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A recent car crash into Pastrami Dan’s isn’t stopping the landmark restaurant from looking ahead to its 50th season in Naples.  

The popular local eatery reopened May 7 after being temporarily closed since a woman drove a Toyota Rav4 SUV into the side of the restaurant on the morning of May 3. Fortunately, the driver wasn’t injured, and nobody was in the restaurant at the time because it had not opened for the day yet.  

“I guess she was going to the smoothie shop next door and hit the gas. I don’t know,” said Dan Costaregni, owner of Pastrami Dan’s. “She did a lot of damage—probably $20,000.”  

Pastrami Dan's in Naples.The Costaregnis were able to clean up the mess, which included glass from a large window and pieces of the concrete and stucco building. Plywood covers the gaping hole in the wall until permanent repairs can be made.  

The restaurant at 586 Tamiami Trail N. is always closed Sundays and Mondays, so the accident just prevented the business from operating on Friday and Saturday.   

“It happens too much down here,” Costaregni said. “This is about the third time somebody has hit the building. Somebody hit the back door once. Somebody hit the window in the back, just cracked it gently. This was the worst one ever.”  

Pastrami Dan's in Naples.The crash happened about 8:30 a.m. so nobody was sitting at one of the tables against the restaurant’s outside wall and window. “The glass could have cut somebody pretty bad,” Costaregni said.  

The Costaregni family has been creating its popular hot pastrami sandwiches and tacos since 1975, the last 35 years anchoring the southern end of that retail strip on the corner of Sixth Avenue North and U.S. 41. That one-story multitenant commercial building that also is home to Liki Tiki BBQ and Tropical Smoothie Cafe eventually will be demolished to make way for construction of the three-story Aquarius Hotel with an Aqua restaurant on that half of a city block.  

Property owner Goran “Gordon” Stojkoski, who also owns and operates Liki Tiki on the northern end of the strip, said Pastrami Dan’s had an opportunity to be a part of the redevelopment project with a restaurant in the boutique hotel. However, Costaregni figures the rent would be cost-prohibitive for his little sandwich shop.  

“I’m not going to do it,” he said. “No way.”  

Stojkoski predicts Pastrami Dan’s will probably be there another season—its 50th—while the hotel plans are being finalized.  

“We’re still in the permitting process,” he said. “We are approved. It’s just a matter of getting everything done.”  

Once the 18-suite hotel is built, Stojkoski’s Aqua restaurant and lounge on Fifth Avenue South in downtown Naples will relocate to the hotel. “We’ll probably be there another two seasons,” he said.  

Costaregni’s son, Nicholas, still may continue the legendary Pastrami Dan’s at another area location but that‘s not a sure thing. “He might. I don’t know what he wants to do,” Costaregni said.   

Until then, Pastrami Dan’s is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. As usual every year, the cash-only restaurant will take vacation time off in early fall.  

“We’ll be closed September the whole month. We’ll be back in October, probably the first week in October back and then we’ll have the whole season to go, hopefully,” Costaregni said. And then we’ll see what happens. It’s kind of up in the air because of the city. You know how that goes. You just never know. But until it’s torn down, we’re going to stay there … unless somebody runs through the building again.” 

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