In the Know: 4 more restaurants close in North Naples; a few set to open

TIM ATEN
Latitude Fusion Cuisine restaurant closed April 15 after operating for about a year in Naples Walk shopping center in North Naples.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Latitude Fusion Cuisine restaurant closed April 15 after operating for about a year in Naples Walk shopping center in North Naples.

As readers proclaimed in online comments last week, the seasonal closing of Naples restaurants has begun. At least four more recently closed. But more eateries are planning to open.

Latitude Fusion Cuisine

Q: Latitudes Restaurant? Any word on what will be next up at that location?

— Tom Rosen, North Naples

A: On April 15, owners Marc and Britta Schulze say they temporarily closed Latitude to change the restaurant's concept, staff and probably its name, but details about the future restaurant are still under wraps.

"We are remodeling the restaurant for about three weeks. As soon as we have more news, we'll contact you," said an email sent April 19 from Marc Schulze.

The email also confirmed that Chef Ross Peterson, who opened Latitude Fusion Cuisine restaurant and piano bar with the Schulzes a year ago, is no longer working for the couple, effective April 15. On that same date, bartender Jessica Shea Reynolds said all of Latitude's employees were laid off unexpectedly by the owners.

Peterson, formerly of area restaurants Roy's, Syrah and Trilogy, was one of Latitude's four managing partners. He created Latitude's menu, described as a Florida fusion of international flavors and products from different cuisines.

Latitude's closing, three days shy of its first anniversary, is the third strike in four years for that 7,000-square-foot location in the Naples Walk shopping center, 2500 Vanderbilt Beach Road.

The space was the former site of Paul Sturkey's Encore until 2008 and Cafe Italia Ristorante from January 2010 to March 2011.

The BeiJing, a traditional Chinese restaurant which featured an all-day buffet, served local diners for more than 10 years at 10975 U.S. 41 N. in North Naples until recently closing.

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The BeiJing, a traditional Chinese restaurant which featured an all-day buffet, served local diners for more than 10 years at 10975 U.S. 41 N. in North Naples until recently closing.

BeiJing Restaurant

Q: I was planning on going to BeiJing (on U.S. 41 just south of Immokalee Road) for lunch as I do every other week or so, only to find a sign taped to the door that said they were closed. Something about the building being sold, or something. I lived on their pepper chicken and will miss really them. Some people might have found it to be kind of rundown-looking, but I loved it. Any chance you can find out if they will reopen somewhere else? Thanks! I'm totally BUMMED!

— Joe Turner, Naples

A: Sorry, Joe. Beyond the note on the door of The BeiJing, which doesn't give the impression that its operators plan to open the longtime restaurant elsewhere locally, I could not find much more.

The unsigned letter, dated April 17, reads: "Dear Customer: We will be closed due to the building was sold. It's been a pleasure serving you! Thank you!"

The BeiJing, a traditional Chinese restaurant which featured an all-day buffet, served local diners for more than 10 years at 10975 U.S. 41 N. in North Naples.

Taste of Chicago sandwich shop closed in April in Green Tree Center, 2366 Immokalee Road, North Naples. Jaegerhaus has relocated there.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Taste of Chicago sandwich shop closed in April in Green Tree Center, 2366 Immokalee Road, North Naples. Jaegerhaus has relocated there.

Bajio Mexican Grill closed at the end of March after operating for more than two years in the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt, 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road #158, North Naples.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Bajio Mexican Grill closed at the end of March after operating for more than two years in the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt, 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road #158, North Naples.

The half-acre parcel on the corner of 110th Avenue was purchased in January for $625,000, according to data on the Collier County Property Appraiser's website.

The owner of the property is listed as Roger J. Jusseaume, who could not be reached for comment regarding the future use of the property.

Before becoming The BeiJing in late 2001, the 2,500-square-foot building was home to a string of other local restaurants: The Greens of Naples, Cafe Meron, Loquat's, and Mustards.

More recently closed restaurants

Taste of Chicago, 2366 Immokalee Road, recently closed after operating for slightly more than a year in North Naples' Green Tree Center. The sandwich shop, specializing in Chicago-style hot dogs, made menu tweaks and changed its hours and days open in an unsuccessful effort to attract more business. The space, sandwiched between Naples Olive Oil Co. and Em-On's Thai Cafe, was previously home to Havanas Cuban Cafe and Grill for about eight years. The closed restaurant is not affiliated with Augustina's A Taste of Chicago locations in East Naples.

