Naples restaurants: Waterfront views among longtime favorite at town's oldest restaurants

With the news Monday that Old Naples Pub would be closing May 31, that leaves one less Collier County restaurant that's been around for at least three decades.

As Naples Daily News food and restaurant journalist Diana Biederman first reported, Old Naples Pub would close after opening in 1990. The popular pub tucked away and just off Third Street South served as a go-to after a few hours at the beach, with its casual "come-as-you-are" vibe.

Here's other restaurants that have been around since the 20th century in Collier. Did we miss one of your favorites? Email dosborn@gannett.com and we'll add it to this list.

Kelly's Fish House in Naples

Kelly's Fish House Dining Room re-opened Nov. 24
Kelly's Fish House Dining Room re-opened Nov. 24

Kelly’s Fish House on Naples Bay is longest-running Naples restaurant.

Opened in 1953, Kelly's also closed briefly after Ian and reopened a couple months later. The restaurant for years has been known for its seafood and great views of the water.

Bistro 821 in Naples

Bistro 821 in downtown Naples just before Hurricane Ian hit in September 2022.
Bistro 821 in downtown Naples just before Hurricane Ian hit in September 2022.

As Bistro 821 says in its website, the downtown Naples restaurant "was established in 1994 and is the longest running restaurant in the heart of Naples."

This Fifth Avenue South staple remains popular, and with season over, now's a good a time as any to visit.

"Bistro 821 brings a taste of Miami’s South Beach to the Gulf Coast," the website continues. "Our décor is warm, colorful and sophisticated urban chic. With distinctive style we create a wide array of innovative entrees fusing Asian, European and American flavors."

The Dock at Crayton Cove in Naples

Participants in the Ambitious Amateur canoe race compete Saturday, May 11, 2019, during the 43rd annual Great Dock Canoe Race at Crayton Cove in Naples.
Participants in the Ambitious Amateur canoe race compete Saturday, May 11, 2019, during the 43rd annual Great Dock Canoe Race at Crayton Cove in Naples.

A popular restaurant on Naples Bay can claim that it's among the oldest still standing in the city, opening in 1976.

It also was known for years as home to the Great Dock Canoe Race, an annual post-season tradition that began in May 1977 and lasted until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. The last event was in 2019.

The Dock changed hands a few years ago, when founder and owner Vin DePasquale sold the waterfront restaurant after more than four decades in business.

And like other Collier restaurants, The Dock has endured despite hurricanes as in 2017 when Irma damaged it and required some repairs before opening.

Ridgway Bar & Grill in Naples

“Ridgway Bar & Grill in Naples has never disappointed me when it comes to food, cocktails and wine. The seating layout is perfect: if you want to sit outdoors, it’s a nice area for conversation. If you want to sit indoors, it’s lovely and never too loud. You don’t feel like you’re in a crowded spot. If you want to go for a walk after or to the pier, there’s a lot to do in that part of town,” said Mimi Lee.

Ridgway Bar & Grill also began decades ago and Tony Ridgway remains its chef-proprietor.

Our dining reviewer, Jean Le Boeuf, described it best in a 2020 review.

"From the outside, Ridgway seems small, welcoming and warm," Le Boeuf wrote. "At night, it's cloaked in a golden glow as the light within filters through the windows, adding to the radiance of the cafe lights spanning the front porch.

"Once inside, it's clear this place isn't small. Two indoor dining rooms join a sunroom to the side. A beautiful garden area is set with wicker chairs and green-checkered tablecloths with more string lights, greenery and a gurgling fountain. The courtyard bar hosts even more people."

The Real Macaw in Naples

Owner Siobhan Cleveland at her restaurant The Real Macaw on Bayshore Drive in Naples.
Owner Siobhan Cleveland at her restaurant The Real Macaw on Bayshore Drive in Naples.

Whether looking for a bite to eat after watching pickleball, or just hungry for a nice dinner, The Real Macaw has been welcomed diners for three decades and owner Siobhan Cleveland is often there to greet them.

"The vibe: Key West meets the Caribbean at one of Naples’ oldest and most iconic restaurants," Biederman wrote in a 2023 story.

"The renovated dining room is Instagram-gorgeous, and the outdoor patio is lovely. For a more casual experience, try the tres cute bamboo bar with a less pricey menu. Must-orders: crabcake, tuna and duck. Live music nightly.

Snook Inn on Marco Island

Snook Inn is set to re-open on Marco Island Monday after a year. The restaurant closed Sept. 12, 2022, to replace its Chickee. Hurricane Ian hit on Sept. 28, bringing 5 1/2 feet of water inside. Carvelli Restaurant Group of Marco Island spent a year rebuilding.
Snook Inn is set to re-open on Marco Island Monday after a year. The restaurant closed Sept. 12, 2022, to replace its Chickee. Hurricane Ian hit on Sept. 28, bringing 5 1/2 feet of water inside. Carvelli Restaurant Group of Marco Island spent a year rebuilding.

The Snook Inn on Marco Island is kind of like that Elton John 1983 hit "I'm Still Standing."

Hurricanes have roared across or near the island in recent years ― Wilma in 2005, Irma in 2017 and Ian in 2022 ― and the Snook Inn has taken a beating but keeps on serving great food and drinks.

