What fun it will be to write this column for the Coastal Breeze! Lots of good news to spread around, so you might even have fun reading it! But first and foremost, please let me wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you will be able to spend the time with family or friends or church fellowship or neighbors. At our house (I’m the Mom) we celebrate at my home, the home they were raised in. It’s always so much fun as we catch up on each other’s lives and share some experiences. One rule in Grandma’s house: no cell phones allowed at the table. It’s about us and our family. Everyone honors that rule.
• Speaking of food: it’s exciting to tell you about a new French Restaurant that is coming to the East Naples area! We have an Indian Restaurant (21 Spices) down the road from this one, and a little further down we have a Vietnamese Restaurant (it is also a great Italian Restaurant – most of you know Eurasia) but remember, you must make reservations at Eurasia during season! It is so popular that you cannot just walk in any longer without a reservation. Then there is Texas Roadhouse, Carrabba’s, and Outback Steakhouse, all extremely popular. I have been told that the Carrabba’s and Outback Steakhouse are the only ones open for lunch in their chain because these locations are always so crowded for dinner, plus they also offer delivery to your home. That tells you how popular that intersection has become! We also have an Irish restaurant (probably many of you know Erin’s Isle with Mike Ward as the proprietor) with entertainment, and of course we have Cuban and Mexican and Chinese and Japanese restaurants and lots of terrific Italian Restaurants. But, I digress; so let me get back to telling you about this newest entry, a French restaurant named Bistro Bagatelle! If you ride along U.S. 41 E and look across the street from The Glades, you probably have noticed lots of action taking place at the old Mr. Mom’s restaurant. This is the location for this new restaurant. I stopped by to talk with the people and ask questions, and was amazed at the transformation that has taken place! It has been completely redecorated and improved, the bathrooms are now down a hallway, an outdoor bar has been installed, the kitchen is immaculate, the decor is white and refreshing, and you almost feel delighted just to walk in to the restaurant. The chef and staff were there and allowed me to talk with them even though they were at lunch. This is the same chef who prepared the marvelous food at Le Lafayette French Restaurant in Olde Naples. They plan to open this 60- seat establishment on Friday, December 1st. I plan to be there to experience this new atmosphere and great food. I love French food, so I’ll be there often.
• Speaking of food, the old China Buffet in Freedom Square bordering the Lely Resort facility will become another Brooks Burgers! You might remember the old Lindbergers in downtown Naples, which became a Brooks Burgers. This will be a sister to that restaurant.
• Physician’s Regional has opened a Walk-In Clinic on Thomasson Road, behind the CVS Pharmacy, and across the street from Brunina’s Italian Restaurant (another great restaurant) in the Publix Shopping Center on U.S. 41 E and Thomasson Road. I would bet, being so close to the East Naples Community Park where lots of activity takes place between Pickleball and Soccer, that it will probably be used often. Hopefully you stop by to visit and get acquainted and not because you need their service, but it’s good to know they are there and so close by.
• Many people have been watching carefully as the pools at Eagle Lakes Community Park begin to take shape. The lap pool looks like the pool the Lely High School Swim Team has been looking for, and who helped us with their suggestions before we started building. It will also offer exercise classes and other great fun. Speaking of Eagle Lakes Park, I understand it will now be open to the soccer players who have been anxiously awaiting its opening. I believe this is the only park that has still been closed to ball teams, so it will be a welcomed relief for the surrounding community.
• Recently I escorted another tour group to the county landfill. Each time we go we all learn new things. This time we learned that all batteries can be recycled, not just the large ones. I’ve been guilty of dropping mine in the garbage, thinking that they are disposable, but the team at the landfill stated they would prefer we keep them in a container and when we drop off our fluorescent tube lights we should drop them off as well. While we were there we saw something we haven’t seen on any other tour – that’s the area where storm debris is being taken and ground into chips. The piles of debris must be 10 feet tall! It was like driving in a canyon of horticulture debris. Then we watched as these huge dump trucks with big claws picked debris off the piles and took it over to the “chipper” to be ground up. This thing looked like a huge mixer constantly turning around, and when they would dump whole trees and other products huge and small into this “hopper”, it ground it up like they were toothpicks! It was fascinating to watch. That was a new experience for me, as I’m sure it was for the others. They then offer this material to the farmers to mix with their sand and soil for their growing bed. Apparently there are nutrients in there that aid in the growing of vegetables. I’m sure glad we had scheduled this tour.
• A special note to my Marco Island friends Joel and Judy Gewirtz! Happy 50th Anniversary! You look as happy as you did in your wedding picture!
• For all those who love to deliver candy to the children in Naples Manor with Santa on his sleigh, Santa and his “elves” will be meeting at 8:30 AM on December 9th at Parkside Elementary School, and will leave promptly at 9 AM. It is always so much fun to see the excitement on the children’s faces as the caravan of “elves” from the sheriff’s office, the fire department, East Naples Civic Association, East Naples Kiwanis, and the team from Parkside Elementary School travel down their route with horns blowing, lights blazing, and the children jumping and laughing as we go by. This is the 25th year for this event, and thanks to Ted Beisler, our motivator and planner, and his crew of helpers (especially those from Naples Lakes Country Club who bag all the candy and provide water and snacks for the elves afterward) it’s a fun event. If you’d like to ride along or join the helpers, please feel free to join the elves at Parkside.