In the Know: 2 longtime local restaurants closing, Naples losing another landmark

TIM ATEN

Two longtime restaurants in Naples are closing at the end of the month and another local landmark soon may be history.

Ric's Cafe & Grill, a popular breakfast-lunch eatery on the corner of U.S. 41 and Seventh Avenue North in Naples, closed at the end of April.

Photo by TIM ATEN

Ric's Cafe & Grill, a popular breakfast-lunch eatery on the corner of U.S. 41 and Seventh Avenue North in Naples, closed at the end of April.

Ric Thomas says hello to longtime Ric's Cafe & Grill customer Joe Goenner, left. Thomas has owned the cafe since 2000 when it was a franchise of Manhattan Bagel. Since transitioning the cafe to Ric's Cafe in 2004, Thomas has gotten to know many of his customers and feels developing relationships with his customers creates more of a neighborhood feel.

Photo by Kelli Stanko

Ric Thomas says hello to longtime Ric's Cafe & Grill customer Joe Goenner, left. Thomas has owned the cafe since 2000 when it was a franchise of Manhattan Bagel. Since transitioning the cafe to Ric's Cafe in 2004, Thomas has gotten to know many of his customers and feels developing relationships with his customers creates more of a neighborhood feel.

Ric's Cafe & Grill

Q: Stopped at Ric's Cafe & Grill at Ninth Street North and a sign informs friends and patrons that he will be closing at the end of April. A true loss. Best bagels and fresh-made bagel and egg sandwich in town.

— Harry Harabedian, Naples

A: It's true. Ric's Cafe & Grill owner Ric Thomas sold his Naples business and property late last year after operating an eatery for more than 11 years on the corner of U.S. 41 and Seventh Avenue North.

Ric's Cafe, which will close by April 30, was previously Manhattan Bagel from about 1998 until 2004. Thomas operated the bagel chain location for about the last four years of the franchise.

Thomas, 62, plans a well-earned hiatus, but don't expect him to step too far away from the grill for too long. Negotiations have been ongoing for him to reopen elsewhere and maybe even expand Ric's in the area.

"I signed a contract on a place on the East Trail," Thomas said. "I can't really say where on the East Trail, but it's not too far out."

This future location possibly could function as a central commissary kitchen to provide baked goods for two additional express units in Naples — one near Pine Ridge Road and one near his current location downtown. The satellite locations, at about 1,200 to 1,400 square feet each, would be smaller than the original location and offer a reduced deli menu, Thomas said.

"We are still in the process of debating how to do that," he said. "I'm trying to talk myself out of it."

Although he admits it is tough to survive with a restaurant in this town, Thomas also is finding it difficult to walk away from a business that is in his blood. The change is an opportunity for him to reflect on his faithful breakfast-and-lunch crowd.

"It's been such a ball," he said. "I've met some of the finest people I've ever met in that restaurant. I've watched kids grow up there over the years."

Whatever he decides to do, Thomas says he most likely won't open anything until October. His die-hard regulars will have to temporarily get their water-boiled New York-style bagels elsewhere.

"I didn't realize we were that highly regarded. It's tugging at my heart strings a little bit," Thomas said.

Dairy Queen's classic red A-frame has been a Naples fixture since at least the mid-1950s.

File

Dairy Queen's classic red A-frame has been a Naples fixture since at least the mid-1950s.

Dairy Queen

The former Ric's Cafe property at 694 Ninth St. N. will become the new home of Dairy Queen, which will relocate from its longtime location about three blocks south. The question, of course, is what will become of Dairy Queen's classic red A-frame that has been a Naples fixture since at least the mid-1950s?

Unfortunately, additional details about the local DQ move are not ready to be revealed, said Michael Marciano Sr., who has owned the local franchise with his wife Karen for 13 years. Information will be released "when the time is right" within the next couple of weeks, Marciano said.

Efforts to contact property owners George and Marion Barbour about the future of the A-frame structure at 410 Ninth St. N. were unsuccessful by presstime. Look for updates soon regarding the future of the landmark as well as about the new locations for Dairy Queen and Ric's Cafe.

The last day of business will be April 28 for the Island Pub in Park Shore Resort.

Photo by TIM ATEN

The last day of business will be April 28 for the Island Pub in Park Shore Resort.

