My goodness, the year is rushing ahead and I feel stunned that it is this far ahead! I never had time to enjoy each and every month, and here I am all decorated for Thanksgiving, and preparing to cook for my wonderful family – which should number about 15 or so this year. It will be a cozy crowd. At times we number more, but a few aren’t here for Thanksgiving. So many things to be thankful for this year. Don’t forget to give thanks for all of our blessings.
◼ We just finished celebrating Veteran’s Day on Marco Island. As always, each year you think nothing could better, and here comes another year with everything being great! Our veteran’s looked positively outstanding. Keith Dameron again outdid himself as the MC of the program. He’s always such a hit. And there sat our King and Queen of the Island – Herb and Emily Savage, always a joy to see them, and the Island’s favorite DJ – Steve Reynolds, who never misses a beat! Everything is coordinated so perfectly that when we finished saying the Pledge of Allegiance led by Bob Sargeant, and Sarah Hadeka sang the “Star Spangled Banner,” Pilot Mick Thorstenson of the Civil Air Patrol flew over the audience at exactly the right time… pinpoint perfection! Senator Kathleen Passidomo saluted our veterans in her speech, and City Councilor Charlette Roman read the history of the women in the military. She herself served for 25 years in the U.S. Army, retiring as a full colonel. Former City Councilor Joe Batte spoke of being an officer in the U.S. Marine Corp., and so much more. It was an outstanding tribute to our service men and women. It always gives me goose pimples when Steve Reynolds plays the hymn for each branch of the service and all the retired members of that branch stand for us to appreciate. If you happened to miss this presentation, don’t miss another one. These veterans gave us our freedom folks. We need to be there to honor them.
◼ Some have asked what is happening in front of the 5th 3rd Bank on U.S. 41E and Price Street, across from The Fresh Market. It is the newest WaWa gas station and fresh food deli. Oh, you noticed there was more than one building? Aha, you are observant. There will be two additional buildings on the site: one is the Dollar Store, which is moving from across the street in the Lely Triangle Shopping Center to this location, and the other is scheduled to be a tire store. And yes, you probably noticed all the clearing of land right on Collier Blvd/951 near U.S. 41, along the Tamiami Crossings Shopping Center. It will become an Aldi’s Grocery Store. Aldi’s originated in Germany, I’ve been told. It’s a basic grocery store, unique in its own way, and their prices are supposed to be extremely reasonable. We have one located on Napa Boulevard near Costco. I’ve been told people love it. It’s mentioned that people must bring their own bags, and things are arranged in boxes. I’ll be interested to see what it is all about.
◼ I can hardly wait to find out what the Stock people are about to introduce to the community across U.S. 41 behind the Outback Steakhouse, with a water view and I believe I read 130 seats. Oh, how we all hope it is finally another restaurant! We really need them! Although the restaurants are doing a great job trying to keep up with all the business, we need more restaurants! Has anyone tried the Lebanese restaurant Kareem’s, next to 21 Spices (the home of the Chef of the Year who won the contest against Bobby Flay)? Kareem’s is now also on a reservation list. If you like lamb and friendly, clean restaurants, you need to try this place. The owner is always on property, and always warm and welcoming. They found their gold mine and are enjoying it. And the French restaurant – Bistro La Baguette, is doing amazingly well, with a crowded restaurant just about every night! He has decided to stay right here rather than move back to Old Naples. We welcome him! We need great restaurants, and he certainly has accomplished that! Then of course there is Eurasia Restaurant, where you MUST have a reservation. In case you don’t know of the restaurant, they have a varied menu with part being from Vietnam, part from Italy, and part from America. If you can’t find something you like there, you might not be able to find anything you like anywhere. Yes, this restaurant brings people from all along 951/Collier Boulevard, and from Marco Island and Isles of Capri, and even some from the City of Naples. By the way, East Naples diners, it’s just as easy to get to Marco Island to enjoy their restaurants as it is to eat here, except during season – not because the trip is longer, but they have a robust tourist business on Marco Island and the restaurants get crowded, so they come over the bridge to join us, but we must return that favor out of season. I watch a lot to see what kinds of crowds our restaurants attract, and all of the nice sit-down restaurants are really busy and need to ask people to make reservations. It’s too bad others never saw the “gold mine” awaiting them right here! They keep building at the other end of town, but with so many new restaurants opening there, some don’t make it very long. And just let me mention The Real Macaw Restaurant on Bayshore Drive. The “Macaw” has been there for at least 25 years, and offers special island fare. The proprietor, Jean, is always on property and is a marvelous person to know. If you like food from the Caribbean, you’ll love this place. I bet some of you didn’t even know they were there. This little restaurant had a rich background before it became The Real Macaw. Venture out and try it. You’ll be glad you did. Yes, it’s on the same street as 360 Market… a favorite among all of Collier County.
With that, I must say have a wonderful, marvelous Thanksgiving. The end of the year is coming closer!