Todd Brooks has worked nearly every angle of the restaurant industry, starting out as a dishwasher and eventually settling in as the vice president of a chain in Kansas City. But after several vacations to Naples with his wife, Sandra, who also has a background in food service, something about the city stayed with them. The couple decided that was where they needed to be—so they sold all of their belongings, moved to Florida, learned to speak Alligator, and began setting up shop in the space previously occupied by the Naples staple Lindburgers, which they bought and made their own. Todd was also a finalist for "Best Burger" in the "Best of the Gulfshore 2011".
It didn’t take long for Todd, who had grown accustomed to working with food from inside his own office, to reacquaint himself with manning a grill. Incorporating some favorites from the Lindburgers’ menu, Todd and Sandra put together a list of more than 20 gourmet burgers and sandwiches. Each burger patty is hand-formed from all-natural black Angus beef, and topped with fresh veggies from the nearby Cooper Farms. Todd’s namesake burger, Todd’s Way, is a client favorite, boasting a fried egg, bacon, and cheese, and other adventurous options include the Cajun, a blackened patty with onion, jalapeños, and pepper jack cheese.
Before moving to Naples in 1994, Lisa and Philippe Boët spent nine years in Paris, retreating to the French countryside on weekends for traditional, home-cooked meals with ingredients from the gardens and farms of family and friends. The duo re-creates that authentic experience at Chez Boet French Home Cooking, where a culinary staff headed by Lisa whips up French classics such as french onion soup, bouillabaisse, steak frites, and fondue made with imported French and Swiss cheeses. The Boëts' commitment to using locally sourced seafood and locally grown, organic, and seasonal ingredients has since earned Chez Boet the distinction of being the Naples' first certified green business.
Meals commence in the restaurant's 2,000-square-foot facility, which houses a main dining room, bar salon, and a covered outdoor terrace. Tones of raspberry, eggplant, and pomegranate grace the walls alongside wallpaper that depicts classic Piero Fornasetti portraits, which guests can admire and mimes can challenge to lifelong no-speaking contests. Along with live tunes by pianist Bob Terri on Thursdays, Chez Boet hosts special events and themed luncheons throughout the year, which have included jazz brunches, author-attended book launches, and a Moroccan-themed dinner with live belly dancers.
At Jaegerhaus, just about everything is imported from Germany: the age-old family recipes, the curtains, and perhaps most importantly, the man who cooks the food. Chef Sebastian Heyer and his family moved to the United States in 2009 to fulfill their dream of opening a German restaurant.
The Heyers soon transformed a local Naples establishment into an old-time Southern German café, and established a business that has earned multiple Naples Daily News Readers' Choice awards in the categories of "Best German Food" and "Dishes Most Fun to Pronounce Incorrectly." Inside, dirndl-clad servers deliver authentic German eats, such as wiener schnitzel, or schweinehaxe—a skinless roasted-pork shank. Visitors can get cozy amid the intimate dining room's curio decor, or slide up next to the trellis-lined, exposed-brick bar while sipping on domestic and imported beers.
Inside Del-Mel Restaurant's tropically themed walls, owner and chef Pauline ladles hearty rations of authentic Jamaican fare onto dinner plates. Oxtail meat tenderly greets taste buds, and jerk chicken ignites drool receptors with varying states of spiciness, prepared according to the diner's preference and the availability of fireproof mouth guards. Pauline also fixes up specialty seafood dishes such as coconut shrimp and steamed grouper, and any of the eatery's zesty morsels can pair with sweet sips of housemade sangria.
At the back of the restaurant, an ocean mural abuts warm yellow walls depicting fish, a scuba diver, and a drawn-to-scale pistol duel between a whale and giant squid. Overhanging palm fronds shade countertops, and on Friday and Saturday evenings, house reggae music pulses as guests peruse stockpiles of Bob Marley apparel.
Situated along shorelines in Tampa, Naples, and Key West, Florida Marina Club keeps watercraft ready to crest the waves with docking services, fuel docks, and ship repairs. The marinas’ terra firma amenities match the refinement of their seaside offerings. Restaurants and bars home in on local flavors and international atmospheres, from the Cuban and Caribbean recipes at The Club at Key West Harbour to the weekend pool parties at Tampa’s Hula Bay Club. When not dining or enjoying drinks at Jack's River Bar or Gordon's On The River, members can sweat away cares in saunas, glide through heated infinity pools, or sketch the design for a hypothetical seventh chess piece in restive clubhouses.
With kitchen credentials that include Boston’s Four Seasons Hotel and Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia, executive chef Brian Martin presides over Evoo Bistro’s culinary marriage of rustic Italian and modern American fare. Brian and his team craft seasonal lunch, dinner, and catering menus that highlight pastas, simply prepared meats and seafood, and sandwiches built on homemade breads. The refined, yet hearty entrees pair with wines by the glass or cups of the bistro's signature coffee, which is blended with sweet liquors. These flavorful creations arrive at white-clothed tables arranged amidst dim track lighting, pendant lamps, and domesticated glowworms that hover from the lofted ceilings.