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More than a decade in the making, Flo’s Clam Shack finally has opened in the Naples area. The Rhode Island-based institution launched this month in the former location of Bamz Restaurant on U.S. 41 East in East Naples.  

Flo’s owner Komes Rozes, a seasonal resident of East Naples, first planned to open his casual seafood eatery in 2013 at the shuttered Pizza Hut restaurant in Naples. That deal didn’t happen, of course, and the classic hut remains vacant.  

Rozes bought Bamz last fall and the longtime local restaurant closed shortly after its sale near the end of October so that the small building could be transformed into Flo’s, which also has two mom-and-pop locations in Middletown and Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Flo’s Rhode Island roots can be traced back more than 85 years.  

After an irregular soft opening, Flo’s in Florida officially opened with its regular hours this week in a freestanding red and white building on the south side of the East Trail between Davis Boulevard and Bayshore Drive.  

“All in all, the place came out nice,” said Rozes, whose voice sounds remarkably like comedian Rodney Dangerfield.  

Flo’s time-tested New England menu is available in East Naples. “All the food’s good. We are getting it right from our distributor up north, coming down three times a week,” Rozes said. “It’s surprising how many people here go to the ones up North.”  

Flo’s favorites include “chowda”—served creamy or classic clear in a cup or bowl—and clamcakes sold by the half-dozen or a baker’s dozen.  

The breaded and fried clamcakes are similar to conch fritters with pieces of clam instead of conch. Flo’s chowda, which Rozes said provides the perfect accompaniment and dipping sauce for the house specialty, is available as a combo with clamcakes.  

“They’re sweet with chopped clams in them and clam juice, a nice flavor, mild flavor, but they’re really light and airy and crunchy,” Rozes said. “They taste really good.”  

The menu includes seafood platters ranging from calamari to Flo’s World Famous Fried Clams. Other options for platters—served with fries and coleslaw—include fried Campeche shrimp, clam strips, fish and chips, sea scallops and fried clam and oyster rolls. Top-of-the-line options feature Flo’s No-Nonsense Lobsta Roll Platter and a fisherman platter with fried clams, clam strips, calamari, shrimp, scallops, fish and a clamcake.  

The menu offers starters and combos, including Flo’s Famous #9: a bottle of Moët champagne and two gourmet hot dogs for $99.99. Landlubbers also may choose items from an a la carte section that includes cheese dogs and cheeseburgers. Flo’s also serves beer and wine.  

“People are liking the food. We are doing a lot more clams than I thought we would. It’s been incredible,” said Rozes, who thought fish and chips would be more popular here.  

The casual restaurant features counter service, but all food is cooked to order. Over the top of the order and pickup windows is a fun treatment made to resemble the transom across the stern of a large wooden boat named Lady Flo with a hailing port of Naples, Florida. Colorful buoys and vintage wooden lobster traps hang from the ceiling with live plants suspended from boat rigging. An authentic weather-worn Flo’s Clam Shack directional sign is displayed prominently on one wall with framed covers of publications that have featured Flo’s over the years.  

The new dining option has 32 seats inside and 32 outside in front of the building. Eventually, patrons will be able to order at an outside window under an awning on the north side of the building where the undersea mural is painted on the exterior wall, Rozes said, but this alteration will have to be permitted first. It won’t be a drive-in window, but rather a walk-up window. He also plans to install a permanent canopy over the patio, too.  

Flo’s Clam Shack, 2464 Tamiami Trail E., is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, except it’s closed on Mondays.

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