Two supper clubs are blossoming along Davis Boulevard, and they are decidedly not the sprawling meat-and-potato establishments of yesteryear. Instead, inventive Naples chefs have redefined the term to fashion intimate spaces ideal for wine dinners, special occasions, and unique events.
The 30-seat Old Vines Supper Club offers prix-fixe wine and dining pairings in an intimate, casual setting. It’s run by co-owner Brooke Kravetz, former executive chef/general manager of The Cave Bistro & Wine Bar, chef de cuisine at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, and sous-chef at Sea Salt.
A native of Kennebunkport, Maine, she helped open Old Vines Bar there and was thus connected when the current owners, Rick Taranto and Jon Ellms, decided to open this club and a second, larger location at Mercato, scheduled to open in late summer.
While the larger, initial concept is being worked on in the space that once held TooJay’s Deli at Mercato, Kravetz says she opened the smaller club on Davis Boulevard on Valentine’s Day. On Tuesdays, she serves family-style, four-course meals. Wednesdays are typically reserved for wine dinners, and Thursday through Saturday, there are tasting menus with optional wines by the bottle or glass, beers, and wine-based cocktails.
Despite having no hard liquor, “they are fruity, vibrant cocktails, infused with fruit and herbs,” Kravetz notes, adding that people are pleasantly surprised by how tasty they are. She describes her style of food as new American, employing French techniques, “a lot of European influence, and as many seasonal and local ingredients as possible.”
Each dinner includes a cheese course that can be paired with wine. Menus are posted on the website. The supper club is usually open to the public but may be closed on some evenings for private events. While the menus are relatively limited at the club, the Mercato location will have a more wide-ranging selection.
Down the road is Sage Supper Club, slated to open by June. Chef Amber Phillips has been serving the region for 17 years with Sage Events, offering catering, home-delivery service, allergy-free meals, wedding planning, and even officiating. Now add Sage Supper Club to that already impressive list. Phillips has spent months remodeling the location, which has been a challenge given the difficulty of hiring contractors in post-Ian Naples.
“The idea is to create a culinary heartbeat in the space,” she says. “I want different chefs to come in and do pop-up dinners—people like Tony Ridgway and Fred Gardner. We can learn from each other. Then have local farmers and fishermen coming into the kitchen and dining room, talking about what they do and what they harvest.”
“It will be casual, not low end, but not pretentious. I’d like to help people learn about local foods and how to work with them.”
While local beers and wines are available, she also incorporates shrub drinks and mocktails.
“I’m hoping you can have really fun drinks and not have alcohol with every course and still feel like you’re having a treat,” Phillips says.
Because it isn’t a full-time restaurant, the 32-seat space is available for bridal and baby showers, pharmaceutical lunches, cooking classes, and other events.