In continued celebration of its 25th anniversary, Pazzo! on Fifth Avenue South in Naples recently underwent extensive renovations. Skip Quillen, founder and owner of Culinary Concepts—a restaurant group that includes Pazzo! and Yabba Island Grill in Naples, Chops City Grill in Naples and Bonita Springs, and The Saloon in Estero—says creating “an atmosphere that is playful, exciting and fun” is the goal. “We have been around for 25 years, and we wanted a new lease on life,” he says. “I wanted the ambience to match the quality of the food.”
Though pazzo means crazy in Italian, the re-imagined décor is anything but. Rather, it features a blend of silvers, golds and lavender, with pops of brighter colors and textures of wood, crystal, copper, crushed velvet and chenille. The walls are finished with thin layers of textured plaster by faux and abstract artist Shiree Nichole, who enriched the decorative surface treatments with coats of metallic gold paint and a dash of green that reflects nicely off six large wall mirrors. Nichole also treated 15 vintage Italian posters, some by illustrator Leonetto Cappiello, directly onto the walls to blend with the plaster.
As far as ambience, the restaurant’s six original antique glass sconces remain on the walls and are enhanced by three new chandeliers draped in glass crystals, sculptural chandeliers adorned with delicate glass grapes and peaches and four pink crystal mini chandeliers.
“I wanted it to be playful, and at the same time be unique and of quality,” says Quillen. “All of the finishes fit: We have different colored chair coverings, really fun plates with faces on them, the barstools are different colors and the chandeliers have some bling.” In addition to bringing in Nichole for the project, Quillen collaborated with interior designer Theresa Gillan. To complete the renovations, Quillen shut Pazzo!’s doors for five months, from May through October 2020; the price tag came in at “around $750,000.”
While the restaurant was closed, in addition to all of the color and wall treatments, the white ceiling was replaced with exposed wood beams and a copper ceiling was installed above the bar. The 20-foot-long wooden bar also was revamped, with new wood trims and appliqués. “The hand-carved scroll appliqués instantly add elegance,” explains Gillan.
Entering the space, one of the restaurant’s focal points announces itself in a pop of pink. “I actually saw a similar chair in Paris a few years ago and I always liked it, the uniqueness of it,” says Quillen. The four oversized fuchsia chairs were custom-made and created from his memory of that Parisian chair.
Next up for Quillen? Chops City Grill in Bonita Springs will reopen this fall after a $1 million makeover this summer.