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Best Bets for Homestyle Comfort Food in Naples, Florida



Naples has been proclaimed a top U.S. foodie city by Conde Nast Traveler magazine, and that has a lot to do with its recent daring, break out of the mold cuisine. But for those who savor a good, hot, hearty, homemade repast, Naples offers a number of neighborhood cafes and restaurants where you will feel right at home. Most of these serve breakfast and lunch only in something of a retro, diner setting. Others, however, reflect Naples’ diversity with not necessarily typical American comfort food. Take for instance the Oyster House Restaurant in Everglades City. Most Americans would not consider frog legs and alligator tail comfort food, but that’s exactly what Everglades folk consider it. At Patric’s in Naples, the comfort food actually takes a turn for healthy with special gluten free Paleo diet menus featuring meat and leafy veggies.  

This list includes both of these unusual homestyle options as well as the ultimate ethnic comfort food – pizza and pasta – plus the all-American and Southern style diners where biscuits and gravy, country fried steak, meatloaf, juicy burgers, pot roast and mashed potatoes and homemade fruit or key lime pie sate that specific appetite that only homemade comfort dishes can. 


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Breakfast Plus
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Marco Island has a wealth of places devoted to breakfast; this one has the widest, most original and globally inspired selection of them all. Its two dining areas and counter are nothing fancy, occupying a corner of Marco Town Center. House specialties include the delicious New Orleans-inspired Egg Hussarde, kippers, scrambled eggs with chicken livers and grits, cheese blintzes, latkes, breakfast quesadillas, bread pudding with hot lemon sauce and Texas French toast stuffed with cream cheese and peach preserves. Breakfast is one until close at 2:30 (1:30 in summer). Lunch starts at 11 a.m. and includes a satisfying selection of salads and sandwiches such as an apple pecan wrap, reuben and turkey Philly.

Recommended for Homestyle because: It serves homemade comfort food for breakfast and lunch.

Chelle's expert tip: The Egg Hussarde is a delicious twist on eggs benedict with grilled tomato and a tasty marchand de vin sauce.

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Peppi's Pizzeria
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Naples has no shortage of pizzerias serving Italian comfort food along with subs and pies. This one is your typical strip mall variety with a strong local following. It is cliché down to the grape vine motif oil cloth on the tables and its counter seating. The Peppi Special pizza loads on the mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and cherry peppers. The Bella Italian has tomato sauce, mozzarella, peas and ricotta. Plus you find a list of ingredients from salami and prosciutto to pineapple and broccoli for custom designing your thin crust or deep dish pizza. Novelty items include pizza rolls and calzone. The menu also includes a handful of antipasti starters and salads, plus all the well-loved pasta dishes. For dessert? What else: cannoli and tiramisu. This place does not reinvent Italian cooking, but it does it Italian family style.

Recommended for Homestyle because: This is Italian comfort food at its finest. One take-out option is a family big pasta bowl with meatballs or sausage.

Chelle's expert tip: Eat in or call ahead for take out.

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Snook Inn
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Chickee bars are a signature form of the Naples area party scene, and at Snook Inn the open-air thatched roof structure also draws a lunch crowd looking for eye candy with their meal. The chickee at Snook Inn overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway and hosts live island music daily. You can also dine indoors – a popular summer option – with a view of local boat traffic on the so-called Marco River. That's where the restaurant's salad bar resides – a throwback to old-school lunching with a huge pickle barrel at one end. Sandwiches and seafood entrees dominate the lunch menu. Specialty items include gator sausage sliders, shrimp and lobster mac 'n' cheese, pot roast sandwich, spicy Cobb salad and blackened fish.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Florida's idea of comfort food: It has an old-fashioned salad bar and comfort seafood dishes.

Chelle's expert tip: Go early for a waterside seat and watch the dolphins and pelicans.

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Lulu B's Grill & Cafe
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


In retro diner style, Lulu B's rock and rolls back to an era of juke boxes and cherry cokes. Take a booth or a stool at the counter for breakfast or dinner. Bacon and cheddar pancakes, country fried steak, corned beef hash and an egg whites and veggies "Power Bowl" cater to breakfast whims traditional to healthy. Hamburgers and melts dominate the lunch menu in a variety of combinations, or design your own deli sandwich. Best of all, wash it all down with an old fashioned soda fountain drink such as a malt, root beer float or egg cream.

Recommended for Homestyle because: The setting, soda fountain and classic diner menu combine for a flashback, Mom-and-apple-pie dining experience.

Chelle's expert tip: Save room for a slice of one of Lulu's famous homemade pies.

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Oyster House Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


The essence of the Everglades, it serves the requisite fried froglegs, alligator tail, stone crab claws and other seafood in addition to its namesake dish. Try the sauteed gator nuggets appetizer with chips and homemade pico de gallo, fried oysters or the signature coconut macadamia grouper on a bed of marmalade and the key lime pie. Or bring in your own (fileted) catch for your choice of preparation. Taxidermy-preserved black bears, bobcats, wild turkeys, deer and a rattlesnake stare down at chunky wood tables. Some have a view of the bay across the street, but you'll likely be distracted with all the pictures, slogans, clippings, license plates and mural that claim space on the wood-panel walls. To walk off lunch, take the boardwalk next door to the bay or climb the observation tower for an Everglades overview.

