Q: A new Japanese steakhouse is opening next to Wawa on the northeast corner of the East Trail and Rattlesnake Hammock. What do you know? — Kat Bryce, Naples
A: Saki Japanese Kitchen opened this week in Naples South Plaza on the southeast corner of U.S. 41 East and Rattlesnake Hammock Road in East Naples.
It’s the second location for Saki, a local restaurant that launched in March 2018 in Lely Resort’s Stock Plaza on Collier Boulevard. The dining concept’s most popular items are hibachi chicken, hibachi filet mignon, sushi rolls and sake, said Chun Zhao, who owns both locations. Both restaurants offer the same menu, which includes teriyaki, tempura, noodle dishes, salads, appetizers and bento box lunch specials.
Popular sushi rolls include King Cobra with shrimp tempura, cream cheese and cucumber topped with spicy imitation crab, avocado and eel sauce; Green River with tuna, salmon, yellowtail snapper and avocado served with yum yum sauce; and Square with spicy tuna, salmon and avocado atop fried seaweed.
The new Saki is larger than the original and moved into a long-vacant freestanding building previously home to Dollar General before the dollar store moved many years ago into a larger inline space in the retail center. The outparcel was partially demolished, reducing the building from 8,800 to 3,000 square feet to create more parking for the sit-down restaurant and better visibility for the center, which is anchored by Harbor Freight and Anthony’s ladies’ apparel. Bravo supermarket is coming next year to the vacant end unit near Wawa.
The new Saki Japanese Kitchen, 4903 Tamiami Trail E., is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Pizza plans change
Q: Is Donatos still going to open? — Kathy Nicklaus, Naples
A: Donatos Pizza is no longer coming to the North Naples corner of Tamiami Trail North and Old 41 Road, but the Ohio-based chain known for Columbus-style pizzas with its trademarked Edge to Edge toppings still plans to open pizzerias in Collier and Lee counties.
“We absolutely are working on suitable locations in both markets and are working toward multiple openings in 2023,” said Jeff Baldwin, vice president of development and franchising for Donatos.
Donatos and its franchise partners operate more than 170 restaurants in 12 states in the Midwest and South. Baldwin said that multiple franchise groups are planning stores in Southwest Florida because it’s a large territory.
Realtor Theresa Blauch of Sperry Commercial Global Affiliate is still locating possible spots for Donatos in Southwest Florida. “I’m working on multiple locations for Naples. So, I’m hoping to have something sooner rather than later,” Blauch said.
Donatos had planned to open this fall in a vacant space on the southern endcap of Kerr Plaza, the retail center with Limoncello Cucina Italiana and Winfield Sandwich Shoppe on the southwest corner of U.S. 41 and Old 41. The pizzeria chain encountered unique circumstances in its attempt to create a restaurant in a space that used to be a Naples Mattress store. Challenges were uncovered in the company’s due diligence phase, Baldwin said.
“They are not going in and we recently negotiated a lease exit for them,” said David Perry, national director of real estate for Terra Realty Group, the leasing manager for that retail center in North Naples.
Perry has another possible business for that suite at 13800 Tamiami Trail N. “I have been working with a major national tenant but we have not yet signed the lease,” he said.
The weekly “Tim Aten Knows” column answers local questions from readers at GulfshoreBusiness.com. Follow Tim Aten on social media: @TimAtenKnows on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.