HB’s on the Gulf, the well-established, ever-popular Naples beachfront restaurant, is turning out to have nine lives.
The landmark restaurant was part of the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, which was owned by the Watkins family since 1946. The 125-acre resort included hotel rooms, spa, tennis courts, golf course and a beachfront pool complex, in addition to the dining terrace with its signature blue umbrellas overlooking the sand. The restaurant served breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and was the recipient of the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for many years.
Several years ago, the Watkins family made the difficult decision to sell the property to the Athens Group, and a new resort built by the Four Seasons will eventually operate on the site. Many regulars wanted Both HB’s and the Sunset Beach Bar to continue, and the Design Review Board reviewed and approved a plan to rebuild both the restaurant and the bar. Earlier this year, however, three residents appealed the Board’s approval of the project, and the fate of HB’s was once again in doubt.
The verdict is now in. On May 25, the Naples City Council voted 7-0 to uphold the Board’s decision and authorize the rebuilding and expansion of the restaurant. At some point in the future, both locals and tourists will again be able to enjoy the essence of the Florida experience: dining on cioppino with a salt breeze and a view of the Gulf.