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Three popular regional dining concepts are planning new locations this fall in large vacant restaurant spaces at Coconut Point regional mall in Estero.  

Fresh Catch Bistro, PJK Neighborhood Chinese Restaurant and Real Seafood Co. are launching upscale casual restaurants in units previously home to TGI Fridays, The Saloon and Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill, respectively.  

Fresh Catch Bistro at Coconut Point renderingFresh Catch Bistro 

Prolific local restaurateur Franco Russo is expanding his dining portfolio again with another location of his Fresh Catch Bistro. The interior demolition and buildout of the new seafood restaurant began this week in a freestanding outparcel fronting U.S. 41 near the northern edge of Coconut Point.   

Russo signed a lease in mid-April to take over the vacant longtime restaurant space at 7991 Plaza del Lago Drive. Until 2022, the address was home to the local T42 tapas restaurant and bar for a brief time, but it hosted a franchise of the TGI Friday’s hospitality chain for many years.  

Hurricane Ian forced Russo to relocate his original Fort Myers Beach restaurants, Fresh Catch Bistro and Junkanoo Below Deck, to a new location on Estero Boulevard. He also operates locations of Two Meatballs in the Kitchen in south Fort Myers and Cape Coral; and recently launched Stone’s Throw restaurant, as well as co-launched Hooked Island Grill in Cape Coral.  

Former T42 restaurant at Coconut PointThe new Estero location of Fresh Catch set to open this fall won’t include a Junkanoo, which have been neighbors for years, but Russo doesn’t want to lose that successful connection, so he plans to implement some Junkanoo-style items on an expanded menu.  

“My plan for this Fresh Catch Bistro is a little bit different,” he said. “I’m certainly going to take the best and the favorites of what we’ve done over the last 15 or so years. I want to expand upon the menu and make it more than just your kind of upscale seafood. We want to do some burgers and we want to do some pastas and we want to do some more affordable items for everyone to kind of grasp a bigger audience.”  

Fresh Catch’s biggest food and drink sellers are its grouper and martinis, Russo said.   

“We have a bunch of different grouper dishes and we serve it different ways. It’s definitely been our top seller from day one,” he said. “We are really well known for our happy hour, our discounted martinis and appetizers that people love.”  

PJK Neighborhood Chinese 

PJK, a Paul Fleming Restaurant Group concept launched in spring 2023 in downtown Naples, plans to open its second location in a dining space that previously was home to The Saloon wood-fired grill and Blue Water Bistro, restaurants that were operated by former Culinary Concepts of Naples over a 17-year span. The space at 23151 Village Shops Way, Suite 109, which abuts Ruth’s Chris Steak House and is across from Divieto Ristorante and El Nido Modern Mexican, has been vacant since The Saloon closed in May 2023.  

“The secret is out,” PJK posted in a video this week on its Instagram social media page after rumors started circulating last year that the vacant restaurant space at Coconut Point was going to be P.F. Chang’s, another Chinese restaurant concept created by Paul Fleming, a Naples resident.  

PJK—an acronym comprised from the initials of Paul and Jody Fleming and their dog Kolton—launched in March 2023 on Fourth Avenue South in Naples. The restaurant specializes in scratch-made coastal Chinese with fresh specialty dishes that showcase a mix of traditional and modern Asian flavors. Its menu includes exclusive entrees, small plates, wok classics, dim sum and craft cocktails.  

Real Seafood Co. at Coconut PointReal Seafood Co. 

Real Seafood Co. plans to open this fall in the Coconut Point location that previously was home to Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill and Hemingway’s Island Grill. The 8,000-square-foot space at 8001 Plaza del Lago Drive has been vacant since 2020, when Bokamper’s closed after operating for about six years, following a more than five-year run by Hemingway’s.  

The 350-seat restaurant space on Plaza del Lago Drive is part of Lake Shops, a collection of retailers and restaurants on the northern end of the outdoor mall that also includes Rodizio Grill, Ted’s Montana Grill, Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza and Stone Mountain Creamery on a small lake with fountains across from Olive Garden.  

Real Seafood Co. at Coconut PointReal Seafood has operated a North Naples restaurant with a full bar for 20 years in the Galleria Shoppes off Vanderbilt Beach Road and has other locations in Toledo, Ohio, and Ann Arbor, Bay City and Grand Rapids, Michigan. The dining concept is part of Michigan-based Mainstreet Ventures Restaurant Group, which also operates other brands, such as Blue Pointe Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill at Bell Tower in south Fort Myers.  

Real Seafood specializes in a full range of seafood, such as grouper, sea bass, salmon, perch, blue crab, clams, oysters, shrimp, scallops and Maine lobster, as well as a raw bar, steaks and chicken. In addition to dinner entrees, the upscale restaurant’s menu includes shared plates, soups, salads and desserts.  

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