Saturday, October 31, 2009

Richie’s Open Kitchen Family Restaurant- Naples Best Hamburger and Reuben

Richie’s Restaurant is regarded by many as having The Best Hamburger in Collier County. The Reuben Sandwich gets major respect, too. Richie’s has been a popular spot for freshly made food. It’s Naples insider’s “secret” for ten years, hidden on 3rd Ave North, across 41 from NCH Downtown Hospital. Nurses, doctors and Indian chiefs know it well; these regulars come here every day for great priced, generous portions of breakfast, lunch and dinner. All is prepared and served by one of the nicest husband and wife teams you’ll ever meet. Richie cooks everything to order in the open kitchen- my kind of place.

One customer says to me, "We’re all family here, extended family, and we share the good and the bad with Richie, Lynn, and each other, just like family at the table” In a true Mom and Pop restaurant, it takes only two to tango- and this couple are the only “two” here! They give Richie’s its down home warmth, like a 60’s diner or a Cheers-type local bar. Have a seat, and chat with Richie, or Lynn, who ably covers the front of the house. She knows hundreds of customers’ names and stories. They have worked together for 40+ years! One starts, and the other easily finishes a sentence. For flashy décor, vertical food, frozen foods, faux finishes, Frankenfood or chirpy robotic servers, get thee to a chain restaurant!

The shoe box-sized restaurant’s two-tone green walls are decorated with sculpture, florals and a pretty fish. Green table coverings with a leaf design top the ten inside tables. Two outdoor tables seat eight- in cool weather. Richie’s food quality is high, overhead and prices are low. Word-of -mouth praise keeps them busy. Tourist buses don’t line up here. Concierges are clueless. Jalopies park next to Mercedes at Richies, as down-to-earth regulars come in for honest, very good food.

Insiders know to call ahead and get take out. It’s not unusual to get an order combining six Reubens, and six Grouper Sandwiches, as one golfer recently called in, as he picked ‘em up and treated his friends to lunch. Richie caters birthday parties, and all sorts of occasions.
I met Tom and Beverly Snediker, who celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary with family and friends at Richie's; a warmly elegant candlelight setting, with twin lobster dinners.

Tom and Beverly, dining with Richie and Lynn
Another lady had her 50th birthday here. This is family,with regulars like the Snedikers, who have dined all over Naples. They choose to celebrate events, large and small, here with friends. There’s no robotic patter of “Hi, my name’s Biff. I’m from Lalaland” at Richie's. You are never rushed, as often happens elsewhere in season.

Breakfast is popular-prices range from $1.99 up to $6.99. Yes, nice and affordable. The Omelets-Cheese, Ham and Cheese, Western, Hot Mexican, and Vegetarian- are large, ranging from $3.99 to 5.99. Hungry friends favor the $6.99 Richie’s Big Breakfast’s three eggs, two pancakes, bacon sausage, home fries and toast. The Eggs Florentine, with potatoes, is popular. One child, a regular, flips over the European-Style Pancakes, made crepe-like, very thin, with crispy edges.

Richies’s has THE Best Hamburgers in Naples, hands down. These fresh, never frozen delights are large, weighing about 10-12 ounces, and are grilled to perfection. Walk up to the open kitchen, and watch as Richie work his magic! He grills the beef, then tops it with grilled onions, and adds lettuce, tomato, a pickle, and chips on the plate. It’s enough for two people, and only $4.99! Tender and juicy, it's too big for the bun! This truly two-fisted burger beats out any of the pricey, greasy, smaller and often previously frozen, overcooked burgers that may be found at spots like McDonald’s, Five Guys, Steak 'n Shake, Lindburgers , etc. No other hamburger comes close to Richie’s fresh, monstrous hamburger!

Richie’s Reuben Sandwich is also a legend, voted Best Sandwich in Naples. It’s large enough for two, bursting with fresh flavor. Who else makes thick layers of lean corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and a special Russian dressing so inviting? One woman is certain; “It’s the best Reuben you will ever eat!” Don’t pass up Lynn’s spicy homemade Chili; she promises “It will "knock your socks off.”

The fresh Grouper Sandwich uses real grouper; it’s been a favorite for a decade.
Quite a few anniversaries, birthdays, and just great times together have been shared at Richie’s.
Want something lighter? Try the Turkey and Ham Club Sandwich (below).
Dinner offers more upscale choices: Salmon with creamy garlic mushroom wine sauce: Sautéed Grouper with lemon, wine and garlic: large Frog Legs with a lemon wine sauce: NY Strip Steak, and Chicken Vesuvius, baked with special spices.
Wine is $4.95, and beer is $2.95 to 3.95-where else in Naples is this affordable?

Desserts are big, home made, and all $5.95. My favorite is the scrumptiously moist Chocolate Cake, enough to feed 3 people, that comes with two scoops of vanilla ice cream. Lynn’s Strawberry Shortcake is a huge portion. Kids go for the Zebra; a crepe filled with vanilla ice cream, and topped with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar. I want to try the Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie and the Frozen Turtle Pie, rich with caramel and chocolate.

Faced with more cookie-cutter chain restaurants, people lament the “good old days”, and wish that Mom and Pop spots weren't dwindling. Here’s your chance today, to get a taste of how friendly and tasty a fine Mom and Pop restaurant can be. Bring a good appetite!

Richie's Restaurant, 947 3rd Ave North, Naples, Phone 263-2600


Unknown said...

Richi's is the best and will stay the best... The best food in the world...

Unknown said...

Without a doubt, whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner you will leave Richie's very happy. Where else can you eat with the owners, you know you are going to get great fresh food!!!!

Thanks for all the years of great food and company,

Dr. Thomas

Brian said...

This article hit the nail on the head! I was just visiting from California and had the best meals. The grouper with lemon and garlic was fantastic. For breakfast, the eggs Florentine is not to be missed. I couldn't believe the value for the price.

Anonymous said...

Wow, can't wait to check this place out!!!

Anonymous said...

Richies is the best place, i ate corn beef for breakfest on my visit to naples

you know who i am

RudigerVT said...

Agreed! We stumbled on this place during a day trip from Ft. Lauderdale. What a find. Fantastic food, lovely place and people. Y'all are lucky to have 'em.

tine said...

Well, I'm convinced! Now I just need a reason to drive in that direction....

Ivan Seligman said...


Come on down!

There's over 200 independent restaurants and good chains serving delicious food for starters, over 100 are listed on the upper left side of my blog. Then add beautiful beaches, shopping, ballet, opera, theater, etc...Well I came here 15 years ago and see no reason to ever leave!