When F. Scott Fitzgerald said there were no second acts in American lives, he hadn’t met Naples restaurateur Skip Quillen.
With the twentieth anniversary approaching for the Bonita Springs branch of his Chops City Grill steak house, Quillen closed the doors in May for a massive renovation and reopened last month. Despite the challenges of staff shortages and the pandemic, he doubled down with a million-dollar refurbishment. “It was time for a redo,” says Quillen. “We gutted the space down to the studs and renovated the entire steak house from soup to nuts, with spectacular results.”
While the kitchen and bar remain in the same locations, the booths, flooring, ceiling, tables, chairs, and artwork have all been replaced. Under the direction of chefs Francis Pischner and Rafael (Raf) Elisea, the menu has been revamped as well. There are 25 domestic cuts of prime beef from sources such as Idaho’s Snake River Farms, plus imported Wagyu from Australia and Japan. Unusual seafood dishes such as Thai snapper, Nordic rosefish, and scorpion fish complement the 30-plus rotating vegetable side dishes. The steak house’s bar offers more than 100 whiskey selections as well as a 300-bottle wine list, craft cocktails, and nonalcoholic selections.
The Bonita Springs outpost of Chops is part of Quillen’s Culinary Concepts group, which includes the original Chops City Grill, Pazzo! Cucina Italiana, and Yabba Island Grill in Naples plus The Saloon in Estero. Quillen says, “Our renovation is in line with our company-wide commitment to providing exceptional guest service and memorable dining experiences.” It also perfectly summarizes his philosophy of “raising the steaks.”