When Nosh on Naples Bay launches in early 2022, the restaurant will breathe new life into a longtime local dining spot and provide a homecoming of sorts for a hometown chef.
Chef Todd Johnson and his wife and business partner, Dana, are renovating a waterfront venue at Naples Bay Resort to create an upscale, modern vibe with the goal of opening Nosh in January. Their space at 1490 Fifth Ave. S., Unit 101, has been five restaurants in the last 15 years, most recently two versions of 1500 South. It also previously was Mereday’s Fine Dining, L’Orient and Olio on Naples Bay. Nosh will join other eateries operating at the local resort, including Bonefish Grill, Blue Water Grill and Cafe on the Bay.
Johnson has been known for his restaurant and culinary creations in Southwest Florida for nearly 30 years. Since 2003, Johnson has been executive chef and co-owner of Rumrunners in Cape Coral but the owners of Cape Harbour did not renew the restaurant’s lease, which expires at the end of this year. A graduate of Naples High School and Johnson & Wales University in Miami, Johnson previously was executive sous chef at Chef’s Garden, now Ridgway Bar & Grill, in Naples; worked alongside Chef Tom Colicchio, co-founder of the Gramercy Tavern in New York City; and he launched the kitchens of the former Bistro 41 at Bell Tower in south Fort Myers and Aqua Grill at Waterside Shops in Naples.
Johnson is excited that the open-kitchen concept at Nosh will allow him to see and interact with guests. “I’ll be able to engage with our guests and the many awesome friends we’ve made over the years and that’s important to me as a chef and member of the community,” he said. “The venue is just small enough that I can put my personal touch on every dish. And while our menu will offer refined food in an upscale environment, it’s still very approachable and friendly for locals as well as visitors to Southwest Florida.”
His new 150-seat restaurant will offer indoor and outdoor waterfront dining, private event space for 32 guests and on-site catering to serve the Naples Bay Resort community. Diners at Nosh can expect chef-driven, global cuisine featuring large, shareable plates, Johnson said. “I plan to source the very finest ingredients and flavors, locally as well as globally, flying in Wagyu from Japan or Australia or working with local purveyors on sourcing the very best local seafood or home-grown vegetables. Our menu will change frequently,” he said.
Having served as a celebrity chef for some of the area’s top charities, including the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, Johnson plans to host private wine dinners and local charitable events at Nosh. A certified sommelier, Johnson will offer a robust wine list at Nosh as well as a full bar and craft cocktail menu.