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Poached soon is going to be toast—as in defunct. The local breakfast-lunch restaurant is permanently closing next week in Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt in North Naples.  

It wasn’t the plan for Poached’s co-owners to close this year after operating for 13 years in Suite 156 at 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road. Chef Kenneth Vandereecken and his wife, Brandi Lostracco, wanted to extend their lease another five years, but May 28 will be their last day.  

Although Lostracco says they have paid their rent on time and have not had any issues until now, Shoppes at Vanderbilt management is not allowing the business to have a lease extension. The leasing manager could not be reached for comment.   

“It’s very odd that someone who’s paying rent, who has been on really good terms, who has a full staff, been doing the same thing, has a big clientele, the business has been doing fine; there’s nothing wrong with it, then all of a sudden the landlord is like, ‘Nope, we just want something different,’” Lostracco said.  

The issue began when management asked Poached to extend its operating hours until 7 p.m. when the restaurant has always operated 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.   

“They were trying to force us to stay open for dinner knowing that we can’t do that to be successful. So, that’s their way of pushing us out of the plaza entirely,” Lostracco said. It was a shock to us.”  

Poached’s co-owners found a buyer for their restaurant who could do that, but management wasn’t buying it, Lostracco said.  

“They approved our buyer, then called them and said you can wait until the space is empty to put in an offer with us,” she said.  

Jamie Stalowski, owner of La Fontanella Ristorante in Bonita Springs, wanted to buy the North Naples location of Poached, but the lease transfer ultimately was not approved. So, Poached’s owners then had plans to stay in Shoppes at Vanderbilt and make the dinner hours work, but the leasing office then said they were not going to allow the lease to be extended another five years.  

“They were not even going to offer us terms. We just had to leave, so we went from two to zero (restaurants),” Lostracco said. “Two to unemployment.”  

Before they knew they lost their North Naples business they recently sold their Bonita Springs restaurant to the owner of La Fontanella, the adjacent business in Publix-anchored Pelican Landing at U.S. 41 and Old 41.  

Poached’s owners are most concerned for their experienced team of employees that has been with them for years. They want them to find employment at other area restaurants.  

“My kitchen is all women. They’re all single moms, so they don’t have the flexibility to work at night,” Lostracco said. “Three of my staff members are sisters. It’s a whole family.”  

The recent issue is not the first that Poached’s owners have had to overcome. The Poached locations originally were named Toast until the owners of a Chicago restaurant also named Toast sent a cease-and-desist order over its federally copyrighted name. Feeling poached, the owners of the local Toast locations renamed their restaurants Poached in early 2015.  

Lostracco and Vandereecken still want to stay in the restaurant business, so they will be looking for a new home for their business.   

“We don’t have time to move all of our stuff and all of our staff to another place right now. We’re just going to sell the contents of the restaurant,” Lostracco said. “We’ll figure out a new spot to go into and eventually it will work itself out.” 

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