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A new restaurant and bar concept with three kitchens plus a bakery, a self-serve beer tap wall and a full bar under one roof launched Dec. 7 on Old 41 in Bonita Springs.

The Causeway, co-owned by Ken Delaney, Randy Decker and Janak Amin, will operate daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 28280 Old 41 Road, south of Bonita Beach Road.

“The premise of our place is a food hall where we’re introducing four new concepts to Bonita with a huge variety of foods from around the world along with a full bar, indoor and outdoor seating, live music and Sunday brunches,” Delaney said.

Carl and Carol Smith operate the food part of the business, while Delaney oversees the building, the beer wall and the L-shaped bar, which has an overhead door that opens it to outdoor seating, too. All components of the business also share interior seating in the large space that’s part of the Causeway Commerce Park units with multicolored striped awnings on the west side of Old 41. The Causeway name originated with the Causeway Lumber Co., which operated at that site for more than 30 years until it closed in 2009.

“We’re a casual dining eatery with four food concepts,” Carl Smith said.   

The food offerings will include Orzo, serving a variety of pizza and Italian favorites with fresh pasta and sauces made daily; Roast, a deli bar with freshly prepared meat selections, salads and charcuterie boards; Smithy’s, an international kitchen serving foods such as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, curry dishes, noodles and more; and Dessert Lab, which will have colossal milkshakes made to order with a choice of toppings, such as cookies, cupcakes and doughnuts.  

“There’s nothing on the menu more than $20, so we have a variety for everybody,” Smith said. “And it’s not overly priced.”  

The Causeway has a self-serve beer wall featuring 20 taps with all Florida craft beers, most of them from local breweries, Delaney said. The tap wall uses a wristband method for a self-pour experience where patrons pay by the ounce.  

“We’re going to have some TVs above the bar for sports, but it’s mainly just a nice, casual comfortable place to eat and drink,” Smith said.  

The business has space for 150 seats inside and space for another 150 outside with picnic tables with umbrellas and park-style benches. At first glance, the establishment appears to be similar to a food court, but it actually functions more like a sit-down restaurant with personalized service.  

“It’s all table service. They come in, sit down and we’ll give you a menu. The menu has all three different food concepts inside,” Smith said.  

Guests can order ice cream or milkshakes from the menu but a changing selection of baked goods, such as brownies, cookies and doughnuts must be ordered directly from The Dessert Lab.  

“You can open a tab and it can just stay open while you’re in here. So, you can take stuff from (The Dessert Lab) and it goes on the tab. But it’s also table service,” Smith said.  

Experiencing unexpected delays since its inception three years ago, the business changed its name and concept from its initial idea. At first, it was going to be called The Industry with units comprised of local food truck operators. The original idea was Delaney’s, who used to own Industry Works shared office space there. When he opened during the pandemic, some friends talked him into opening a restaurant instead.  

“Originally, it was going to be leased out as individual food trucks,” said Smith. He and his wife used to operate C&C Catering and the Brit Pit food truck, which featured cuisine from their native England.  

Carol Smith is the general manager of The Causeway, while the kitchen is overseen by Carl Smith who has been a chef for more than two decades in many fine-dining restaurants in Europe, as well as for the Manchester United soccer team.  

Smith predicts that Smithy’s will be the most popular part of the menu at The Causeway with its variety of international street food—English, Indian, Thai, Korean, American—a little bit from all around the world. “We’ve even got ramen noodles on there, fish and chips on there. We only have one burger, but it’s a decent burger. We have steak and ale pie on there— which is an English thing—shepherd’s pie. I like the variety. We’ve got shrimp tacos. There’s a little bit of everything,” he said.  

Smith is a big fan of Asian food, so he likes a menu item that has an Asian influence.  

“We have a dish on the menu called Fire Fries, which is French fries that we overcook so they’re crispy and, then in a wok, we fry up fresh peppers, chilies, onions, garlic and then throw the French fries in. You coat it in sriracha and Chinese five-spice. It’s more of a shareable thing,” he said.  

Open for lunch and dinner now, expect The Causeway to eventually open earlier in the day.  

“Eventually, we would like to open the food section from 8 a.m. to do breakfast,” Smith said. “To start with, we’re going to do 11 to 11 and then once we find our feet, then serve breakfast from the coffee bar and the bakery will open from 8 at that point then, as well.” 

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