The waterfront restaurant weathered a pounding from Ian and was closed for months until reopening in October 2023. It actually had closed Sept. 12, 2022, for remodeling ― 16 days before Ian struck.

"I didn't think Snook Inn would ever have been closed for a whole year," said Luigi Carvelli, president of Carvelli Restaurant Group, which bought the landmark restaurant in December 2017, in a Daily News story last year.

"We've been working extremely hard to get this up and running. We had a lot of setbacks. Sometimes we look around and say, 'what could go wrong, did go wrong.'"

The Pewter Mug in North Naples

The Pewter Mug relocated and relaunched in September 2018 as Pewter Mug North on U.S. 41 in North Naples.
The Pewter Mug relocated and relaunched in September 2018 as Pewter Mug North on U.S. 41 in North Naples.

Many remember The Pewter Mug as a longtime North Naples restaurant, along the Cocohatchee River on the eastern edge of U.S. 41.

It's now at 14700 U.S. 41 N., No. 14. The original Pewter Mug opened in 1970 and at one time was called Pewter Mug 41. And despite the newer location, the restaurant is still know for its delicious prime rib, steak and seafood.

Restaurant inspections: 3 Collier County restaurants perfect; 6 fail

North Naples Country Club in North Naples

Inside North Naples Country Club.
Inside North Naples Country Club.

This restaurant along U.S. 41, just south of Immokalee Road, has been known for years for its fun signs and bright green exterior.

But don't sleep on North Naples Country Club's food options, such as fried pickles and pretzel bites. License plates plaster the ceiling and walls, so this restaurant/bar that's been around for decades is as casual as any bar in Naples.

Buzz's Lighthouse at Vanderbilt Beach

Buzz's Lighthouse Restaurant states that it's "A Naples Classic Since 1980."

And the unique-looking building on Gulf Shore Drive on the beach serves up water views and a menu filled with starters, sandwiches, sides, entrees and plenty more.

Andre's Steakhouse in Naples

Andre's Steakhouse proprietor Andre Cottoloni.
Andre's Steakhouse proprietor Andre Cottoloni.

Most would have a hard time believe Andre's Steakhouse in Naples once was home to a KFC.

Andre Cottoloni had a vision before he opened his restaurant in 1993, knowing it was a new concept for Naples. More than 30 years later, Andre's still draws a wide clientele; photos of Judge Judy and retired House Speaker John Boehner adorn the middle dining room.

Our Naples food journalist Biederman wrote about Andre's in her 2023 review:

"Since moving to Naples in 2015, I’ve driven by this steak spot maybe close to a thousand times, yet I never felt the urge to go. From the exterior, it looked a tad frumpy, as though it had seen better days," she wrote. "But as that old cliché goes, you can’t judge a book by its cover."

Alice Sweetwaters in Naples

Grouper and chips, an Alice Sweetwater's Bar & Grille favorite.
Grouper and chips, an Alice Sweetwater's Bar & Grille favorite.

When I began working for the Daily News nearly a quarter-century ago, my Saturday night shifts usually ended with co-workers at Alice Sweetwaters along Airport Road in Naples.

That beer tasted great after a long day but it was the burgers or fish or other comfort food that I remember most. We ate, drank and laughed as our conversations stretched into the wee hours in an atmosphere that wasn't so loud that you couldn't hear someone next to you.

Alice Sweetwaters always has remained "that place" to so many for more than 35 years.

Riverwalk at Tin City

No reservations needed for lunch at Riverwalk at Tin City.
No reservations needed for lunch at Riverwalk at Tin City.

It's a restaurant in one of the most popular tourist destinations in Naples. Riverwalk at Tin City opened in 1979 and has thrived not only from its location in an old-timey Florida shopping spot but also because it sits on Naples Bay.

"Come and relax in our 100% open-air waterfront restaurant with a cocktail while we serve you lunch or dinner," its website beckons patrons.

And who could refuse that? Riverwalk also offers happy hour food and drink specials from 3-6 p.m. every day.

Spanky's Speakeasy in Naples

Spanky's Speakeasy owner Emily Monty with her father Ken Berry in 2022.
Spanky's Speakeasy owner Emily Monty with her father Ken Berry in 2022.

Generations who grew up watching "Our Gang" (also known as "The Little Rascals") will know one of the main characters, Spanky.

The Naples restaurant Spanky's Speakeasy will connect them with this restaurant along Airport-Pulling Road, seeing Spanky himself with that smirk that endeared him to many. Jane Hergott in 1984 launched Spanky’s with her late husband, Fred Alander, and it's endured through various owners, hurricanes and a global pandemic.

People keep coming back for more of Spanky's colorful interior, early bird dinner specials and famous prime rib.

Skillets in North Naples

Skillets first opened near Pine Ridge and Airport roads, in the Bed Bath and Beyond Plaza.
Skillets first opened near Pine Ridge and Airport roads, in the Bed Bath and Beyond Plaza.

The first location opened in 1995 at Pine Ridge and Airport, in Bed Bath and Beyond Plaza.

Since then, the popular breakfast spot has expanded with more restaurants in Collier and Lee counties.

Dave Osborn is the regional features editor of the Naples Daily News and News-Press. Follow him on Instagram and Threads @lacrossewriter and on X (formerly Twitter) @NDN_dosborn.

This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: Old Naples Pub closing. What are oldest Naples restaurants still open?