The Shields Painting Difference: Perfection with Every Brush Stroke
Many painting companies in Florida rely on flashy marketing and big promises to try and attract new clients. But when it comes time to work, they fall short of their promises. This is often due to a lack of experience, qualified painters, and a drive to overachieve. At Shields Painting, we do things a little differently than other painting companies in Citrus County. We believe that a professional paint job should be as close to perfect as possible. Our goal is to leave you 100% satisfied, whether we're touching up an old residential paint job or performing a complex commercial project. It might sound simple, but we achieve that goal through honesty, hard work, beautiful results, and reasonable pricing.
As a family-owned and operated painting company in Pine Ridge, FL, we strive to provide personalized, professional, and friendly service. Shields Painting has been in business since 1968 for a good reason. Whenever possible, we go the extra mile to make sure our customers are happy. Unlike some of our competition, we want to know all about your house or business painting project: your vision, your preferences, your challenges, and your goals. When we understand your needs, we can present you with a fantastic final product - one that you're proud to show off to friends and neighbors.
At Shields Painting, we combine our extensive experience with time-tested, meticulous painting processes, resulting in the highest quality painting results around. As a painting contractor in Citrus County, we can take on a variety of residential, commercial, and industrial projects in Florida.
A few of our most popular painting services include:
- Interior Painting
- Exterior Painting
- Residential Painting
- Commercial Painting
- Cabinet Painting
- Ceiling Painting
- Fence Painting
- Sign Painting
- MUCH More!
Our commercial, industrial, and residential painting contractors take the proper steps to protect your property and belongings while we work. Our team will clean up after ourselves, so your property is left clean and free of debris when we're done. After all, we think there's only one way to do a job, and that's the right way.
Eco-friendly & clean work area.
PDCA Certified Member.
Your Go-To House Painting Company in Pine Ridge, FL
Your home is a haven of relaxation and solitude. It is uniquely you - a place where you can express who you are through style and design. Whether you need interior touch-ups for your crown molding or a new exterior coat of paint, hiring a reliable painting contractor is the best way to get quality results.
At Shields Painting, we know how important it is to have a home that highlights your tastes and personality. That's why we offer an extensive array of residential painting services in Citrus County. As tempting as it might be to try a DIY paint job, without the proper skills and experience, there is a good chance that the results will turn out less than satisfactory.
High-quality painting requires skill, experience, and patience. If you're a homeowner who needs residential painting services but doesn't have the time, patience, or skills to handle the job, look no further than Shields Painting. We offer accuracy, precision, and longevity with each paint job we perform. Our customers choose Shields Painting for their home because they receive:
- Free Quotes with Detailed Project Breakdowns
- Affordable Pricing
- Expert Painting Contractors
- High-Quality Paint Products
- Combo of Traditional and Modern Techniques
- Well-Maintained Tools
- Unmatched Craftsmanship
- Friendly, Personalized Service
- Good Old-Fashioned Hard Work!
The majority of our house painting services come in two forms: interior and exterior.
Interior Residential Painting
As an interior painting contractor with decades of experience, our expert technicians have developed an interior painting process that maximizes quality and emphasizes customer satisfaction. We understand that interior painting goes beyond aesthetics. It protects your ceilings and walls and helps you sustain a healthier place to live for your family. When only the finest craftsmanship will do inside your home, Shields Painting is here for you.
Our seasoned team of painting experts and craftsmen is dedicated to respecting your space and providing you with the look and feel you're craving inside your home. Whether you bought a new house and want to make it your own or need minor touch-ups but have no time, Shields Painting is ready to tackle the job, no matter how small or large.
Unlike some painting companies, our interior house painters take the time to get the details right, every time. For instance, color is only one aspect of your interior paint job. The paint sheen or finish is just as important. Certain finishes are better for living rooms and bedrooms than in kitchens and bathrooms. We'll help you find the right finish and paint colors for your home, so you don't have to worry about touch-ups or repainting.
Some of our most popular interior house painting services include:
- Ceiling Painting
- Popcorn Ceiling Removal
- Living Room Painting
- Bathroom Painting
- Basement Painting
- Color Consultations
Citrus County cabinet painting deserves its own section on this page because it requires more time, skill, and quality paint than most sections of your home. If your home's cabinets are built into its woodwork, replacing them can be obnoxiously expensive. Compared to the cost of installing new cabinets, painting your kitchen cabinets is much more affordable.
At Shields Painting, we specialize in transforming old cabinets into new, gorgeous features that are just as usable as they are beautiful. Each step of our cabinet painting process is meticulous and thorough. And we'll take care of the entire job, from cleaning, prep, and sanding to priming, painting, and reassembly. This unique service lets you enjoy a brand-new look in your kitchen without having to go into debt by replacing your cabinets.
Whether your cabinets are new, but you want to change their color or you'd like to transition wood cabinets to a painted finish, Shields Painting has the expertise and experience to give you a new look you'll love.
Exterior Residential Painting
Your home - it's a place that not only keeps your belongings safe. It protects your family and loved ones, too. It's one of your largest investments, and like anything else of value, it should be protected. However, Florida weather can take a toll on your home's structure and paint, lowering your home's value and even putting your family at risk.
While it's true that a beautiful exterior affects your house's value, it shouldn't take thousands of remodeling dollars to make a positive change to your home. There's a fine line between reasonable pricing and top-quality painting, and that sweet spot is what Shields Painting aims for. If you want to transform how your friends and neighbors see your home, never underestimate the power of a professional paint job.
