A Sizzling Season

Here we are in mid-January already, and everything and everyone in paradise has hit the ground running—including Bob and me. I can assure you that keeping on top of everything that is going on around town is getting to be a full-time job—and a very exciting one at that.

Naples Social Season is Heating Up

   It seems like every night there is a dinner party, an opening of a new business or restaurant, or a semi-quiet dinner with old friends. And, of course, there’s also going to the theater for excellent plays or exquisite musical recitals. There is much going on, so let’s get to it.

   In theater news, I am thrilled to tell you that Gulfshore Playhouse will debut its first world premiere on Friday, January 17. The show will run through February 8 at the Norris Center at the corner of Eighth Street South and Eighth Avenue South in Old Naples. The title of the play is The God Game, and it was written by an up-and-coming playwright, Suzanne Bradbeer. The themes cover the provacative topics of religion and politics.

   Gulfshore Playhouse’s Producing Artistic Director Kristen Coury (left) did all the casting for the play, and will direct it first here in Naples, and then later at the Capital Repertory Theatre in New York. This is an exciting time for all of us associated with Gulfshore Playhouse.

   On a larger scale, I must mention a good friend of ours and part-time Naples resident Patty Baker. She and her husband, Jay, were in New York last weekend for a new show. Patty is the executive producer of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which opened on Broadway Sunday night and tells the story of the famed composer and singer. As you may know, Patty has two Tony awards on her mantel already—as executive producer for Memphis and last year’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Patty is also executive producer for the production of  The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess, which will run at Artis—Naples January 21 through January 26.

   Next up: restaurant news. There is a lot to tell. I’ll start on Fifth Avenue South where HobNob, a fabulous new place has opened. It is like a little slice of Manhattan right in the middle of Naples. The owners are Michael Hernandez of Handsome Harry’s fame and our friend Mitch Fogelman, owner and president of Design Electric. The partners have put together a real gem. Both the food and the service have been excellent. You WILL need reservations. (239-580-0070).

Avenue5 a stylish restaurant coming to Fifth Avenue South, Naples

Anticipating Avenue5, a stylish new restaurant on Fifth (Photo: avenue5naples.com)

   Just across the street, where McCabe’s Irish Pub was, Avenue5 is scheduled to open at the end of the month. Phil McCabe’s new place will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner in a very stylish atmosphere. McCabe has managed to lure Chef John Welch from Eleven North restaurant in Martha’s Vineyard to be executive chef at Avenue5. Welch has also worked at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples and, from what I have heard, he is one of the best chefs around.

   And, also on Fifth Avenue, just between Café Lurcat and Osteria Tulia, a new French restaurant will move in. Named La Bazenne, the restaurant’s owners, Amy Giacometti and her husband, Romuald, recently moved to Naples from France. Amy will be bringing her family’s 40-year restaurant history into this brand new venue. Fifth Avenue South has certainly stepped up as “restaurant row” and seems to have something for everyone.

   So much more news is brewing, and I look forward to sharing it with you next time!

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