Naples Potpourri by Bill Barnett

Bill Barnett

Normally I can sit down and write my article for Life in Naples with little difficulty, but this one is a challenge. Because this article has to cover August, September and October and with all that’s going on around us it’s a challenge!

Sometimes it’s just nice to sit down on the couch, put your comfy slippers on, and just write a feel good article and that’s what I’m going to attempt to do because with all the craziness going on around us it’s just something that in my opinion is needed.

Locally season is for sure over. My restaurant friends who just wrapped up one of the best seasons ever are a little bit wary of what this summer is going to bring but remain optimistic as always. My feeling is the newcomers that have made Naples their permanent home over the last few years will stay here rather than travel and will support our local businesses. I am constantly asked what my favorite restaurants are, where is a good place for breakfast, and do I have any recommendations for Sunday brunch. I can only give my opinion on all the above and am constantly amazed about the quantity and quality of our Naples dining establishments.

I’ll start with what I consider the best meal for the price, and this includes breakfast, lunch and dinner and it’s a place that my wife and I dine at when it’s been a long day and neither of us want to cook. It’s Mel’s Diner on the North Trail (US 41). The menu is large, choices are many and the portions generous. For those of us that are familiar with the Blue Zones Project, which is all about healthy choices and healthy eating, Mel’s has a Blue Zones menu to choose from. We are indeed fortunate to still have Mom & Pop restaurants in Naples. There are far too many for me to name, but here are just a scant few of them. Pastrami Dan’s fabulous tacos and awesome fresh pastrami sandwiches, open for lunch only. If you’re a chili lover, try Skyline Chili. Regina’s Ice Cream on Fifth Avenue South has been a landmark in Naples for many years. Their flavors are abundant and delicious. Andre’s Steakhouse has been here for over 20 years. Andre worked for Peter Luger Steak House many years ago in Brooklyn, New York. It is still one of the best steakhouses in the world. One thing is certain, there is a place to dine in Naples, Florida for every budget and many family friendly ones.

I wonder what it will be like on the roads this summer as we drive from Naples in a few weeks for our summer vacation in Western New York, Buffalo Bill’s territory 35 miles south of Buffalo in a small town named Angola. It borders the shores of Lake Erie and my wife Chris has lots of family there including her sister and a ton of nieces and nephews of all different ages, so it’s never boring there. My healthy diet, at least part of it disappears. It’s cookouts galore, fresh corn for me almost every day, and on those long summer days finishing the day at our local frozen custard stand that has been there for at least 40 years. It opens in May and closes October 1st!

The other great enjoyment I have is walking in Evangola State Park everyday rain or shine, and going to my all-time favorite grocery store, Wegmans. This year driving to New York will be a different experience for us as we sadly lost our Bully Zsa-Zsa, and our Persian cat Maggie last December. We still have our Maine Coon cat Ava, she is now the Queen of the house and will be our lone traveler in the car with us. I wonder, will there be less traffic because of gas and food prices or will it be the same? I’ll let you know in the Fall when my next article comes out.

I have served on the Board of The Shelter for Abused Women & Children for the past two years and I am honored to say that I have been elected by my peers to serve as Board Chair starting July 1st. It is one of the finest organizations I have ever served for and they are truly Super Stars for our community. I only hope I can do them proud.

As usual I’m out of space, not words! Have a great safe Summer and Fall and we can only hope that next Season will be as good as this one was and that turmoil will have calmed down sooner than later.

Former Mayor,
Bill Barnett

I’ll respond to e-mail @  Remember: GO BILLS!


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