J. Alexander’s Restaurant, an established upscale dining concept, plans to open its first Southwest Florida location next spring in the North Naples space vacated this month by Buca di Beppo Italian restaurant, which operated at 8860 Tamiami Trail N. for more than 20 years.
Expect the new J. Alexander’s to open in the early part of 2023’s second quarter, said Josh Kern, named interim CEO on Monday of Houston-based SPB Hospitality, which operates and franchises many full-service dining restaurant concepts, including J. Alexander’s. Earlier this month, J. Alexander’s Restaurants LLC leased the 8,160–square–foot restaurant space in North Naples from Trail Boulevard LLLP. Patrick Fraley of Naples-based Investment Properties Corp. represented the lessor, and Arthur Shifrin of Koniver Stern Group of Miami Beach represented the lessee.
“I had been working with J. Alexander’s for years helping them find a spot,” said Fraley, who noted the company still has many months of renovation work ahead.
“They have a lot of work to do. They are going to be adding a lot of windows and raising the ceiling,” he said. “They’ll rebrand the whole building. It’s going to be beautiful.”
The Naples location will be the seventh in Florida for J. Alexander’s, a contemporary restaurant known for its wood-fired cuisine and attention to detail, consistency and quality since launching in 1991. Not to be confused with Alexander’s, a longtime local restaurant in Naples from Chef Alexander Bernard, J. Alexander’s nearest locations are in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa.
J. Alexander’s menu features a wide selection of made-from-scratch American classics including prime rib, steaks, seafood, sandwiches and entrée salads. The restaurant has a full-service bar that includes wines by the glass and bottle. The North Naples restaurant space near the southeast corner of U.S. 41 North and Vanderbilt Beach Road has entrances off of Trail Boulevard and Pelican Ridge Boulevard.
The lease expired for Buca di Beppo, which permanently closed Aug. 8 in North Naples. The restaurant chain had operated there since spring 2001, serving family-style Italian fare in a kitschy, eclectic setting. Severely damaged by Hurricane Irma, the restaurant was closed for more than three months in late 2017 while its interior was rebuilt. Last year, Buca di Beppo and its sister restaurants, Bravo and Brio—all owned by Orlando-based Earl Enterprises—became a virtual kitchen for brands such as MrBeast Burgers and Guy Fieri’s Flavortown.
Last fall, SPB Hospitality completed the acquisition of Nashville-based J. Alexander’s Holdings Inc., which operates 47 upscale restaurants, including the brands J. Alexander’s, Merus Grill, Redlands Grill and Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill. The $220 million merger was overwhelmingly approved by J. Alexander’s shareholders.