Bajio Mexican Grill closed at the end of March after operating for more than two years in the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt, 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road No. 158, North Naples. This location was the last local spot for the small, Utah-based chain, which previously operated at least three other Naples locations.

Let's Yo! yogurt shop is expected to open this weekend in the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt, 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road #186, North Naples.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Let's Yo! yogurt shop is expected to open this weekend in the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt, 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road #186, North Naples.

Coming soon

Let's Yo! yogurt shop is projected to open this weekend in the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt,2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road #186, North Naples. Customers pay 49 cents an ounce for their self-serve creations using multiple frozen yogurt flavors and toppings.

The first 20 locations for Let's Yo are in New Jersey, with Florida stores set to open in Naples and Miami. Expect "a hip and social environment" with new flavors such as cherry limeade, cupcake, rocky road and lemon ice box pie, according to the company's website.

Naples Flatbread & Wine Bar is opening its third area location in the former home of Piola pizzeria at Mercato in North Naples.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Naples Flatbread & Wine Bar is opening its third area location in the former home of Piola pizzeria at Mercato in North Naples.

Naples Flatbread & Wine Bar is opening its third area location in the former home of Piola at Mercato in North Naples. Naples Flatbread also has locations at 6434 Naples Blvd. in North Naples and in Miromar Outlets in Estero.

The menu features Neapolitan pizza and Tuscan flatbreads, gourmet macaroni and cheese, grilled panini sandwiches on artisan bread, and hearth-baked pasta dishes.

The wine bar features 30 varieties by the glass and a variety of beers. A gluten-free menu also is available.

Grace & Shelly's Cupcakes is opening its fifth location soon next to Chipotle Mexican Grill on Mercato's main street of U.S. 41 in North Naples.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Grace & Shelly's Cupcakes is opening its fifth location soon next to Chipotle Mexican Grill on Mercato's main street of U.S. 41 in North Naples.

Grace & Shelly's Cupcakes is opening soon next to Chipotle Mexican Grill at Mercato.

The quickly expanding local cupcake business opened its fourth location April 6 in Coconut Point in Estero. It also has two other locations in Naples and one in the Fort Myers area.

___

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 » 38

fritobandito writes:

Went to Bajio several times and was never impressed, by the food *or* the service.. Not sad to see it go.

Beachglow writes:

There are too many so-so restaurants in Naples.
Sometimes less is better. The best restaurants are in downtown Naples and always will be.

itmattershere writes:

Keep them closing, then opening, close , open, no money! The local blue collar folk has no extra money to spend.

desperado writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

BackwoodsBill writes:

Forget the restaurants for North Naples wimps. What happened to the Lagoona Grill on E 41 and SR 92. Used to be the Iron Horse Grill. A (mostly) biker bar. I sometimes stopped there for a brewski on my way home from outdoor stuff in the Everglades. I'm no biker, but they tolerated me anyway.

mr_1_term_proposition writes:

in response to fritobandito:

Went to Bajio several times and was never impressed, by the food *or* the service.. Not sad to see it go.

You would have thought once or twice would have been enough? What's wrong with you?

harmony951 writes:

Too many people and too many restaurants in that sprawling imitation suburban blight that likes to call itself North Naples.

BackwoodsBill writes:

in response to BackwoodsBill:

Forget the restaurants for North Naples wimps. What happened to the Lagoona Grill on E 41 and SR 92. Used to be the Iron Horse Grill. A (mostly) biker bar. I sometimes stopped there for a brewski on my way home from outdoor stuff in the Everglades. I'm no biker, but they tolerated me anyway.

Old Name: Iron Rhino Grill.

anotherPOV writes:

You can blame the economy, market saturation or the lining up of the planets but the reality is the restuarants that keep closing are doing so because they do not provide a good eating experience at a fair price, period. I'll eat so-so food from a drive thru but I WILL NOT go into a restuarant and pay sit down money for bad service or mediocre food.

desperado writes:

in response to Han_Solo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I could eat a bowl of Alphabet soup and crap a better response than that !

louiegagootz writes:

in response to desperado:

I could eat a bowl of Alphabet soup and crap a better response than that !

Now, Now! Be nice, kids!

