Bob and I have always been fans of Cibao Grille on Neapolitan Way. Owners Pedro and Pamela Nolasco are delightful, and every time we dine at Cibao, we love the entire experience. The food is always wonderful; the black bean soup is the best I have ever tasted, and the signature dish, walleye pike, is beyond delicious.
The restaurant has been such a great success, the Nolascos decided they needed more space to accommodate more diners, as well as a full bar. After months of work on a huge remodeling project, the new Cibao Grille has reopened to rave reviews in a space a few doors down from the original. The new bar features a sexy flat-screen television (if a television can be sexy, this is the one) that catches your eye when you enter the restaurant. The dining area must be nearly three times the size of the old Cibao, and is beautiful, charming and spacious. And the best news is that the food at Cibao remains outstanding. Bob and I will be back again and again. Cibao Grille is open for lunch and dinner; the number for reservations is 239-434-6653.
Speaking of flat screen televisions and changes, one of my favorite places in town, Whole Foods, has done some changing as well. The Whole Food folks have created something I never knew would be a draw to a grocery store—a wine and beer bar, with flat screen televisions, right in the middle of the store. The bar is open from noon to 8 p.m. daily and offers 16 beers on tap, including local, imported and artisan craft beers. The Enomatic wine machines offer around 30 different wines. The main draw has been the offer of a hamburger, beer and fries for $7.99 and, according to Whole Foods employees I spoke to, the response to the new addition has been positive and popular. I always go to Whole Foods before noon … I might have to change my schedule.
Jerry Thirion and Kathy Becker at a farewell party for Kathy at Barbatella, Naples.
Finally, a huge change has come to Naples Illustrated. Editor Kathy Becker has left after 14 years to pursue a new opportunity much closer to her home. Kathy has been a mainstay in Naples for a long time and has been key to making NI the fabulous magazine it is today. All of us who know Kathy and have worked with her will miss her tremendously. We wish her much happiness and success in her new venture.