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Lavender Cafe & Bistro launched in early April with a Naples dining spot that defies categorization. 

“It’s totally different. I’m trying something new here,” said Lavender owner Hakan Karsavuran, whose modern American and Mediterranean diner serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, with a slight nod to his Turkish roots, as well as culinary flavors from Greece, Spain, Egypt and France. 

Karsavuran basically took the traditional American diner concept and infused it with a Mediterranean influence for healthier preparation techniques and a fresh fusion of ingredients. 

“For instance, short rib—an American classic dish—we cook with black cherry sauce,” he said. 

The new restaurant fronts U.S. 41 and Third Avenue North in the corner end unit of Trinity Plaza, the retail strip that hosts a foodie lineup with Brooklyn Dough, Cak’d, Floridita Cuban Cafe, Grouper & Chips, Mercato Italiano and Opa Greek Restaurant. Lavender moved into the longtime restaurant space that most recently was Afsona Restaurant, but previously has been home over the years to Maria D’Anna Cafe, Jane’s, Fannie’s Oven and Simply Cupcakes. 

The renovated space celebrates the restaurant’s name with booths and chairs upholstered in lavender. The purple color carries over to the cafe’s lavender pancakes, and the culinary lavender plant—native to the Mediterranean region—also flavors the cafe’s pancakes and is infused in its organic tea and house-made lavender lemonade. Karsavuran took the advice of his 6-year-old daughter, who suggested the cafe’s name because she loves the color. Lavender’s dinner menu includes dips, hot appetizers and entrees, including grilled baby lamb chops, lamb shanks with prune sauce and Mediterranean sea bass. Lavender also serves beer, wine and wine cocktails.  

Lunch items include soups, salads and handhelds, such as smash burgers and falafel sandwiches. The breakfast menu features organic free-range omelets and signature brunch items, including smashed avocado toast, burrata and basil toast, and tiramisu French toast. Specials will be added to the inaugural menu.  

At least 85% of the menu can be prepared gluten free. Karsavuran is even working with Cak’d next door for gluten-free breads and baked goods, including a GF brownie. 

The 1,200-square-foot, dine-in restaurant includes covered outdoor dining along Third Avenue North across from NCH Downtown Baker Hospital. The cafe has room to seat 42 inside and 26 outside. “I want a nice comfortable and relaxed place,” Karsavuran said. 

The restaurant has had a soft opening through mid-April. “So far, people are loving it,” he said. 

Lavender, 300 Ninth St., is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day with brunch daily until 2:30 p.m. Takeout will be available starting in May. 

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