Niki_6 writes:

None of these restaurants advertised properly. It is 2012 - get a website WITH A MENU on it for Pete's sake! I never even heard of half of these places. Sad to see mom & pop businesses closing, to make room for the big crappy corporate chains.

Max_Headroom writes:

in response to anotherPOV:

You can blame the economy, market saturation or the lining up of the planets but the reality is the restuarants that keep closing are doing so because they do not provide a good eating experience at a fair price, period. I'll eat so-so food from a drive thru but I WILL NOT go into a restuarant and pay sit down money for bad service or mediocre food.

No, blame obama!

Here4Now writes:

Latitudes started out great, but the last meal I had there (February) was beyond awful. That restaurant rightfully died, committed suicide actually. The restaurants that survive in this town know the secret - don't skimp on quality food and quality service, price is secondary to an excellent tasting and well-presented meal. Once "cost controlling" antics are instituted, kiss it goodbye.

onlythetruth writes:

in response to sirknowalot:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The Schulzes are some of the worst in their interaction with guests that I have ever seen. I liked the food. The chef was pretty creative, but it was just an odd concept and space.

markinnaples writes:

Took my wife and sons to Lattitudes, and the food was mediocre at best, and the price was down right ridiculous. Two adult meals (one was actually not a full meal and only a flatbread), and two children's meals with no alcohol and the price was almost $100. What the heck? I am more than willing to pay good money for a good dinner, but that place was ridiculously overpriced.

clp writes:

It's funny how many negative comments are posted after a place closes. Latitude received many accolades and rave reviews for their food and menu when they were open. Granted the front of the house and choice of entertainment never matched the quality of the food. Had
many an enjoyable meal there, but have to agree the management left a lot to be desired. Hope to find the kitchen staff ensconced in new surroundings real soon .missing the Poki already!

naples_rocket writes:

in response to desperado:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

thank you desparado plain and simple

DonkeyWhispererakaDuh_novan writes:

in response to Here4Now:

Latitudes started out great, but the last meal I had there (February) was beyond awful. That restaurant rightfully died, committed suicide actually. The restaurants that survive in this town know the secret - don't skimp on quality food and quality service, price is secondary to an excellent tasting and well-presented meal. Once "cost controlling" antics are instituted, kiss it goodbye.

Agree!!

clp writes:

in response to DonkeyWhispererakaDuh_novan:

Agree!!

inexperienced investors with uneducated palates should not be the ones to control kitchen budgets in a upscale restaurants. those who only know mediocrity should not aspire to manage other than mediocre . perhaps there is a MacDonalds Brita and her husband can buy...

desperado writes:

in response to Han_Solo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's unlikely that this letter will win me many friends or even garner much attention. However, writing it is the only way I know to break the mold and stray from the path of conventional wisdom. The first thing I want to bring up is that if it were up to Mr. Hans _ Solo, we'd all be grazing contentedly in the pasture of nihilism right now. We'd be thoroughly unaware of the fact that I realize that some people may have trouble reading this letter. Granted, not everyone knows what "heterochromatization" means, but it's nevertheless easy to understand that Mr. Solo is an opportunist. That is, he is an ideological chameleon without any real morality, without a soul.

Have you ever stopped to consider the enormous havoc and ruin that has been wrought in this world by Mr. Solo and his cronies? I have. That's why I say that in his quest to give rise to vilipensive protestors he has left no destructive scheme unutilized. I am not fooled by his violent and eristic rhetoric. I therefore gladly accept the responsibility of notifying others that while Mr. Solo is out bringing frotteurism to this country in the name of anti-frotteurism, the general public is shouldering the bill. Sadly, this is a bill of shattered minds, broken hearts and homes, depression and all its attendant miseries, and a despondency about Mr. Solo's attempts to produce culturally degenerate films and tapes. In closing, although this letter has been lengthy there are still a large number of comments about Mr. Hans _ Solo that I have had to leave aside. I didn't even begin to mention, for instance, that it is probably safe to assume that there are people better equipped to cope with life than costive galoots. Anyway, the important point is that Mr. Solo's arguments don't even prove his point.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Next !!!

No1Uno writes:

in response to clp:

It's funny how many negative comments are posted after a place closes. Latitude received many accolades and rave reviews for their food and menu when they were open. Granted the front of the house and choice of entertainment never matched the quality of the food. Had
many an enjoyable meal there, but have to agree the management left a lot to be desired. Hope to find the kitchen staff ensconced in new surroundings real soon .missing the Poki already!

