Naples locals please help.....

Old Mar 30th, 2004, 04:17 PM
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Naples locals please help.....

We are looking for a place to have our rehearsal dinner in September and have narrowed it down to two choices. Since we aren't local I'd like get your feedback on the following restaurants: Ridgway Bar & Grill and Bistro 821.
We've been to 821 (ate outside) and it seemed very nice. I like the fact that their private dining room is upstairs & has a great view of 5th Ave. We haven't been to Ridgway. I'm told their private dining is in the wine room. I like the trendiness of 821 but the menu at Ridgway seems to have more options. I would appreciate any input you can offer. Thanks!
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 04:39 PM
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Where??
 
Old Mar 30th, 2004, 04:40 PM
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Sorry, I just saw Naples in the heading.
 
Old Mar 30th, 2004, 04:47 PM
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Please don't quote me since Tony Ridgeway is a fairly close friend/acquaintance of mine, but I'd choose Bistro 821. I was a guest at a private dinner there once and they did a fantastic job -- a nice balance of professionalism and casualness. It is a neat setting overlooking the action of Fifth Avenue, although you are sort of on display as passersby look up at the group in the "glass" room. At Ridgway's it always seems they're trying too hard, but usually not succeeding. It just ends up seeming stuffy or pretentious.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2004, 03:07 AM
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I've only been to the Ridgway once and really remember nothing to comment on. The space seems to be one that restaurants struggle in: several groups have tried with a few names and styles but the action on Third St. South keeps people from venturing over to that location. I have a friend that dislikes it but can't remember why. Guess that kind of says it all.

I'm sorry I'm no help, I haven't been to 821 .

September is a very quiet time in Naples, slowest of the year so you could have your pick of places. I'm thinking you might be able to get the Atrium area of Campiello but don't know if that cuisine is what you are looking for. ( I'd call it bistro Italian) I think the visual impact of a place is important for special occasions like a rehearsal dinner. People remember the view, etc. often more than what was eaten.

I love Naples but its more Patrick's patch than mine. I live in Fort Myers and do most of my business in Bonita Springs northward.

I consider myself more the resident expert "LilMsKnowItAll" on Fort Myers, Sanibel Captiva.

LMF

LilMsFoodie
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Old Apr 2nd, 2004, 04:51 AM
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september is a quiet time in naples (something we residents cherish when we can). i would say if you are looking for a more quiet isolated spot, than ridgeways, the side porch area is just for that. bistro 821 is more trendy and great, but as patrick said, you are 'on stage'. and also like the prior writer, folks remember the place with a memorable view? although maybe the wedding/reception itself will offer that. where are those taking place?
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Old Apr 2nd, 2004, 05:00 AM
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Thank you for everyone's responses. It really is appreciated. As far as the wedding goes, we are having a beach ceremony at the Edgewater Beach Hotel with a cocktail hour by the pool & reception inside in the banquet room. Hopefully it won't rain!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2004, 05:32 AM
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what a beautiful spot for a wedding. my son is getting married next spring and he and his fiance really really liked that place but there were just a bit too many guests to be accomodated. that courtyard is a great place with a fantastic view! good luck in planning it all and congratulations!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2004, 06:13 AM
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Just a slight correction to LilMsFoodie's comment about Ridgeway. Actually when I moved to Naples in 1977, Tony Ridgeway and then partner Beirn Brown had just opened Chef's Garden at that exact spot. Tony Ridgeway has been the principal owner there ever since. But they keep changing directions from time to time, and each time it seems a less successful place than before. In the height of it's success in the late 80's there was Chef's Garden downstairs, arguably the best and most upscale restaurant in Naples, and a separate bistro called Truffles upstairs. Both were packed. Then they expanded to other locations, tinkered with decor and direction, and bit by bit have "ruined" the success. About two or three years ago they opened Tony's off Third next door, a sort of big outdoor premade sandwiches and coffee place, as well as retain wine and dessert sales. That seems to be the most successful part of the business.

Have you made a decision yet, Kaygirl. Your wedding location sounds wonderful by the way. And have you spoken with Edgewater about the rehearsal dinner there upstairs? Sunset over the gulf from up there is really wonderful. It might actually be nice to have the rehearsal dinner right there looking out to the spot where the wedding will take place.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2004, 06:19 AM
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i remember truffles and chef's garden well (older naples flair). and you are right, each new adventure loses its flair for tony. do you remember villa pescatori, up on the trail? wasn't that their attempt also, which by the way had excellent food.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2004, 06:46 AM
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OH, yes, but to further the story of Villa Pescatore, that restuarant was actually doing rather well, along with its side bistro called Plums. But the owner of the building decided that was now prime area and doubled the rent. Too much for Tony and his "Cuisine Management" company. They moved out unable to afford the new rent. It is bitter justice that the building has been empty ever since -- what is that about four years now? So that greedy owner must be content with no rent instead of what we was getting. Tony and partners still own Bayside, at Village on Venetian Bay, which does quite well.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2004, 08:46 AM
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Thank you again for the wonderful information. You've all been more than helpful. I think we'll be going with Bistro 821 after hearing your responses. I did consider the Edgewater's Restaurant but I think we'll probably have some sort of morning after brunch there. This way if we do 821 we'll get to wander around afterwards and show our guests 5th Ave. I'm sure I'll be asking for your assistance in the future as well. Thanks again.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2004, 02:41 PM
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Patrick,I didn't know that the (Ridgway) restaurants were just serial incarnations by the same owner. I haven't enjoyed any of them recently but do remember my first visit, probably 12 years ago pre: Tommy and Campiello and it was a nice restaurant and popular with many ladies who still wore suits for lunch. I was interested in the crowd as it looked like it was dressed for lunch at Cote Basque or somesuch than a resort lunch spot. I'm always interested in this sort of information. Just my little foodie mind. LMF
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Old Jun 18th, 2004, 11:19 AM
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Kaygirl! I am so happy to hear that you are having a beach ceremony in Naples in September. That's what I'm thinking of doing, but mine will be Sept of next year. I'm also seriously considering Edgewater for the ceremony and small reception (about 25 people). How worried about the rain and the heat are you? I'm not sure how worried I should be! I would love to correspond with you to get your opinions on some things and see how you are planning the ceremony. If you are interested in comparing wedding-planning notes, please email me at [email protected]! Thanks!
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