Naples POTPOURRI BY Bill Barnett

According to some of my long-term Naples restaurateur friends this past season has been the best one for them ever! That’s pretty incredible considering the pandemic, masks, social distancing, and everything else that gets thrown in that package. My age-old adage to visitors at the beginning of the Season to make sure you make a reservation if you have visitors and want to dine out proved so true this season. I didn’t heed my own advice a few times at the last minute and got shut out, “sorry
we are booked solid”.

Talking about Naples dining we were pleased to see Café Normandie reopen with new owners. It is a tiny little French restaurant with a nice menu, and we enjoyed the food and service. It is also open for lunch. Also, I can remember many years ago when I was Mayor a couple came into my office and they really looked despondent. His name was Patrick and I don’t remember hers but I asked how I could help them.

He was renovating a small space that would become a French restaurant next to Kmart in the Plaza and just north of Fresh Market on the North Trail. They had finished the majority of the work and had most of their permits but just needed a little extra staff help to get their final permit and really needed to open to catch the end of Season.

Well, a phone call worked, and they opened and named their restaurant L’escargot 41. My wife Chris and I tried it after it opened, and they had the best escargot we ever had, and they were served five different ways. Many years later they sold it and the new owners continued their menu and built a brand-new restaurant right next door. It is absolutely worth trying with a beautiful bar, lots of space, outside dining, an expanded menu, and yes, they still have their phenomenal escargot! Absolutely worth trying! It is now named Escargot 41, easier to find on Google! My prediction is that many folks that are here for Season will stay later especially if their home states aren’t fully open.

In my forty-eight years of living in the City of Naples I have never seen real estate sales as they are today. A home goes on the market and there are three bids on it within a day. Of course, we could sell our home and make a nice profit (we don’t want to) but the question remains for those who do where are you going? Unless you plan to move to a remote part of the state or out of the state, it’s an issue. People have asked me for years can’t we control growth and I remember asking my first City Manager that same question in 1984 as a rookie Council Member and his answer was an emphatic no, but he did say we can manage it.

Once again, my wife Chris and I and our two rescue cats and our rescue Bulldog will drive to Upstate New York in late July. For those of you that might be traveling with pets for the first time
I can assure you it’s a breeze. I remember years ago it wasn’t that easy because the hotel and motel people didn’t realize just how many of us traveled with pets. Once they realized it they have made it easy. When you have your destination set just Google Pet Friendly Lodging and where you want to end up your first day of travel and you will be amazed at what pops up.

Most places have pictures of their sites so you can see for yourself. Because it takes us three days to get to our final destination, we found two really great pet friendly motels, and their employees couldn’t be nicer. They know our pets names and we get treated like family.

For all of you that are heading to your Northern homes I wish you safe travels. Hopefully when you
return to our Naples Paradise the pandemic will be in its final stages of disappearing!
Stay well and travel safe!

Bill Barnett
Retired Mayor
I do respond to e-mails at:

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