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Q: Can you find out if it’s true the Old Naples Pub is closing? Not happy to hear this news. —Amy Miller, Naples  

Q: I see the Old Naples Pub on Third is closing. Do you have any idea why Neapolitan didn’t renew their lease? Also, do you know what they’re planning on doing with the site? —Jeff Lopez, Naples 

A: The Old Naples Pub plans to permanently close at the end of the month after a nearly 35-year run in downtown Naples.  

The owners of the popular local hangout at 255 13th Ave. S., off Third Street South near the Naples Pier, have announced their retirement. The co-owners and Naples natives, Tim Flock and Kent Schooley, are retiring after a long, successful run operating the Old Naples Pub, the Village Pub and the former Island Pub. The Village Pub will remain open by Bottleneck Management, a Chicago-based restaurant group that has been operating the business at Venetian Village since September. 

Old Naples Pub in downtown NaplesThe Old Naples Pub started in 1990 and has been operated by not only Schooley and Flock, but the late Stephen Briggs and Donald Flock, Tim Flock’s late father. 

“The Pub idea came from Old Naples neighbors, friends and business folk on Third Street. It was a fun lark building the place in the hot summer of 1990,” said Tim Flock. “I just helped light the match, but our fun-loving staff, loyal guests and regular customers kept the burners firing, the beers chilling and the music playing. They can say much more about what the Pub meant to Old Naples than I ever could.” 

Patrons have come to love the traditional pub fare and casual family-friendly atmosphere along Naples’ high-end shopping district. For years they have enjoyed live music on the 100-year-old tavern piano and the pub’s famous jars of pickles. 

Fleischmann family heiress Joan Tobin of Naples-based Neapolitan Enterprises, which owns the Pub’s real estate and a good portion of commercial property in Old Naples, said they haven’t decided yet on what will replace the Old Naples Pub. 

“The owners of the Old Naples Pub wanted to retire, and they’ve done a wonderful job, and they deserve a terrific next chapter,” Tobin said. “We’ll have a terrific next chapter, too, but we haven’t decided what it’s going to be yet.” 

Guests are invited to join the Old Naples Pub to celebrate the memories and milestones of the past decades with live music on May 31, the last full day of service. “We’re going to end with a bang,” said manager Linda Benson. 

Founders Square lots 

Q: Curious what’s going on next to Kelly’s at Founder Square?! —John Tancreto, Naples 

Q: Do you know when the Panda Express is supposed to open at Founders Square? —Riley Bertges, Naples 

A: Activity is under way on some of the remaining outparcel lots at Founders Square on the southeast corner of Immokalee Road and Collier Boulevard. 

Lake Park Diner opened its freestanding restaurant May 1, joining 7-Eleven and Kelly’s Roast Beef that launched last year on the outparcel lots lining the south side of Immokalee Road. Ground was broken this month immediately east of Kelly’s on one of the four remaining 1-acre lots in the mixed-use development. That’s the green flag for Roadies Pit Stop, a new triple drive-thru concept offering a variety of coffee drinks and proprietary high-energy performance beverages made with real fruit juices and no artificial ingredients. 

On the lot immediately east of Roadies, a Panda Express Chinese Kitchen drive-thru has been proposed but plans for the quick-service restaurant chain are still in the early stages. A nearly 2,700-square-foot restaurant with 52 seats inside and 22 seats outside are shown on a concept plan that the California-based Panda Express provided Collier County Growth Management during a pre-application meeting in April. 

Panda Express serves American-Chinese cuisine featuring a menu of entree items such as Orange Chicken, Firecracker Shrimp and Black Pepper Angus Steak with sides that include chow mein and fried rice. A food court space at Coastland Center mall in Naples is the only other Collier County location for Panda Restaurant Group, which operates more than 120 Panda Express locations in Florida and 2,200 worldwide. 

Two other vacant commercial lots remain between the proposed Panda Express and the Bent Creek Preserve gated residential community along the eastern edge of Founders Square. 

Roadies initially was supposed to start construction last summer on its vacant outparcel but the developer’s last-minute downsizing of the fast-casual beverage business from slightly more than 1,000 square feet to less than 850 square feet set back the plans. Basically, they had to restart the permitting process. 

“We finally got the revised site development permit from Collier County about two weeks ago and broke ground last week. It’s been congested, but we’re finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel,” said Bryan Gentile, co-founder of the new concept that he plans to expand beyond its inaugural location at Founders Square. 

“I had an original site development permit, but the general construction costs were just through the roof. So, I switched construction strategies to a pre-manufacture plan. In fact, the building’s almost completed. As soon as the footers are in place, we will deliver the building on a truck and set it in place, then have the utilities hooked up in the coming days after that and then come back in and finish the site work. So, we’re further ahead than you might see.” 

In addition to three drive-thru lanes, Roadies will have a walk-up window to place orders. 

“We’ll have tables outside where people can sit and listen to the music. It’s nice for a first date or whatever and a place to get a drink after dinner. It’s going to be a fun, fun product.” 

Gentile is especially excited about Roadies’ line of performance beverages. He and his wife, Amie, developed together.  

“It’s the biggest game-changer. There are no artificial ingredients,” he said. “My wife and I wanted to develop a line of performance drinks we felt comfortable giving our kids before a hockey game.” 

Gentile also has a lease agreement to open a second location in Estero in 2025. “It will be an identical arrangement with a triple-lane drive-thru, exact same building, exact same arrangement, also the order canopy which will protect the employees from the weather and the environment,” he said.   

The “Tim Aten Knows” weekly column answers local questions from readers. Email Tim at 

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