One of the latest entries into the local restaurant scene, Patio Café, which opened Nov. 1 in North Naples, is already buzzing with satisfied customers.
A merger of the efficiency, extensive menu selections and reasonable pricing of a diner, Patio Café is a newly renovated eatery. Its warm, contemporary ambience indoors is as fresh and airy as the patio dining area.
Already regulars, Don and Mary Ponne are known to dine at Patio Café twice a day.
"We love it here. Everything is well prepared. The chicken soup, meatloaf and rice pudding are wonderful. They do a terrific job," Don Ponne said.
After securing the location, abandoned last May by L'Etolie French restaurant after a short occupancy last season, food industry veterans and co-owners Ilias Tsangouris and Taulant Lako decided to dismantle a few feet of the stucco wall that defines the front of the restaurant.
The wall is now topped with stucco roof tiles. A partial view of umbrella-topped tables on the 40-seat patio can now be seen from U.S. 41 North, beckoning the hungry, whether it is for breakfast, lunch or dinner in a casual, family friendly setting.
"We are excited, and with our beautiful new building and prepared fresh, home-style American and Mediterranean food, there is something to please a variety of palettes," Lako said.
Enter the double doors into a foyer with cushioned seating, take a left into a wood-framed door and cozy up to a full-service bar with spirits housed in a smart wooden display unit or claim one of several high-top tables that sit on brown, tiled floors.
If you go
Where: 10771 U.S. 41 N., North Naples (parking lot behind café)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays
Prices: Breakfast, $5.49-$10.49; lunch, $5.99-$8.49; dinner appetizers $2.99-$7.99; dinner entrees $9.99-$15.99
Information: 239-260-1075 or facebook.com/patiocafe.naples
Pricing for popular libations run from $4 for a Margarita, a whisky sour or Smirnoff gimlet to $5 for a lemon drop or Beefeater martini. Enjoy happy hour specials from 3 to 5 p.m. with $3 cocktails and $2.99 house wines by the glass.
Adding appetizers at $4.99 each for coconut shrimp, chicken or shrimp tacos; a quesadilla, fried calamari or fried mozzarella sticks keeps money in your wallet.
It opens at 7 a.m. for those wanting to sit on the patio under the warm morning sun, and a veritable cornucopia of menu items await. Three-egg omelets such as Mediterranean or Denver or one made with spinach and feta are served with a choice of house potatoes or grits and toast ($6.99-$8.25).
Pancakes such as blueberry, buttermilk and chocolate or French toast with mixed berries and banana ($4.79-$7.29) share menu space with fruited Belgian waffles ($4.99-$6.99) and eggs Benedict or skillets ($7.29-$10.49), such as veggie and pot roast. And that's just the beginning.
Stop in for a quick lunch and stay light with a Cobb, Waldorf, Caesar or a Greek salad ($5.99-$8.49) or dig into one of the juicy, half-pound Angus beef burgers served with choice of housemade cole slaw or potato salad. Add French or sweet potato fries for $1.
Deli sandwiches and Reubens ($5.69-$8.49) with slaw or fries or onion rings vie for a pick alongside standard sandwich choices such as Philly cheesesteak, the Patio fish sandwich or chicken wraps ($6.49-$8.49).
Gyros or chicken souvlaki appease those looking for Mediterranean fare, and hot platters of pot roast, roast beef or roast turkey ($7.49) satisfy those looking for American-style comfort food. Add sides such as cups or bowls of house-made soups, mashed potatoes, veggies and more for a small add-on price of $1.69-$2.99.
Enjoy a leisurely dinner with daily specials ($9.99-$15.99) such as chicken Parmesan, marsala and pot pie or grilled tilapia, baby back ribs and flat-iron steak, all served with choice of potato and veggies, soup or salad. Add a glass of house wine ($3.99) or beer ($2.99-$3.49).
The regular dinner menu includes starters, pasta bowls ($8.99-$10.99), seafood ($11.99-$12.99) and grilled selections, all under $15.99, served with soup or salad.
Originally from Albania, Lako has lived in Southwest Florida for 10 years. In 2003, he started as a bus boy for a Naples' Mel's Diner and worked his way up to manager. He also had a hand in the opening of Blueberrys Café in Naples, which is managed by Tsangouris.
Tsangouris, born in Greece, relocated to the area from Chicago 10 years ago. His restaurant background includes part ownership of Mel's Diner in Golden Gate.