Q: Do you know what happened to La Fogata Restaurant, which was located on Bonita Beach Road in the Kmart Plaza? Just noticed they were closed this past week. Was our favorite Mexican restaurant.
— Ann, Naples
A: La Fogata Mexican Restaurant in Bonita Springs closed earlier this month, with plans to relocate 13 miles north to San Carlos Park.
No signs of the popular Mexican restaurant exist at its former location in Center of Bonita Springs except the storefront sign. Unfortunately, a sign is not posted informing patrons of the new location.
The new La Fogata opened Friday in Forest Plaza, 16440 U.S. 41 S., unit 7, in the former home of Armando’s NY Pizza & Pasta and Mamma Mia’s Pizza Buffet.
La Fogata’s original location was opened in Bonita by Raul Damian in March 2005. The restaurant’s authentic southern Mexican dishes include enchiladas Sudadas and chiles rellenos. Damian said the menu has not changed at his new location.
La Fogata is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 239- 437-5701.
TERI’S SUMMER BREEZE CAFÉ
La Fogota is not the only restaurant in Center of Bonita Springs to close this month.
Teri’s Summer Breeze Café closed Monday afternoon after the breakfast-lunch venue operated for nearly nine years in the shopping center on the northwest corner of Bonita Beach Road and U.S. 41. Patrons packed the cafe Monday to get a lasting taste of its fresh-baked biscuits, banana pancakes or beef stroganoff.
Owner Jessica Layton hopes to open this fall in another Bonita location on Bonita Beach Road, but arrangements have not been finalized to make a public announcement yet. Closing the café is especially bittersweet for Layton because it is the last restaurant her mother, Teri, opened before she died a few years ago.
“It’s sad closing because my mom has her little touches all over the restaurant,” Layton said. “It’s hard because I look around and see my mom all over.”
When available, expect information about the cafe’s new location to be published in this column.
Teri’s Cafe and La Fogata were both tucked away near each other in an arm of the W-shaped plaza that has yet to see its dated facade renovated. The center began a two-phase facelift in 2008, but then it went into receivership for nearly a year. After a previous owner went into foreclosure, the partially dilapidated, partially remodeled Bonita shopping center was purchased two years ago by a foreign corporation.
Some storefronts in the plaza have been remade with multicolored stucco and tin awnings. The area where the restaurants recently closed still has the old peach-painted brick with green awnings.
OLD DIXIE MOON
Q: What’s happening at the old Dixie Moon location on Old 41 in Bonita Springs? It’s been painted a cool dark red with dark green awnings and white window trim. Way cool! Hope something great is moving in!
— Adam Janowski, Bonita Springs
A: The Hot Caboose Island Grille, a new Caribbean-themed restaurant, is opening soon at the original Dixie Moon Cafe location, 27755 Old 41 Road, on the corner of Dean Street.
Built in the 1920s, the mission-style landmark first housed the Goodbread Grocery store and filling station. Several other businesses — including the Whistle Stop Italian Restaurant — have been located in the building, which was given an historical designation by the city.
The Dixie Moon operated for more than a decade at the historic location before moving out about 3½ years ago. Once relocating to 26930 Old 41 Road, just north of East Terry Street in Bonita, the cafe was never quite the same. After going through a couple of owners and Dixie Moon variations, it briefly became Olde Country Kitchen family restaurant. Earlier this year, it became the home of Service by Jordan catering.
MORE LOCAL RESTAURANT NEWS
■ Milano’s Pizzeria & Eatery opened Friday morning in the heart of La Piazza in Ave Maria. The family-run local business is managed by Nide Delva, who has more than 20 years of experience owning a pizzeria in Lawrenceville, Ga. In addition to pizza, Milano’s menu includes salads, soups, sandwiches, pasta dishes and seafood. Milano’s, 5080 Annunciation Circle, suite 107, is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. 239- 867- 4296
■ Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt plans to open Tuesday in Bonita Springs with a grand opening set for April 12, said Krystle Hively, owner/ manager of the Bonita store.
“We were hoping it would open during season. We are excited about being open soon, though,” said Hively, who moved here from Ohio more than a year ago to open Florida’s first location for the Youngstown, Ohio-based Handel’s.
“This was my sole purpose to move down here,” Hively said. “I can’t complain about the weather, of course.”
Perhaps the perfect weather for ice cream and yogurt? A large section on one side of the new store will sell Handel’s popular ice cream, while yogurt is served in a smaller section on the opposite side; in between will be indoor seating and displays of chocolates and other candy from Gorant Candies, another sweet company based in Youngstown.
Handel’s, 3440 Renaissance Blvd., is located on the west side of U.S. 41 near the Bonita-Estero border. 239-947-3499.
■ Moe’s Southwest Grill is planning to open its new North Naples location today in Granada Shoppes on the corner of Immokalee Road and U.S. 41 North. The final pieces were to be put in place after the close of business Tuesday night, and the new location is scheduled to open today a few doors down, owner Mike Silverman said.
“We are not missing a single shift,” said Silverman, who initially thought he would have to close for a week or more. “We will not be shut down at all.”
The new location, the former home of Pier 1 Kids, is slightly larger than Moe’s original space. The relocated restaurant sports a fresh look with new furniture, tiles and a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, allowing hundreds of beverage combinations. New exterior signs may not be up for a few weeks, Silverman said.
Moe’s moved to allow Advance Auto Parts to open its eighth area store soon in the endcap spot nearest Immokalee Road — using the previous locations of both Moe’s and Patagonia at Earth Outfitters.
Moe’s Southwest Grill will still be 1016 Immokalee Road; phone 239-593-4998.
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"In the Know" is published Mondays and Wednesdays in the Naples Daily News. Find a complete archive of "In the Know" columns at naplesnews.com/intheknow.