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Not only will the new Founders Square location of Lake Park Diner serve the growing population in North Naples and Golden Gate Estates, the second helping of the local dining spot will serve as the prototype for future iterations of the casual restaurant concept.  

“We are moving more towards the prototype,” said Nicole Nixon, creative director for Paul Fleming Restaurant Group, the managing partner of Lake Park Diner, which it co-owns with founder Smith Organics. “We are trying to install some more Northern features, featuring the inside out so that we are prepared to go to say Georgia and North Carolina and South Carolina. We do anticipate being out of the state.”  

The Naples-based restaurant group intends to grow the concept with scores of locations in Florida and beyond. As the creator of chains such as P.F. Chang’s and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Paul Fleming has successfully expanded national restaurant ventures. The goal is to grow Lake Park Diner while maintaining its local flavor. 

Lake Park Diner at Founders Square“Each new location, including Founders Square, is strategically selected to bolster our integration with the local fabric, ensuring that we continue to contribute meaningfully to the community’s growth,” Fleming said.  

A larger parking lot, more covered dining spaces and an indoor-outdoor bar are features added to the new 6,484-square-foot location of Lake Park Diner after seeing the need at the Naples original, which launched in 2019. The new location at 8856 Founders St., Naples, opens May 1 as a freestanding outparcel in the Founders Square mixed-use development near the southeastern corner of Immokalee Road and Collier Boulevard. A third location will open later this year on Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Springs.  

With the exception of frozen drinks and some specialty cocktails—Founders Fizz and Battle of the Gate—expect the Founders Square menu to be identical to the original location in the Naples Design District. Also, expect the same hospitality principles as guests place orders at the counter but otherwise are served at the table.  

Lake Park Diner at Founders SquareOne noticeable omission from the inaugural location: The iconic red British telephone box won’t be featured at other Lake Park Diner locations as originally planned. The telephone booth near the entrance to the original location in the Lake Park neighborhood had the same role at the legendary landmark St. George & the Dragon restaurant that had a more than 40-year run in Naples. After St. George closed, local developer Adam Smith bought the property for redevelopment a decade ago and eventually moved the classic telephone box to Lake Park Diner, a concept he co-created on Seventh Avenue North. The symbolic sentinel and conversation piece was a nod to St. George, as well as the British roots of Smith, who died in 2021.  

Nevertheless, the Lake Park Diner concept retains the tenets of Smith’s vision.  

“The Lake Park Diner is more than a brand; it’s a community partner,” said Jody Goodenough-Fleming, Paul’s wife and CEO of the restaurant group. “The forthcoming Founders Square location reflects our commitment to this partnership, built on the foundation of health-conscious and environmentally friendly dining.”  

The retro-modern “diner with a conscience” bans genetically modified food and products created with antibiotics, hormones and steroids. It serves chef-created, sustainable, organic food, as well as over-the-top milkshakes and a full bar of craft cocktails and mocktails.  

Lake Park Diner’s menu includes small plates, salads, bowls, handhelds and signature favorites, such as whole or half rotisserie chickens, braised short ribs, miso-glazed salmon, grass-fed burgers and classic British fish and chips.  

Prior to joining Lake Park Diner, Executive Chef Daniel Hartman spent four years at Burntwood Tavern, where he played a key role in opening Florida locations. Before that, he dedicated a decade to Seasons 52, starting as a line cook and eventually becoming a corporate trainer involved in creating recipes and developing menus in Darden Restaurants’ test kitchens. 

“The Lake Park Diner’s expansion mirrors my own journey from the dish room to the head of the kitchen,” Hartman said. “They’re both about growth, passion and bringing something fresh to the table.”  

Lake Park Diner is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Brunch is available 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  

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