John Colón had planned to spend his birthday on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico. Instead on July 1, he opened his latest restaurant. “It’s a birthday gift to me,” he notes of his new venture, Espíritu Nuevo Peruvian, a retooling of La Cuisine, the Peruvian eatery named Machu Picchu Restaurant before that. All told, this storefront at Naples Town Centre South has been a Peruvian restaurant for about 20 years.
“It’s a great little spot; I love it,” says Colón, who previously created Bodega Olé in Naples and El Basque Vin & Pintxo Bar in Bonita Springs.
His plan is to create a restaurant with a hip, modern feel. To that end, he is gradually melding his style with that of the existing kitchen team members, all of whom remained from La Cuisine. He’s also injecting Asian and African influences, too. One of his trademark dishes, suckling pig, is served tableside and features a soy-ginger glaze and traditional Asian-style fried rice. Other offerings on the menu include lomo saltado, a traditional Peruvian stir-fry, and arroz con mariscos, a rice and seafood dish.
“I’m putting my spin on it a little at a time,” adds Colón.