After enjoying success from opening Ocean Prime Naples in late December five years ago, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants has a second chance to hit its mark with another fine-dining restaurant on Fifth Avenue South just two blocks away. Del Mar Naples launches this afternoon in a two-story venue that formerly was home to D’Amico & Partners’ Cafe Lurcat and Bar Lurcat for 15 years in downtown Naples.
“Naples itself is exploding and Fifth Avenue is the epicenter. There are not many better addresses in the country to have a restaurant than Fifth Avenue,” said Cameron Mitchell, founder and CEO of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, based in Columbus, Ohio. “I can’t be more excited. We’d like to open up more restaurants in the Naples area, quite frankly. When we get the opportunity, we will.”
The new Del Mar is not similar to Cameron Mitchell’s Columbus restaurant of the same name; a name Mitchell personally has always liked but feels one restaurant doesn’t have anything to do with the other. The Naples dining concept, however, creates a new brand that could be replicated by a company that already has 60 restaurants with nearly 20 brands, led by Ocean Prime.
“We never build a restaurant to launch a brand. Great brands in the United States happen organically,” Mitchell said. “So, when I say we hope it’s another brand for us to grow, that’s not why we do it or the intent of it. We are so damn excited about it. We think it could be.”
After launching nearly 100 restaurants in his career, Mitchell truly is thrilled about Del Mar’s opening in Naples. “I’m more excited about this opening than I have been for really any openings in the past with the exception of maybe the first one because that was a big one,” he said. “I’m telling you from my perspective as a food professional and 41 years in this business, that the food is the best we’ve ever done. It is exciting. The menu’s dynamic and exciting. I think people are going to love it.”
Inspired by Mediterranean coastal cuisine, Del Mar’s scratch menu rotates seasonally and showcases a variety of seafood using flavors from Greece, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Turkey. Items include Turkish flatbreads, a lamb rack tangine, lobster spaghetti, duck confit agnolotti, charred octopus, a fire-roasted shellfish platter and other entrees, salads, starters, dips and spreads. Some of the dishes are made for sharing family style.
“We want the restaurant to be very approachable. It’s fine dining but it’s not white tablecloth. It’s got the same check average Ocean Prime will have, but you can come in and just graze too,” Mitchell said. “The cocktail program is incredible. Our beverage team again outdid themselves.”
Del Mar is open for dinner seven days a week and will eventually offer brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant will be operated by General Manager Rick Giannasi, who has been the GM at Ocean Prime Naples since it opened, and Executive Chef David Vilchez.
Del Mar is a culmination of what his team is capable of creating, Mitchell said. “We are really super excited about this concept,” he said. “This food is the best that we’ve put together in our company history.”
At more than 9,000 square feet, Del Mar is one of the largest restaurants in the area. It seats 310 and employs about 100 in a space unlike any other in Southwest Florida.
“You’ve got the two floors. You’ve got the two terraces overlooking Fifth Avenue. All the doors open up to the inside so on those beautiful Naples nights the flow of the restaurant and the ambiance will be in and out so it will just be very transparent,” Mitchell said. “There’ll be no better place on Fifth Avenue to sit and have a cocktail, nosh on some food and watch the world go by and enjoy the day.”
Del Mar, 494 Fifth Ave. S., is open from 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Call 239-350-0134 or go to DelMarNaplesRestaurant.com.