavana have vacated their spots.
At this time of year as so many of you head north, I like to check in with you to see if you want to stay with Greetings from Paradise. If you do NOT want to receive “Greetings” any longer, please let me know. I totally understand since we all receive so many emails as it is. If you DO want to stay on my email list, you can either write me to say so and/or to say hello…OR you don’t need to do anything and no change will be made to your status.
I will be in touch as news breaks, stores/restaurants open or close or any other major changes take place while you summer elsewhere.
All the best until next time.