The Island Pub sits poolside on an island in the middle of Park Shore Resort condominiums. The tropical oasis is reachable only by bridges.

Photo by TIM ATEN

The Island Pub sits poolside on an island in the middle of Park Shore Resort condominiums. The tropical oasis is reachable only by bridges.

The Island Pub

Q: I just heard that the Island Pub is closing May 1. Do you know if the Old Naples Pub also is closing (same owner)? We have been going there for decades and really feel home there. Thanks.

— Mary Dorsey, Naples

A: Although the last day of business will be April 28 for The Island Pub in Park Shore Resort, the poolside restaurant's two local sister pubs — Old Naples Pub off Third Street South and The Village Pub in the Village on Venetian Bay — will remain open, said Tim Flock, who co-owns and operates the longtime local pubs under the figmented name Arnt U. Gladufoundus with Kent Schooley, Steve Briggs and Don Flock.

"We are just booming with the other two places," Flock said. “Our company has operated multiple pub locations in Naples for over 21 years and we plan to be a unique part of the local restaurant scene for many years to come. We will continue to provide excellent food, service and entertainment at the Old Naples Pub and The Village Pub and work to make sure that all of our guests leave delighted.”

Meanwhile, Flock said the restaurant team is keeping open the Island Pub while trying to help find new jobs for its staff.

“Closing one of our pubs is very difficult and emotional for us, mostly because we must say goodbye and sever our working relationship with our faithful, hardworking staff members," Flock said. "Many have become our friends who we’ve spent long hours working beside. This closing comes at a difficult time, during an uncertain economy."

The restaurant, formerly the Island Club, has been a local tradition for 30 years. The name was changed to the Island Pub when the current owners purchased the business in 2005. The business, located at 600 Neapolitan Way, is listed for sale, according to a news release from the Island Pub, also known as Arnt's Island Hideaway.

“We would like to thank all of our patrons who appreciated and supported us over the years.  We feel that we have brought the sleepy Island back to life with not only great food, friendly service, successful live entertainment and great energy, but with heart, in an excellent ambience, that offers a unique and affordable “old Florida” style dining," co-owner Kent Schooley is quoted in a news release. "Regretfully, our vision of what The Island Pub should be is simply too big for the Park Shore resort complex.  In order to remain successful we must continue to grow The Island Pub, but we feel we can grow no further here. When the efforts of operating a restaurant exceed the rewards of ownership it’s time for a change.  We have, therefore, decided to focus all of our time and energy into our sister pubs, The Village Pub and the Old Naples Pub which we have owned and operated since 1990.”

The Park Shore Resort's 2,500 square-foot restaurant and pool are actually on an island in the middle of the condominium resort. The tropical oasis tucked away behind Park Shore Plaza is reachable only by bridges.

___

Have a local question? Email it with your name and city of residence to intheknow@naplesnews.com.

"In the Know" is published Mondays and Wednesdays in the Naples Daily News. Find a complete archive of "In the Know" columns at naplesnews.com/intheknow.

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 50

bobblehead writes:

These two restaurants will not be the only ones closing. It is the end of a good season,but there are many new restaurants that have opened and not enough patrons to go around in the summer.

I go to the ones that offer specials on food and drink, in the summer.

itmattershere writes:

It's time for major closings.

cozyboy writes:

It's just too blasted expensive these days to dine out on a regular basis. I'm expecting another 10-15 closings soon and then openings galore for next season. When will they ever learn?

Iseeyouon41 writes:

Stay home, eat a good meal, enjoy the family, save money, be safe ..let them all close..

samsam writes:

thats what happens when the snowbirds leave.you get what you ask for.so go back and collect your checks.

dixiedrifter writes:

So disappointed about the DQ closing.I used to take my kids there every day on the way home from the beach.Also made many stops there after watching the sunset. The A-frame building is an absolute icon in our town.

livinginnaples writes:

How can you move the Dairy Queen. It has been here forever????

theabyss writes:

This town is not about history it is about how can we make a buck fast and move on. Miami West is in the shadows.... it's gonna get a lot worse before it gets any better.

cabagepalm writes:

Sorry dixie. You will have to go three blocks down the road.

BonitaBuoy writes:

What a bummer to hear the Dairy Queen will be moving. :( Used to go there as a kid. I agree Dixie, that building IS an icon in Naples.

