Pavilion Shops in North Naples is fast becoming a Naples culinary attraction, with KC American Bistro’s expansion, Fit n’ Fuel Cafe, Trattoria Abruzzo, Margarita’s and now the new Skillets.
Ross Edlund and his wife, Noreen, have several Skillets restaurants in Naples and have just opened their newest, a fourth location in Pavilion Shops. They also have a Skillets in trendy Charlotte, N.C.
The Edlunds opened the location in what used to be Bha! Bha! Persian Bistro. The new Skillets bears the restaurant’s trademark pine, accented décor, but the open setting, festive yellow exterior and red doors make this location big and bright. It just looks like a happy place to eat, and it is. While the location is new, Skillets has been welcoming Neapolitans to breakfast and lunch for 18 years.
The Edlunds are interesting people — in his previous life, Ross was the founder and owner of the successful bakery chain in Chicago “Let Them Eat Cake” (which could be why the sourdough waffle at Skillets is so divine.) Noreen, who originally hails from Ireland, was an operating theater nurse in London and was later a first-class air hostess with the Royal Jordanian Airline. Their combined experience has helped them generate a following.
The newest Skillets has all of the old favorites — speaking of those otherworldly sourdough waffles. Ross Edlund says the Skillets egg white omelets “floats off the plate” and it is probably the fluffiest egg white omelet in Naples ($9.50). Naturally, given his background, all of the bread is homemade and baked daily in the restaurant’s hearth ovens.
If you go
Where: 847 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Pavilion shopping center, North Naples, 239-330-2515; 5461 Airport-Pulling Road N., Bed, Bath and Beyond Plaza, North Naples, 239-566-1999; 4170 U.S. 41 N., Naples, 239-262-3788; 9174 Bonita Beach Road SE, Bonita Springs, 239-992-9333
Hours: 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily
Prices: $6-$11.50 breakfast; $6.95-$11.50 lunch; $4.50-$5 kids menu
Diners also will find crepes ($7-10), Chicago style blintzes ($8.50), slow-cooked oatmeal and other traditional breakfast items on the menu. Skillets also serves several egg Benedicts from vegetarian to smoked salmon ($9.50-11.50), Brussels waffles and pancakes in a choice of Belgian recipe or stone-ground wheat. Skillets also is known for its potato pancakes, made fresh and served with hot apples and sour cream ($7.50 for four).
And some of the most popular items at Skillets are, of course, skillets. Skillets are made with potatoes or grits, whichever flavor combination you choose and topped with two eggs. And nothing beats the Denver skillet ($9.50) with ham, cheese, peppers, onions and tomatoes. The Philly cheesesteak skillet ($9.50) is the heartiest of the bunch with sirloin, grilled onions, peppers and provolone cheese. The corned beef hash skillet is $10.50, and the plain potato egger with just eggs and bacon atop the starch is $8.50.
The Edlunds also serve fresh roasted and brewed Guatemalan coffee which comes directly from the plantation and still serve their orange juice in frosty beer mugs.
A number of open faced omelets — otherwise known as frittatas — dot the menu as well, with the best-selling one according to the Edlunds being the avocado, bacon and pepper Jack frittata ($10) served with homemade fresh tomato salsa. The potatoes that go in these dishes are made with oven roasted potato shreds and then baked with cream, cream cheese and scallions.
All of the skillets are made from scratch, as are the homemade batters, stocks, sauces and soups. The latter items are part of the restaurant’s lunch menu. Skillets does a superb lunch with some competitive items giving Naples luncheonettes a run for their money. Lunch skillets include chicken vegetable, ham and bacon and vegetarian ($8-$9.50) and are large enough to easily share.
The strawberry vinaigrette and Caesar salad dressing are made in-house for several salads which include a Cobb salad, BLT salad and seasonal spinach berry salad in whole and half orders from $6.95-$10.50, among others. Rosemary herb griddled panini sandwiches include in Cordon bleu, vegetarian and a Cuban panini ($8-$9.50).
Two other oft-ordered items on the lunch menu are the Reuben sandwich on rye bread ($9.50) and triple decker BLT ($8.50). Another savory item is the old-fashioned tuna melt ($10, $7.50 for a half-order) with tomato and Swiss cheese on an English muffin. Scrumptious stuff.
You can order a half-sandwich and soup of the day, and Skillets also has a French onion soup ($6) made from a homemade stock. Skillets closes at 2:30 every day.