|Hi, everyone — I hope you all are enjoying a wonderful summer. Bob and I definitely are…..and even as we are well into July, we are surprised to find that Naples still remains incredibly busy. One perfect example was Friday evening. Along with some friends, we planned an evening in Old Naples — dinner at Chops and then a performance of the musical “Chicago” by the Naples Players at the Sudden Theatre. Well, we could barely find a parking space — we ended up at the very top of the parking garage on 4th in one of the few spaces which remained available. Wow! AND the cars were bumper to bumper along 5th Avenue. By the way, dinner at Chops was EXCELLENT as was “Chicago!”
The Ritz Carlton Beach Resort closed for renovations, as planned, on June 23 and the worker bees have been working nearly 24/7 to get whatever they are doing done. Even today as I look out our window, there are are bobcat machineries moving about run by orange clad workers in hard hats. There is a HUGE scaffolding set up on the south side of the Ritz, extending all the way from the ground to the roof….and there is a giant tarp over the ballroom roof for what reason, I don’t know. Speaking of the Ritz, it brings me to a few mysteries which I’ll throw out there in case anyone else knows the answer:
1. In the ultimate plans put forward by the Ritz for a new addition, their plans include removing tennis courts to jam a new building next adjacent to the Spa & pretty much putting their swimming pools in the shade. The Naples Grande is enhancing and improving their tennis courts — folks have been playing on them all summer….I can’t figure out why the Ritz would remove any or all of their tennis courts….OR put their swimming pool in the shade.
2. There is a banyan tree in front of St. William’s Catholic Church on Seagate that has been “leaning” since Hurricane Irma. The sidewalk next to it has been torn up so there is nothing but dirt and caution cones along the walkway and it has been a mess there, like I said, since Irma. It looks pretty awful and I cannot figure out why no one has fixed it yet — it’s been almost a year, after all, since Irma.
3. Public House, the sister restaurant of Hob Nob and Midtown (now Dorona), closed suddenly over night one day in June. There has been no explanation for the sudden closing and remains a mystery to this day.
4. Fogg Restaurant — the D’Amico arm which operated out of the Naples Botanical Garden — has suddenly changed hands. D’Amico’s is looking for another venue in Naples….and, to remind you, Cafe Lurcat…also a D’Amico property….closed recently.
Some additional restaurant news — to mention Dorona again. We finally had the chance to dine there not too long ago and we were pleased with our entire experience. The food, the ambiance and the service were excellent. We will definitely go again. “Kitchen” which had taken over a year ago for the Mangrove Cafe has already closed. “7th Avenue Social” has been sold. “Namba,” the teeny tiny Asian fusion restaurant in the Shoppes at Vanderbilt is going strong with some excellent summer offerings. Cibao Grille will be closing on June 15 for their typical month-long vacation….and we will be anxious for their return in August.
As for Waterside, the following shops have closed — “Little Luxe,” “St. Tropez Home” and “Mario Romano Capri.” As I mentioned previously, the contemporary designer, “Vince,” has opened where “Calypso” used to be….right next to Saks. I am anxious to see what exciting changes Waterside has in store for us for next season.
Another real estate record has been broken recently — a home on Gordon Drive just sold for $48 million — but no one is telling who bought it. I hate that when the “powers that be” keep that news to themselves, don’t you? Yikes…that’s a lot of money.
Finally, I am asking for your help. I have been batting about the idea of stopping “Greetings from Paradise.” Many folks receive digital versions of news from SW Florida sources….and the Florida Weekly AND the Naples Daily News are moving to having having newsletters with restaurant news, etc. so I would kind of be competing with them. Plus, I am not sure how many of you actually read “Greetings” or if it is just another email you get that you might delete because you don’t have time to read it….which is understandable. SO — I would LOVE to hear any and all of your opinions on my “Greetings.” Thanks so much in advance for your help.
More news later as it happens — and I look forward to hearing from you.