Recommended for Homestyle because: This is Everglades comfort food at its best - alligator nuggets, frog legs, fried oysters and locally caught grouper.

Chelle's expert tip: If you're planning to do an Everglades boat or kayak tour, stop here for lunch; it's right across the road from the visitors center.

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Spanky's Speakeasy
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


As its name suggests, this is an old-school kind of place that still does a salad bar and throws back to the classic comedy series "Spanky and Our Gang." It has been a Naples fixture since the '80s. Happily, the prices are a bit of a throwback as well, thanks to its location well east of downtown and the beach. Serving all-American specialties, Spanky's offers an extensive menu of burgers, cold sandwiches, wings and a nice selection of salads at lunch. Dinner adds steaks, ribs, seafood, pasta and chicken to the menu. There are a few tables on the back porch overlooking a canal, but most take to the cool dining room decorated with memorabilia.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Retro in ambiance, Spanky's feels like a nostalgic trip down culinary memory lane.

Chelle's expert tip: Spanky's prides itself on its juicy prime rib in sizes from 12 to 16 ounces.

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Trail Cafe & Grill
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


As cheerful as a grandmother's dining room, Trail Cafe welcomes diners from the neighborhood and beyond who relish its brand of good old made from scratch cooking for breakfast and lunch. the extensive menus cover everything from pancakes, crepes and eggs to meatloaf, tuna melt and Philly cheese steak. Its two cozy dining areas fill for breakfast, where folks fill up on egg skillets and breakfast sandwiches.All American favorites on the lunch menu include Cobb salad, patty melt, fish and chips and Monte Cristo sandwich. Its homemade chicken, tuna and potato salads are so popular, they are available by the pound.

Recommended for Homestyle because: The menu is all about homemade, all American comfort food.

Chelle's expert tip: Trail Cafe is known for its homemade muffins. You can even order them grilled.

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Patric's
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Patric's has a split personality. On one hand, the charming little retro café loads up diners on comfort food such as muffins, pot roast skillet and bacon benedict for breakfast; and deep fried hot dogs and bacon and pbj sandwiches for lunch. Then there's Patric's healthy side – its well designed salads such as grilled salmon with feta cheese and orange basil dressing and veggie Portobello wrap sandwich. But its ultimate tip of the toque to healthy eating is its Paleo breakfast and lunch menus. These follow guidelines for the mostly meat and leafy greens regime of the grain and gluten free Paleo diet. Breakfast and lunch sandwiches come on gluten free bread or sans bread at all. The burger, for instance, comes on a bed of lettuce and tomato and is available with bacon, a fried egg or avocado.The kitchen is so skilled you won't even miss the grains.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Comfort food such as spicy wings, fried green tomatoes and steak and eggs are homemade and delicious.

Chelle's expert tip: The Cali Benedict is delicious - served without an English muffin on a bed of fresh spinach, tomato and avocado.

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Joe's Diner
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Eat at Joe's! the sign outside commands, predictably. The popular North Naples diner is cliche in many ways – from its counter seating to its comfort food. Checkered tablecloths under glass top the usually packed tables. Photos of Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and retro baseball players hang on the walls – along with a flat screen TV. (You guessed it - the "Joe" is DiMaggio.) The extensive breakfast menu is available until close at 3 p.m. In addition to traditional breakfast dishes such as pancakes, chipped beef on toast, sausage gravy and biscuits and eggs benedict, Joe's Diner goes off the diner grid with sweet or savory crepes, a killer pot roast benedict, blintzes and healthy concoctions such as the Tahitian parfait, granola wheat germ pancakes and egg white or eggbeaters options. Breakfast stars here, but you can also order specialty burgers, grilled sandwiches, salads and platters of meatloaf, fried chicken and open faced roast beef.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Diner style specialties include meatloaf, fried chicken and open faced roast beef sandwich.

Chelle's expert tip: Order the side of peaches option at breakfast. They come from a can but are heated and spiced for tastiness.

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Old 41 Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Open for breakfast and lunch only (until 3 p.m.), it tastes like eating at home - especially if you are from Philly. Then you will likely order the Philly Breakfast with Taylor pork roll or scrapple or the Philly cheese steak served on genuine, Philly-imported Amoroso rolls. Even non-Philly guests will love Old 41's made-from-scratch offerings: fresh-ground Colombian coffee, corned beef hash homemade from Boar's Head meat, an incredible Texas French toast with homemade caramel and pecans, Carbon's malted Belgian waffles, Boar's Head hoagies, hot roasted turkey or beef sandwiches and homemade rice pudding. The setting is a simple strip mall storefront - bright, clean and friendly.

Recommended for Homestyle because: You don't have to be from Philly to appreciate the home-cooked goodness here.

Chelle's expert tip: For breakfast, the Texas French toast is the bomb. The cheese steak sandwich? The best around!

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Meet Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton – the Local Expert for Naples, Florida and the Caribbean – has been covering the destination for 30 years. Her top-selling Sarasota, Sanibel Island, and...  More About Chelle

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