Might have to take my kids there before they move.

greathornedlizard writes:

that A frame is perfect for a Der Weinershnitzel.

Sherri writes:

Can't believe it about DQ. Parents would take us there after church (when we behaved, I suppose!) way back in the 70's. Have been taking our own kids there after beach days ever since they were born. As a Naples native, it makes me sad :(

Coppertop21 writes:

in response to Iseeyouon41:

Stay home, eat a good meal, enjoy the family, save money, be safe ..let them all close..

..."let them all close", and what happens to all those hardworking employees who now have no jobs? Oh, that's right...unemployment (and a further drain on our systems). Many of these establishments employ our young people, often providing them their first job. Many of these establishments employ retirees who've been forced back to work. Many employ college students who are funding their own education. Etc. Etc. Etc.

wolfgang1 writes:

And there will be three new Italian Restaurants and a few frozen yogurt joints to take their places. I'm sure Pates, Chrissy's, and Janes will also be looking to close and open a few more as well!

bonlyjonly writes:

McCabes should be closing next after we found out he voted for obama and now he's hosting a fundraising event for the , you know whats!!! I will never eat there again!!!!!!!!

ocelot_snake writes:

hearing that DQ is moving made me feel sick to my stomach. Keep a DQ in that location and open another at the new location. Dont care how close the 2 are together, that DQ is one of the last landmarks of this town

Max_Headroom writes:

in response to samsam:

thats what happens when the snowbirds leave.you get what you ask for.so go back and collect your checks.

You can't blame the snowrats leaving to cause these closings.

If they are announcing closings 10 days after season ends, they were in trouble a LONG time ago.

Thanks Obama.

joeshmoe writes:

Taxes. Small restaurant's can't pay them, too high! Make room for another bank. Look at 5th Ave, someday we'll be staring at all banks...........

Taxes aren't just income taxes, real estate taxes are even worse. Massachusetts is almost all banks now thanks to the liberal real estate taxers.

Candisagree writes:

It is sad to see the old restaurants close. It was more sad that all the nightclubs closed however. I agree with the other comments about the DQ building. I hope they don't tear it down. They shouldn't have torn down that old bar shaped like an orange in Bonita. It was a landmark there.

MDTerpinNaples writes:

Although I never had the pleasure of a Ric's bagel, I have been eating them at Straight From New York for years and they are excellent.

signalzero (Inactive) writes:

There is no longer enough business here for most places to stay open year round. Over the last few years so many people have moved away for one reason or another, mainly the cost of living here, and inability to find paying jobs. The only ones who can make it here now are guest workers who pretty much live day by day. I also have owned 2 businesses here over the last 20 years, and I know a lot of people who owned a business also. Most have closed down and moved away. More will close with the beginning of summer, as you can not make it here on a season that only lasts for 4 or 5 months at best. You can try your best to put a happy spin on Naples, yes business is booming, people are moving here and buying property, real estate sales are up, there available jobs every were, riiiggghhht. Open your eyes and look around, and the story is very different. I have lived here 20 years, and clearly see it's time to look elsewere. Some of the ones closing may very well open here again, probably around November.

signalzero (Inactive) writes:

in response to Candisagree:

It is sad to see the old restaurants close. It was more sad that all the nightclubs closed however. I agree with the other comments about the DQ building. I hope they don't tear it down. They shouldn't have torn down that old bar shaped like an orange in Bonita. It was a landmark there.

I know numerous people who owned clubs here, the desirable customers (money spending crowd) do not live, or vacation here anymore. most clubs with the exception of Blue martini, are doing latino night, or all you can drink specials every night they are open, and only open 3 or 4 nights a week.

signalzero (Inactive) writes:

Also a lot of the people who used to live here and worked in the restaurants, and clubs, and were staple year round customers for other clubs have moved away.

samsam writes:

in response to Max_Headroom:

You can't blame the snowrats leaving to cause these closings.

If they are announcing closings 10 days after season ends, they were in trouble a LONG time ago.

Thanks Obama.

your right about oboomer, but the snowbirds do help your economy, and you know that.

BucFan writes:

in response to sirknowalot:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ha Ha! You just put a smile on my face. It's always sad to see a business close but this closing I celebrate. The service was so bad I walked out and vowed to never return.

