5th Avenue South in Naples has always housed some of the finest restaurants in the area. One of the jokes, although it is not really a joke at all but a factoid, is that every year some 15 new ones come in and some 15 go out.
Sadly, the latest victim is Zen, a great place to just wander in when you felt like it, sit at the sushi bar, have a few drinks and wolf down some of the best sushi to be found anywhere in the land. Interestingly, the restaurant has come and gone twice in the past three years, but this time its demise is for good. For sure Zen wasn’t cheap, but it was always well worth it. Upon gorging on a Volcano to cap off an evening, often I would be presented with a bill well in excess of $100 and that was just for myself. As a matter of fact, I can’t ever remember a bill running less than $100, and that includes the times that I did take-out. But boy was it good!
The building is now quietly for sale for a reputed 5 million plus dollars. The woman who owns it, refuses to lease it again. Although it is not that old at all, has become somewhat of a white elephant because it has a checkered history of good restaurants coming in and then quickly vacating. I’m not sure I quite understand why, maybe it has to do with management or something else. There was talk about the first Zen and someone in management doing a bit of embezzling. (One of the co-founders was reportedly a member of the New Kids On The Block or one of those other boy bands). There also is talk of the building being full of mold…who knows.
All I know is that someone will come along and buy it, they always do and another in a long list of restaurant tenants will inhabit the place. Its a great spot on 5th Avenue South (at 4 corners), with a storied history, and at one time the hub of Naples. Maybe the next one will stick!
V.K. [Mel] Melhado PA
Fine Home Specialist
Preview Naples Properties, LLC