So funny maybe, but yet they are all real experiences from previous customers. Watch Kitchen Nightmares and you will see and hear owners all day long on that show that don't listen to their staff or their customers. Or better yet, more owners that can't tell the difference whether or not there customers are really coming back when they walk out the door.

Sadly yet again, more clueless owners that subscribed to the "open our doors and people will line out the door for blocks" mentality without proper marketing to compete in todays world.

Their choice of entertainment was the least of their worries. The fact that they paid for entertainment and didn't advertise it and their restaurant properly, was...

desperado writes:

in response to Han_Solo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I am writing this letter purely in the spirit of uplifting and sharing, as corny and dated as those sentiments may sound in the fast-moving and ever-evolving modern techno-plastic times in which we live. Primarily, I want to share with you my view that Mr. Solo's adages are the low-hanging fruit on the rotting tree of cronyism. Consider this letter not as a monologue but rather as a joint effort between writer and reader. Together we shall drive off and disperse the doolally, larcenous megalomaniacs who destroy our sense of safety in the places we ordinarily imagine we can flee to. Together we shall expose injustice and puncture prejudice. And together we shall provide people the wherewithal to acknowledge that I'd like people who blacklist Mr. Solo's enemies as terrorist sympathizers or traitors to find themselves behind bars, looking out. Mr. Solo has recently been going around claiming that five-crystal orgone generators can eliminate mind-control energies that are being radiated from secret, underground, government facilities. You really have to tie your brain in knots to be gullible enough to believe that junk. Okay, I've written enough for one letter, so let me just finish by saying that you can observe a definite bias in Mr. Solo's agendas relating to contentious, hypersensitive gomerals.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

desperado writes:

in response to Han_Solo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Here4Now writes:

in response to clp:

It's funny how many negative comments are posted after a place closes. Latitude received many accolades and rave reviews for their food and menu when they were open. Granted the front of the house and choice of entertainment never matched the quality of the food. Had
many an enjoyable meal there, but have to agree the management left a lot to be desired. Hope to find the kitchen staff ensconced in new surroundings real soon .missing the Poki already!

Had the Poki the very last time I ate there in Feb. The tuna was rotten. Even the people at the table NEXT to me commented on the smell and held their breaths. I sent it back. The rest of the meal didn't fare much better. I sincerely hope NOT to find any of the kitchen staff at any restaurant I am in.

ThirstyFox writes:

Latitude

I am very sad to see Latitude close. but not shocked....

The menu & specials is the only reason to go. Always amazing, fresh and unique.

Not surprised because of the management aspect. When walking in and leaving, you always felt you were a bother rather than a guest.

I will not even bother trying it out when it re-opens.... I would rather know where I can get a fantastic meal from Chef Peterson!

wonderful (Inactive) writes:

in response to Han_Solo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Doggone it, eh?

ratdog2009 writes:

When you are judging a restaurant, consider the ambiance, the service, and most importantly the food. If a restaurant pays attention to detail and closely manages all three aspects, they have a decent chance of succeeding. Every one of these places failed because the ownership or managing partners did not execute in at least two of these three categories. In Latitudes case, all three were lacking. Chef Peterson has let culinary progress pass him by, and it is no surprise that as one of the managing partners this project was doomed from the start. (Check his record.)The Taste of Chicago on Immokalee Road served the worst possible (chili) hot dog on the planet, and was a dump besides. I ate at Beijing once in ten years and would never go back, and the same deal with Bajio, one and out. I wouldn't be surprised if another dozen places drop out in the next two or three months, for the same reasons. There are a handful of very good restaurants in Naples, a whole middle population of places that stay open because they prey on the tourists and cut enough corners to eke their way to the next season, and bottom layer of places that are so dirty and mismanaged that you would be shocked if you went in their kitchens and watched what was happening night after night.

Jarvis (Inactive) writes:

in response to BackwoodsBill:

Old Name: Iron Rhino Grill.

When it was the Iron Rhino, the parking lot was usually full of motorcycles on weekends. After it became Laguna Grill, it always was empty. Seems like the bikers did not support it.

lallydah writes:

having lived in the area for many,many years and eaten out on a regular basis. I have seen many restaurants come and go, for many reasons. I ate at Latitude at least once week and always had a high quality, fresh meal. I think the name fitting because the front of the house always had an attitude,iif anything at all. I look forward to hearing where the chef and staff will be next. I ate in Syrah and it was the finest restaurant I ever ate in, thanks to the chef. A few disgruntled people do not account for the many very satisfied, well fed customers.

