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As intriguing as its name suggests, Blue Agave Tequila Bar and Grill is set to open within the second week of December in Naples Towne Centre on U.S. 41 East in East Naples.
Built in 1985, the free-standing building at 3785 U.S. 41 E. is best known as the former home of Ponderosa steakhouse, until it closed in the early 2000s after operating there for more than 15 years. The new Tex-Mex and traditional Mexican restaurant will be family owned and operated by a local couple who has owned the 5,515-square-foot building for the last six years.
Judy Barney and Arturo Perez, celebrating their 15th year at Arturo's Italian Restaurant on Marco Island, bought the outparcel from Sol's Kosher-Style Deli & Restaurant shortly after the deli opened in early 2004, following Ponderosa's stint. Originally planning to open a new restaurant there then, the couple ended up leasing the location to the last two tenants: Rogero’s Italian Bistro and Vegas Lounge nightclub. After jettisoning their original plans for Club Cristal nightclub there, they chose to step in and open another restaurant themselves, Barney said.
"We are going to be offering quality first with the best prices around," she said.
Barney is excited about showing off their new digs in what she refers to as "the big city." After spending so much time on Marco Island, which she fondly refers to as "Fantasy Island," her new mainland venture is an exciting return to a big city way of doing things, or at least a different way of doing things.
"It definitely will be a fun place for all to come," she said, stressing the family-friendly atmosphere. "We have a little bit of everything happening here."
Born in Mexico, Arturo Perez knows a little bit about the cuisine and distilled spirits south of the border. In addition to authentic food, the lunch-and-dinner venue will specialize in tequila, hosting tastings and seminars centered around what Barney calls the "new cognac."
"It's the only tequila bar in Naples," she said.
Blue agave is the Mexican plant used as the base ingredient of tequila. The local restaurant is not affiliated with any of the at least a dozen establishments across the nation using variations of Blue Agave in their names.
In addition to daily happy hours, weekend entertainment also is in the works.
On a related note, the annual lighting of Arturo's 40-foot Christmas tree occurs Wednesday night on Marco. The 12-year holiday tradition illuminates the island through Jan. 15 at 844 Bald Eagle Drive.
Rodeo BBQ Place
Q: Could you please inform us about a barbecue restaurant (newly built, nicely done) that was open for a few days and has remained closed since. It is located on Davis Boulevard almost at the corner of 951. They took such pains to make a really nice looking place with a nice horse on the side. The sign for it seems regulation. What is the hold up? I feel sorry for the investors!
— Renate Kelly, Golden Gate Estates
A: I'm assuming you are referring to The Rodeo BBQ Place, 8885 Davis Blvd., which actually was open for business for at least seven months of this year. The restaurant, which combined western barbecue and Cuban cuisine, opened at the end of January in the former location of Burger King and Subway, and closed around Labor Day.
Everything in the place, including the outdoor seating and life-size white horse, is gone. An eviction notice dated for late October remains taped to the entrance.
I was not able to make contact with Rodeo's former owner, Luis Quintana, but I was able to talk to Art Lennox, the property owner. Lennox said he evicted his tenant after rent payments fell behind this summer. He said Quintana blamed the BP oil spill in the Gulf for a decrease in patrons.
Q: We just got back in town and are wondering what has happened to Parkshore Grille in Neapolitan Way shopping center. No one answers their phone, and when we drove by it looks as though the tables are set for dinner but no lights are on and there is no sign on the door regarding hours or out of business, etc. A favorite eatery and we hope it will open again soon.
— Pat DeFreest, Naples
A: It doesn't look good for the Naples restaurant. The Parkshore Grille, 814 Neapolitan Way, closed about two months ago, said Dougall McCorkle, senior vice president at The Lutgert Companies, which owns Neapolitan Way shopping center.
"Apparently, they are no longer in business and will not be reopening," McCorkle said.
■ Moravela's Pizza plans to open a second area location soon in Marquesa Plaza, 13040 Livingston Road at Pine Ridge Road. The New York-style pizzeria's original East Naples location, celebrating its 10th anniversary, will remain open at 1836 Airport-Pulling Road S. For those keeping score, this second location actually would be Moravela's third local location, but they closed their restaurant in Naples Towne Centre. Expect the new location, which will serve beer and wine, to open within the next week, said manager Denny Moravela.
■ 29th annual Taste of the Islands will feature dishes from 22 of Sanibel and Captiva’s finest restaurants from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Sanibel Community Park, 2231 Periwinkle Way. The island tradition benefits the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, which promotes a mission of saving wildlife through compassion, care and education.
■ 2010 Farm City BBQ, presented by The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, will be held Wednesday, Nov. 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at Nobles Collier Packing Plant, 212 Jerome Drive, Immokalee. Tickets are now available at www.NaplesChamber.org. Proceeds help local youth development programs through the Collier County 4H Foundation, Leadership Collier Foundation Inc., and the Collier County Junior Deputy League.
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