NaplesSparky writes:

Look at all the wannabe economists commenting on this article, which they didn't even read. None of the restaurants mentioned have cited a lack of business as a reason for closing. There is no shortage of people in this town willing to spend money, be it in restaurants or nightclubs, as evidenced by the many successful business such as Blue Martini, Campiello's, Capital Grille, etc. What's the difference between them and the long list of places that have gone belly up over the years? Competent ownership/management. The D'Amicos and Dardens of the world actually know how to run a profitable business. Stop trying to blame the snowbirds, the economy, Obama, or whatever else you nutjobs have picked as the alarming social trend du jour, when really the problem is good old fashioned incompetence.

roadhouse writes:

Blue Martini and Capital Grille are chains. Therefore, they have corporate finanical backing. Blue also primarily sells alcohol, which is higher profit margin. You don't go there to eat. So you really can't tell how "successful" these two businesses are. Not sure about Campiello's. However, it has been there so long, that it probably has a very low cost lease. It would not surprise me to see it close at some point when the landlord can raise the rent. So a lot of it is the economy, Obama and Snowbirds. A stand-a-lone restaraunt is a difficult business in any economy, especially one in Naples, no matter how "competent" the management is.

No1Uno writes:

You can't subscribe to the "I will open and they will come mentality" no matter who you think you are..... or you will die a slow miserable death, or one rather quickly.

Can you say Pates Prime Rib? Or whatever it is they called themselves...

Blue Martini is a Florida based company out of WPB and are not publicly owned I believe, and Campienello's are based out of state, unless someone knows otherwise.

Badge676 writes:

The old Naples is gone. The new Naples, not so appealing.

savethewhalz writes:

Losing another Naples landmark? Not to worry. The near ancient Pizza Hut ruins (with similar architecture) in downtown Naples across from the Clock Restaurant remains standing for all admirers and students of history. Hopefully all who drive on 41 will be able to enjoy the DQ landmark in perptuity along with the weeds and parked cars.

swfl_ff writes:

in response to Badge676:

The old Naples is gone. The new Naples, not so appealing.

I agree. Most of the "new" Naples is not all that appealing. I hope the old Dairy Queen building can be saved.

That said I can understand why DQ would want a larger facility so they can have a full service operation with hot food like most of the other newer DQ's have.

jbm9 writes:

in response to bonlyjonly:

McCabes should be closing next after we found out he voted for obama and now he's hosting a fundraising event for the , you know whats!!! I will never eat there again!!!!!!!!

agree 100%

HAP writes:

Why so secretive about the old Dairy Queen location. I mean if there was ever a time to announce it, is in this column.

FreshFace writes:

in response to bonlyjonly:

McCabes should be closing next after we found out he voted for obama and now he's hosting a fundraising event for the , you know whats!!! I will never eat there again!!!!!!!!

When I saw he was hosting Michelle I went there for dinner for the first time in about 6 years. AMEN, MCCABES!!!

NaplesSparky writes:

in response to roadhouse:

Blue Martini and Capital Grille are chains. Therefore, they have corporate finanical backing. Blue also primarily sells alcohol, which is higher profit margin. You don't go there to eat. So you really can't tell how "successful" these two businesses are. Not sure about Campiello's. However, it has been there so long, that it probably has a very low cost lease. It would not surprise me to see it close at some point when the landlord can raise the rent. So a lot of it is the economy, Obama and Snowbirds. A stand-a-lone restaraunt is a difficult business in any economy, especially one in Naples, no matter how "competent" the management is.

Corporate financial backing has nothing to do with how many people are crammed in there on any given night. They have no problem getting people to come in and spend money, regardless of the economy. I mentioned Blue Martini because someone else mentioned nightclubs having the same problems. I'm well aware that food is not its primary business. As for Campiello's having a low-cost lease, I have no idea, but if they do I'd say thats a sign of competent ownership, it's certainly not luck. I never said running a restaurant wasn't extremely difficult...in fact thats exactly my point. That's why most people can't do it, and they go out of business. So basically, you agree with me, you just don't realize it.

volochine writes:

in response to Iseeyouon41:

Stay home, eat a good meal, enjoy the family, save money, be safe ..let them all close..

Brilliant! Florida Fever! Catch it!

Beachglow writes:

in response to bonlyjonly:

McCabes should be closing next after we found out he voted for obama and now he's hosting a fundraising event for the , you know whats!!! I will never eat there again!!!!!!!!

