It’s a simple equation and you don’t have to be a mathematician to appreciate it. Gulf seafood – awesome, smoked BBQ and fun music all come together at Saltwater Blues on 951 just south of the I-75 interchange. (Yes, yes, we all know it’s where Cracklin’ Jacks used to be).
Chef Mark Shores, a Lely High School graduate, opened Saltwater Blues in June of this year. He and his wife, Anne, had a couple M&M Down Home Diners in Collier County 14-15 years ago, but closed them. “My wife, last year, said, ‘Why don’t weget back into owning a restaurant.’ She had seen the former Cracklin’ Jacks building was available for lease. We looked into it more and felt it was a great fit. We came up with the concept of Saltwater Blues and decided to make it a Southwest Florida tribute.”
Chef Mark invests heavily in the concept of fresh seafood. He picks up his shrimp from the boats on Pine Island. “There are so many restaurants in this town that say they have fresh,” says Chef Mark. “But I have not been to a restaurant in Naples that has hand-picked, pink Gulfshrimp.” He also gets crab, both hard and soft shell, locally.
Saltwater Blues also has a special blend of coffee you can’t find anywhere else in the country.
Chef Mark attended the Kendall Culinary Institute in Evanston, IL and spent time working in France, Italy and Spain. He also helped to open Sea Salt on Fifth Avenue in Naples and worked at Celebrations Unlimited. He uses his experience to prepare items for a wide range of palate desires.
“There’s something for everybody,” says Chef Mark. “We have everything from fine-dining dishes to hamburger and BBQ.” Their Firecracker Shrimp has proven to bevery popular. All the sauces are prepared fresh with a dash of innovation.
The perfect compliment to the food and drinks is the live entertainment. “I love blues music, I love great food and I love a relaxed atmosphere,” says Chef Mark. “That’s what we are creating here at Saltwater Blues.”
Currently serving beer and wine, they will be expanding soon and offering full bar service. You can find more information on their Facebook page. They are open daily from 11:30 (closed on Mondays). Stop in for some great, fresh food and stay for the live music. It’s a fun atmosphere perfect for a Southwest Florida experience.