Q: There used to be several restaurants — Grecian Gardens, Parkshore Grille, Maximo’s, to name a few — that served fresh walleye in Naples. Are there any currently serving walleye? I would love to know! Thanks!
— Anne, Naples
A: With so many transplants from Ohio, Michigan and other Great Lakes states settling in Southwest Florida, walleye remains a staple on many local restaurant menus.
One of the reasons walleye is so popular here is because area chefs are preparing the freshwater fish in delicious ways. The delicate white fish is mild and a little flaky, and is unlike any caught in local waters, said Pedro Nolasco, owner of Cibao Grille, off Neapolitan Way in Naples.
Walleye pike Key West style, a sauteed fillet topped with artichoke and tomato slices and Béarnaise sauce, is the signature dish on the dinner menu at Cibao Grille.
“That is the No. 1 seller on the menu,” Nolasco said.
Located in Neapolitan Way off U.S. 41 for the past six years, Cibao Grille relocated Thursday to another location within the shopping center. The restaurant moved 150 feet west to the former space of Parkshore Grill, 814 Neapolitan Way.
Walleye also continues to be a popular item on the dinner menu of M Waterfront Grill in the Village on Venetian Bay, 4300 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., Naples. Executive Chef Brian Roland has created “Waterside herb”-Panko-crusted walleye with roasted fennel and caramelized onion risotto, and a tomato-lemon-caper sauce. Walleye is an option in M’s “Fresh Fish Simply Done” menu section, as well, where the Great Lakes fish is simply grilled or pan-seared with grilled asparagus and lemon butter sauce.
During season, walleye also is one of the most popular entrees at Wylds Café on Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Springs. Wylds’ Parmesan-encrusted walleye pike is topped with tomato basil buerre blanc and served with roasted shallot risotto. Unfortunately, Wylds is closed now and through the summer months. The café is scheduled to reopen the first week in October.
It’s not just the way the fish is prepared that makes it so popular, nor is it a coincidence that walleye plays well to many visitors and local transplants. Walleye is a native to Canada and the northern U.S. and is the state fish of Minnesota.
The above mentioned are just a few of the local restaurants serving walleye. Which others are your favorites and why? Please comment below or email email@example.com.
MORE AREA RESTAURANT NEWS
■ Alia’s Cafe, 3400 Radio Road, closed as of April 30 to make way for Sweet Pea’s, a new breakfast-lunch cafe being operated by husband-and-wife restaurateurs Fadi Rabil and Chrissy Bianchi-Rabil, who also operate Chrissy’s Courthouse Tavern in East Naples and Chrissy B’s in North Naples. This marks the third time the local couple has operated a restaurant at that East Naples location in the Commerce Centers. It was the original Chrissy’s from 1991 to 2005, and reopened from 2008 to 2010.
For a short time, it also has been Tastebuds of Naples and the Baker’s Bistro. Sweet Pea’s, open 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day, spices up Chrissy’s classic cooking with some Creole cuisine, Rabil said. 239-331-2955.
■ SweetFrog, a Richmond, Va.-based self-serve frozen yogurt café, is set to open its first Naples-area store June 1 next to Party City in Pine Ridge Crossing. SweetFrog, 2338 Pine Ridge Road, is opening in the space formerly occupied by Smoothie King and Love Me, Love My Dog Pet Salon and Spa. SweetFrog fosters a bright, positive, family-friendly environment, according to company information on its website, sweetfrogyogurt. com.
“SweetFrog was founded on the principles of Christianity and our belief in bringing happiness and a positive attitude into the lives of our consumers,” according to its website. “At SweetFrog, F.R.O.G stands for Fully Rely On God — and we hope to be an example of that in every community!”
The store’s nearly 40 yogurt flavors include takes on baked goods (apple pie, carrot cake, gingerbread, snickerdoodle), candy (Bubble Yum bubble gum, peppermint stick, Hershey kisses chocolate), fruits (mountain blackberry, island banana, Georgia peach), nuts (pecan praline, pistachio, white chocolate macadamia) and beverages (root beer float, cappuccino, eggnog).
■ Baskin-Robbins is planning a comeback in Collier County, where the national ice cream chain shared space with some local Dunkin’ Donuts franchises until a few years ago. Now, the company has expansion plans for Collier and Lee counties.
“We look forward to growing our presence throughout Florida in the coming years,” said Grant Benson, vice president of franchising and market planning for Dunkin’ Brands Inc.
The company looks to add more than 15 stores in the next several years in South Florida. For franchise information, go to BaskinRobbins.com. Florida now has 138 Baskin-Robbins locations.
■ Sweet Tomatoes on the corner of U.S. 41 North and Immokalee Road is still open. It seems the recent closing of Naples Tomato nearby has some Sweet Tomatoes restaurant customers confused.
“We have received many phone calls from customers the past week on this, asking why we have closed,” said Tracy Marks, a spokeswoman for the California-based chain.
While we are counting tomatoes, Stevie Tomato’s Sports Page also remains open in Pebblebrooke Center near the corner of Collier Boulevard and Immokalee Road.
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"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.