What was he thinking with that kind of publicity?
Not a smart move at all. I thought McCabe had better sense. Wonders never cease. It will cost him big time once people find out he voted for Obama.

cornandbeans writes:

slogoodland -

Let me trnaslate for all the readers that don't know your language:

you no that I'm a mess still, you read that I'm doing good and making tons of money, but this is the tip of the iceberg. You wait, if a new president gets in the white house and all these banks start there second, third, etc. rounds of foreclosures come down the pike I will go down even more, I take this area for granted because of the rich folks that keep me working, but, I'm still in the shiitt, this is nothing, you better start watching my demise.

Jarvis (Inactive) writes:

There are too many borderline quality restaurants around anyhow. Sometimes less is better.

Redshoulderedhawk writes:

Bad business practices. The food at Ric's was great, but most people thought it was too expensive. As for Dairy Queen, great location, great history, but they treated their customers badly. Everyone got DQ coupons in the mail, went to DQ to use them, and found that this location, for some reason, didn't accept them. Happened over and over again. We felt conned. Bait and switch. That's a surefire good will killer. They need to revise their business practices if they want to survive. In this economy, people don't take kindly to being ripped off.

RichardBalles writes:

in response to theabyss:

This town is not about history it is about how can we make a buck fast and move on. Miami West is in the shadows.... it's gonna get a lot worse before it gets any better.

Correct-O!

dab writes:

in response to bonlyjonly:

McCabes should be closing next after we found out he voted for obama and now he's hosting a fundraising event for the , you know whats!!! I will never eat there again!!!!!!!!

My thoughts exactly - I'll never go back.

blahblahblah79 writes:

Dairy Queen is moving like 3 blocks down the road people! Chill! It's suppose to be going in where Ric's is. That's the rumor anyway and I am a very frequent vistor to Ric's.

No1Uno writes:

If your decision on where you eat is based on what party they support, then you really have issues.

Hell, they can be an Obama supporter all they want, and they probably created more jobs than Obama, but if they put out great food and service I'll take your table any day.

I could really care less about taking the time to know who Don Shula, Johnny Carrabba's or even who the Colonel voted for....

craigbrewer writes:

in response to bonlyjonly:

McCabes should be closing next after we found out he voted for obama and now he's hosting a fundraising event for the , you know whats!!! I will never eat there again!!!!!!!!

You won't be missed.

moonbeams writes:

in response to cornandbeans:

slogoodland -

Let me trnaslate for all the readers that don't know your language:

you no that I'm a mess still, you read that I'm doing good and making tons of money, but this is the tip of the iceberg. You wait, if a new president gets in the white house and all these banks start there second, third, etc. rounds of foreclosures come down the pike I will go down even more, I take this area for granted because of the rich folks that keep me working, but, I'm still in the shiitt, this is nothing, you better start watching my demise.

i thought it was kanye's new rap:

you
no
that i'm still a mess
you
read
that i'm doing good
and making tons of money
but
this
is
the tip of the iceberg
you
wait
if
a new president
gets
in the whitehouse
and
all these
banks
start their, second third et cetera
rounds
of
foreclosures come down
the pike
will
go down even more
i
take
this area for granted
because
of
the rich folks
that
keep
me working
but
i'm still in the crap
this
is nothing
you
better
start watching my demise
start watching my demise
start watching my demise

greathornedlizard writes:

in response to dab:

My thoughts exactly - I'll never go back.

I'm no big fan of McCabe,(for other reasons,) but he's probably happy to be rid of some of you deadbeats, it opens up the tables for people who tip the help. which alleviates his need to give them a raise..

naples_rocket writes:

here we go again. When will people learn that it is very slow in the summer over here (and I hope that aren't gonna change!!!). Just be ready and plan accordingly. Out of town buyers and realtors who don't really care.

naplescapricorn writes:

I might actually go to McCabe's now! Nice to know that they can do their own thing without the Republican herd mentality.

nplzcitizens writes:

in response to dab:

My thoughts exactly - I'll never go back.

With all do respect to your political affiliations, none of you appear to be familiar w/ McCabe's extreme wealth. McCabe's on 5th is like a hobby for him, his money was made years ago. Just last week he added a new SLR McLaren to his collection ($430K). It may hurt the Bar's revenue, but it certainly won't dent his pockets...

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