Shaawe writes:

in response to Jarvis:

When it was the Iron Rhino, the parking lot was usually full of motorcycles on weekends. After it became Laguna Grill, it always was empty. Seems like the bikers did not support it.

Yep. Times change as well as the clientele. Could it be the biker phase is wearing out?

Gifted1 writes:

Chef Ross is boss, as is his wife and little dog ( BIG NOW ) Toto...LOL

Coastal writes:

Some people think these closings are only happening in their little world of SWF when the fact is this is going on all over this country.

There are 5.5 million fewer jobs than we did in 2008. In the past 6 months 70% of the job openings have been in the low wage sector. Unemployment for people with college educations is twice the norm. Hiring through June 2011 was 10 times slower following the passage of the Democrat’s healthcare bill compared to the prior 16 months and is estimated to have cost more than 2 million jobs since. And. In the first few months of 2012 layoff announcements have risen 18% from a year ago.

Those who are working found their income falling to 1996 levels, older people are working to make up the loss of their home values and retirement funds and the real inflation rate is over 8%.

And people think the reason a restaurant went out is because the owner looked at them funny.

caloosa writes:

The constant variable in the success of a restaurant is service! If you served dead goat but had wonderful service staff, you can still make a fortune!

Quietcat writes:

in response to ratdog2009:

When you are judging a restaurant, consider the ambiance, the service, and most importantly the food. If a restaurant pays attention to detail and closely manages all three aspects, they have a decent chance of succeeding. Every one of these places failed because the ownership or managing partners did not execute in at least two of these three categories. In Latitudes case, all three were lacking. Chef Peterson has let culinary progress pass him by, and it is no surprise that as one of the managing partners this project was doomed from the start. (Check his record.)The Taste of Chicago on Immokalee Road served the worst possible (chili) hot dog on the planet, and was a dump besides. I ate at Beijing once in ten years and would never go back, and the same deal with Bajio, one and out. I wouldn't be surprised if another dozen places drop out in the next two or three months, for the same reasons. There are a handful of very good restaurants in Naples, a whole middle population of places that stay open because they prey on the tourists and cut enough corners to eke their way to the next season, and bottom layer of places that are so dirty and mismanaged that you would be shocked if you went in their kitchens and watched what was happening night after night.

I agree with you that many restaurants in Naples make it because they prey on tourists who are in and out and it doesn't speak itself around how bad the food/experience is. I was never much for cooking, but after trying many area restaurants over the years I realized I would have to learn to prepare my own high-quality meals if I wanted to eat well. I have a few favorites I go to for special occasions, but having eaten one too many mediocre (or downright horrible), over-priced meals I've pretty much given up trying anyplace new. I'm tired of food that's cold because the plate has to look like a sculpture before it's served, "fusion" cuisine that doesn't really work, and long explanations of where my fish was caught or what farm my pork chop came from. What ever happened to high quality ingredients, simply prepared and served by attentive staff at fair prices? Bells and whistles only get you so far. And, by the way, it isn't just the bottom rung of resraurants with filthy kitchens- I could tell you stories...

No1Uno writes:

Exactly, and imagine how many times that food has to be touched and handled in order to make it look a certain way. At some point you really don't want to be putting it in your mouth, let alone swallowing it. If it can't be handled with tongs or a spatula then it's better to go with the T-bone, over some Hawaiian seafood extravaganza and sauce painting or even grandmas meatballs for that manner.

And if you don't have a very disciplined kitchen staff think about how many times they are wiping there faces, sweat, other meats etc.... Fancy displayed food is a red flag....

kimrbwb writes:

Chef Ross at Latitude is tremendous, creative with the food, and unlike most other 'fusion' restaurants I have been to, the portions were more than generous. The onion soup and escargot were fantastic and different than any place else we have been. We all ended up sharing our entrees too - each was that good and prepared so uniquely. We hate to see another restaurant close, but the owners are responsible for that and we heard, letting all their employees go without notice. We just want to know where Chef Ross is going because it's sure to be a better place.

Illusion writes:

Inca's kitchen has some of the most flavorful food I have ever had. The service is impeccable, and you are treated like well loved family members.

http://www.incaskitchen.com/home/inde...

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