Med Restaurant replaces Sicilia on Bayshore Drive

Med Restaurant comes to the former Sicilia precinct on Bayshore Drive. Tim Atten/Florida Weekly

s: I hope it is not true! I just heard Cecilia is closed, out of business. It is one of our favorite restaurants and we love the family that owns it.

– Eileen McMillan Bruce, Naples

a: I hate to break your heart, but Sicilia Bar, Pizza & Pub recently quietly closed just as it opened on Bayshore Drive in east Naples. The Italian restaurant and bar, launched in March 2019 by the Miceli family, has been in operation for more than three years on a site that was once a chain of bars: The Anchor Bar & Grill, Ozzy’s Place, Bayshore Breeze Inn, and The Ship’s Inn Pub. The owners of Sicily could not be reached for comment.

This local business on the northeast corner of Bayshore and Lunar Street has new owners and is receiving another upgrade and side renovation to convert a more than 50-year-old commercial building on a third of an acre into The Med Restaurant of Bayshore. The project is a small part of what has been shaping up to be a larger shift in the development of Bayshore Drive and the site that previously held the Kelly Road title for many years.

A canopy display similar to the concept proposed for the outdoor bar at The Med restaurant on Bayshore Drive in east Naples.  Courtesy of the sea

A canopy display similar to the concept proposed for the outdoor bar at The Med restaurant on Bayshore Drive in east Naples. Courtesy of the sea

Marie Brandt, owner of the Escalante Hotel and fine-dining restaurant Veranda E on Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South in downtown Naples, is the new owner of Bayshore, too. Ms. Brandt said she was excited about her additional project.

“I am happy to confirm that our new restaurant is moving to Old Cecilia on Bayshore Drive as The Med,” she said by email. “We are excited to launch this new concept in the Bayshore Arts District with a target opening date of late summer.”

Ms. Brandt was recently in Europe for a few weeks to do “research and reconnaissance” for her new Mediterranean-inspired venue, she said. It plans to increase the restaurant’s outdoor seating capacity to reach the minimum seating of 150 in Florida needed to qualify for a full liquor license in a foodservice establishment.

Vampire Penguin Shaved Snow & Desserts recently closed its Shoppes location in Vanderbilt, north of Naples.  Tim Atten/Florida Weekly

Vampire Penguin Shaved Snow & Desserts recently closed its Shoppes location in Vanderbilt, north of Naples. Tim Atten/Florida Weekly

In a request for a zoning verification letter submitted in late April to the county zoning services division of the Department of Growth Management, Brandt asked if 150 seats — adding 58 outside to the 92 existing indoor seats in the restaurant — would be allowed on the property. Bayshore, has 23 parking spaces. Twenty-three parking spaces — one space for every four — are required to accommodate 92 indoor seats, but no parking space is required for outdoor café seating in the Bayshore Zoning Overlay District, according to a letter to Brandt from one of the county’s top planners.

Initial plans for the property at 3929 Bayshore that were submitted in late May as the county grows show the external changes being considered for The Med. Site improvement plans show that the fenced restaurant courtyard, which partially contained green space during Sicilia’s operation, will be reformed by adding an outdoor bar and more outdoor seating.

View of The Harmony, an 82-unit apartment complex.  It is a housing development for the workforce being built on Santa Barbara Street in the east of Naples.  Courtesy of Collier County

View of The Harmony, an 82-unit apartment complex. It is a housing development for the workforce being built on Santa Barbara Street in the east of Naples. Courtesy of Collier County

On the eastern edge of the courtyard, a semi-circular 14-seat outdoor bar is planned along a new ornate privacy fence. Bar plans include a canopy created by a stylized driftwood tree with metal branches supporting decorative pendant lighting.

The plans show the bar booked by an old Citroën H Van French food truck and a 6-inch-high platform platform beneath an outdoor LED TV screen. Seating is planned on the stone lounge in front of the bar, while 16″ x 16″ flooring with artificial turf in between will divide a variety of table seating options, some divided within a pergola for dining, plans show. A muddy bocce court was planned between the fence and the road.

The proposed list and additional details about The Med are not yet available.

Penguin dribbling

s: Why did the Vampire Penguin go out of business in the north of Naples? My grandchildren love it.

Doris Bell, Naples

a: Local franchisor of Vampire Penguin Shaved Snow & Desserts consolidated its regional locations on May 13, combining its stores in Vanderbilt’s northern Naples spot with its store in Coconut Point Center in Estero.

“We hope you will come and check us out there. We would like to thank all of our customers who came and supported us at the Vanderbilt Beach Road site,” announced a post in May on the local Vampire Penguin Facebook page.

Stephen Herrington and his family, who ran both sites in Collier and Lee counties, could not be reached for comment on why the site north of Naples was closed. The independently owned candy store has been operating since Halloween 2019 in the former space of the Philly Pretzel Factory.

The Vampire Penguin series specializes in flavored shaved ice, a hybrid of ice cream and ice cream. Sweet, savory and creamy concoctions with a variety of flavors and toppings are available on weekends in store at Coconut Point, 8076 Mediterranean Drive, Suite 113. Noon to 10pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

create harmony

s: I would like to know what is being built in front of the school in Santa Barbara?

– Sherry Contessa, east of Naples

a: The Harmony, an 82-unit condominium, is a workforce housing development being built on approximately 3.75 acres in front of Calusa Park Elementary School and adjacent to Great Naples Fire Rescue Station 75. The county-owned property is located on the east side of Santa Barbara Boulevard north of Davis Boulevard in the east of Naples.

The $12.5 million project, made possible through a public-private partnership and a 99-year lease of the land, is being developed by Miami-based McDowell Housing Partners while Collier County will retain ownership of the plot. The Harmony will offer a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments in two three-story buildings of 48,000 square feet with a clubhouse and outdoor living space with amenities such as a fitness center, media center, playground, pool and barbecue area.

The new project targets residents who earn between 30% and 80% of the median income in the Collier County area. The developer agrees to target and market at least 10% of units to seniors, veterans, or people with special needs.

– “Tim Aten Knows” is published every week in Naples Florida Weekly. Email questions to [email protected] Follow @TimAten- Knows on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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