Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fred’s Diner in Naples has Gone to the Dogs


Fred’s Diner is a place I’d have created, if I were half as creative as the Newton family, or the top dog, Fred! I came to experience the canine “angle”, and was happily surprised to find very good food. This “diner” is a restaurant, truly a “Finer Diner”, with very tasty and beautifully presented food, reasonable prices, a nice interior, full bar, and friendly staff. Yep, another lesson in “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Bonus- the attached covered patio is perfect for well behaved people (and dogs) to meet and mix. Enjoy good food? Open to meeting some elegant canines outdoors? Put on a leash, and come on down.

Fred, a rotund 14 pound Chihuahua, started his eponymous Rrestaurant, er Diner, in December, 2008. He first convinced the three Newton brothers: Chef Tony (and wife Kathy), Chef Michael, and Cardiologist Dan, that it was doggone time the two highly experienced chefs owned their own restaurant. Michael’s wife Rachel, Tony’s wife Kathy, and the brothers’ parents Don and Joaenne joined talents, and the Newtons (and their six dogs) created this welcome oasis.
To cut to the chase, come here for definitely “Finer Diner” restaurant quality food. This food truly is fresh. The motto is: "No freezer, no microwave, no contest." Try the good variety of dishes- for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sit at the bar, an inside table, or on the patio. Breakfast features their signature Mile High Stuffed French Toast, three slices of Wheat Berry Bread, battered in a secret dip, and stuffed with fresh strawberries, bananas, fresh whipped cream, powdered sugar and hot maple syrup, for $8. It’s huge! Try Crack of Dawn-two AA Eggs any style, with Fred’s potatoes, choice of whole wheat, white or cinnamon raisin bread toast for $5, with lots of sides to choose from. There’s classic Eggs Benedict, or have it Benedict Garden style, or Oscar style with lump blue crabmeat and asparagus. Next, I gotta try Fred’s Potato Latkes, with crispy bacon and caramelized onions, with sides of sour cream and apple sauce for $7.Lunch offers a large open face meatloaf sandwich with mushroom gravy and fries for $8; Cobb Salad for $8; Greek Gyros Platter for 9, Veggie Quesadilla (8); crispy Bada Bing Shrimp with a spicy sweet sauce (9), and Three Dog Night with scoops of tuna, chicken and Egg Salad on chopped lettuce, with fresh fruit, for $8. More on the menu.

Dinner is easy on the budget. My trio sampled Fred’s Meatloaf with mushroom gravy and mashed potatoes, a unique vertical presentation with veggie of the day, for $14. Mmmm, tender and delicious. Mama didn't make, or serve it this good!

One couple recommended the Chicken Picatta as “one of the best they’ve had”, with the free range chicken breast lightly flour dusted, pan seared, and served with mushrooms capers and white wine lemon butter sauce, over linguine (17). The sliced Filet Mignon is popular, with red wine jus, mashed potatoes and veggie for $19. You’d pay half again as much at many Naples restaurants. The Shrimp and Crab Fra Diavlo is a favorite, with gulf shrimp, exploded garlic, lump crab meat and spicy marinara, tossed with linguine (19).

Fay looks for Treats How many diners serve Pepper Crusted Ahi tuna, garnished with Basmati rice, soy-mirin reduction, crispy Wakami slaw and vegetable, for $19? This is high grade tuna, perfectly seared, and better quality than that at many pricier restaurants in town.

Each night has specials-Monday is endless Pasta for $14, with choice of Penne, Linguini or Spaghettini, with Alfredo sauce, Fire Roasted Marinara, or a delicious Putanesca sauce, with garlic bread, and choice of minestrone or salad. Such a deal! Hospitality workers and songwriters get 15% off, with ID.

Tuesday is 1.5 lb Stuffed Maine Lobster night, with choice of soup or salad and dessert for $25. That’s what I had. The stuffing is wonderful- I like its marriage of shrimp, big lumps of real crab meat, Mahi-Mahi and tiny bay scallops in a sauce that perfectly complements the beautifully cooked classic lobster presentation- you’d find this appetizer, lobster and dessert combo in other restaurants- at double the price. The rice has a delicate taste, made in a special broth. Public service workers get 15% off food Tuesday, with ID.

Wednesday offers ID carrying healthcare workers 20% off any Entrée, and a free dessert, when combined with purchase of any drink from the bar. Happy hour is all night! Thursday is all you can eat Prime Rib with mashed potatoes, veggie and onion bisque or salad, for $19. I know some people that can really take advantage of this opportunity! Friday is all you can eat snow crab legs for $21, fried Lake Erie Walleye for $19, seafood stew for $19, and a bucket of Buds for $10. “Yappy Hour” is from 2-7 pm., with 20% off for those who bring a dog! Saturday is Chef’s choice, and Sunday is Jazz Brunch. Yes, I said Walleye-who else offers this favorite?
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Kathy and Tony Newton, and Joaene Newton with Photos of Dozens of Four Legged Friends Having two gourmet chefs allows for the nightly 5 Course Prix Fixe Chef’s Dinner- fine dining that's well worth $35 per person. Love the cuisine? There’s cooking classes too.

Clearly dog lovers, owning six dogs, the Newton’s Fred’s Diner offers frequent fund raising events to support low cost Collier Spay Neuter Clinic’s work, Golden Retriever Rescue, Adopt a Greyhound, Shy Wolf Sanctuary, Brooke’s Legacy Animal Rescue, and other caring, pet friendly enterprises. Between events such as Cinco de Mayo, and varied music, Fred’s Diner is a great draw. With some 80 seats inside, and 70 on the patio, there’s room for all. I’m going back-Gotta get me some Fred!
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Hadassah on the patio. Fred’s Diner, 2700 Immokalee Rd, Unit 12, Naples (in the southeast corner of the shopping center that's just east of Walmart) 431-7928
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6 comments:

Carolina deWitte said...

Wow!! I really think you need to send this write-up to the Food Network, so it could be featured, possibly on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! This would be an amazing setting for one of his shows. I hope to make it for a visit myself, although with the economy right now...? (I live in AZ, but would be tempted to visit just to try this place!)

Carolina deWitte said...

BTW...I'm serious about sending this review to the Food Network, I bet they will feature it. The addy, I think, to submit it is: (Info from site)...
Do you have a favorite diner, drive-in or dive that Guy should visit? Send your suggestion now to:DDDinfo@mac.com. Don't forget to include your contact information!

Peace and Love
Carolina

Ivan de Naples AKA Ivan Seligman said...

Carolina,

You rock! I sent Guy Fieri info on Fred's Diner, and also on Mr. Five, a gourmet chef's diner where everything is $5 for Bkfst and Lunch, and the line to get in is long!

Come to Naples, and the local "foodies" will "Put on the dog" for you, to sample our culinary delights, including alligator, snake, and whatever runs slower than our chefs!

I've had some great Chili Beer at Cave Creek, AZ, when they were still brewing on site-still decent funky spot outside of Scottsdale.

Anonymous said...

Worst restaurant I've been to in a while. You can tell they have dramatically gone down hell. I wouldn't be suprise if they go down in flames before the summer is over.

The chicken in the chicken parm was hard as a rock.

I will NOT be coming back. Not to mention the manager, Michael, looked lost and completely unhelpful. He looked like he was there just to walk around with nothing to do.

Anonymous said...

Wow sounds like anonymous is a disgruntled employee, have had the Chix Parm many times it is awesome and what does the Manager has to do with the quality of the food. Fred's just won best dessert at Taste of Collier and Best Place to Dine with Fido 2010.

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