Our exterior residential painting services are designed to boost curb appeal, give your home a fresh look, and help it stand up to Florida's unique weather. But we provide more than that. When you hire Shields Painting for your outdoor painting project, you will enjoy peace of mind in knowing that your home is in truly capable hands. Our goal is to exceed your expectations and help bring out the best in your property, whether you need to re-stain your deck or remove old, peeling paint from your siding.
If you're on the hunt for the very best exterior painting contractor in Pine Ridge, FL, look no further than Shields Painting.
Some of our most popular exterior house painting services include:
- Vinyl Siding Painting
- Deck Painting and Staining
- Stucco Exterior Painting
- Wood Exterior Painting
- Porch Painting and Staining
- Soffit Painting
- Fascia Painting
- Window Painting
- Front Door Painting
- Thorough Painting Prep
The Premier Commercial Painting Company in Pine Ridge, FL
When it comes to first impressions, your businesses' appearance plays an important role. Your commercial property's paint job factors into its overall aesthetics. A great-looking, well-maintained paint job can mean the difference between a customer walking in your storefront and passing by. Conversely, an old, worn-out commercial paint job can send the wrong message to prospective customers. If you can't take the time to keep up your property's appearance, why would a customer spend their hard-earned money on your products?
The same goes for your businesses' interior paint. Would you want to do business with a company that has peeling paint or unsightly crown molding? At Shield's Painting, our goal is to create a beautiful environment that your customers and employees will love inside and out. When you work with our business painters, you can rest easy knowing we treat your business like it were our own. We always clean up after ourselves and know that operations cannot come to a halt just because we're painting. As such, we'll work with your busy schedule to ensure the job gets done right the first time without disrupting your day-to-day commitments.
With decades of commercial painting experience, we know the demands of a commercial painting project necessitate a disciplined and focused approach from the start. Our team of business painters is committed to delivering quality, on-time results on every project, every time - no excuses
We offer professional business painting services to a variety of building types, including:
A high level of care and finesse are required to effectively paint an industrial property. At Shields Painting, we know that industrial paint jobs involve much more than aesthetics. That's why our industrial services are customized to your specifications, using industrial-grade materials that stand up to heavy-duty operations.
Retail Store Painting
Our commercial painters apply effective, yet appealing interior and exterior paint that stand up to the daily rigors of busy retail environments.
Small Business Painting
Do you own a restaurant franchise? Have a small "mom and pop" location that needs a fresh coat of paint? Shields Painting has the resources and reliability to efficiently get the job done the first time. That way, you can focus on serving your customers, not having your business repainted.
Healthcare Location Painting
From walk-in clinics to long-term care facilities, Shields Painting is sensitive to your patients' needs. We know you must protect your patient's privacy while maintaining productivity. Our approach to healthcare location painting centers around your schedule to avoid disruptions in care.
Apartment Complex Painting
Erase signs of wear and make your apartment complex or multi-family building a more desirable place to live with a stunning, professional paint job.
Florida's Most Trusted Painting Contractor
Shields Painting has been in the business since 1968. In a world where so much has changed, we are proud to uphold the ideals that make us successful: hard, honest work, getting the job done right, and excellent customer service. Providing you with trustworthy, quality work will always take priority over rushing through a project to serve the next customer. That is just not the way we choose to do business.
As professionals dedicated to perfection, we strive to provide a unique painting experience for every customer - one that focuses on their needs and desires instead of our own. Whether you need residential painting for your home or commercial painting for your business, we encourage you to reach out today to speak with our customer service team. Whether you have big ideas about a new paint project or need our expertise and guidance, we look forward to hearing from you soon.352-212-1533
Latest News in Pine Ridge, FL
8 unmarked graves occupy a busy intersection in Naples
FOX 4 News Fort Myers WFTXhttps://www.fox4now.com/news/local-news/8-unmarked-graves-occupy-a-busy-intersection-in-naples
Copy This Embed Code: Ad Posted at 12:17 AM, Jul 19, 2020and last updated 4:17 AM, Jul 19, 2020UPDATE : As of this morning The Collier County Museum Facilities Maintenance has made a temporary repair to the pillars. At this time the museum is working to permanently repair the pillars.-----Markers for the unknown, along the intersection of Pine Ridge Road and Goodlette-Frank Road in Naples, stand stone pillars for African Americans who resided in Collier County in the 1920s and early 40s...
Copy This Embed Code:
Posted at 12:17 AM, Jul 19, 2020
and last updated 4:17 AM, Jul 19, 2020
As of this morning The Collier County Museum Facilities Maintenance has made a temporary repair to the pillars. At this time the museum is working to permanently repair the pillars.
Markers for the unknown, along the intersection of Pine Ridge Road and Goodlette-Frank Road in Naples, stand stone pillars for African Americans who resided in Collier County in the 1920s and early 40s. These pillars known as “Plot N” were part of Rosemary Cemetery just one block away. However, due to segregation, and development, the alleged 7 adults and 1 child rest here, along this busy street.
Fred Saunders of Naples did some research finding out who might be buried underneath.
“ I stumbled across this story researching the railroads that used to run down here. The legend was that these were railroad workers that were buried alongside the railroad that now Goodlette-Frank Road. 80, 90, 100 years later it’s just a grass strip with four poles sitting there” said Fred Saunders.
Upset by the damage and lack of care of this sight Saunders says he wants answers.
“But what we do know is there there are pioneers that have been there for almost 100 years, and there is nothing but 4 concrete poles, 2 of them are dilapidated and laying in the bushes now,” said Saunders.
We reached out to Collier County museums for those answers, providing a place map of graves along us 41, they tell us, they are aware of the history that lies beneath.
“ Towards the end of May our staff went to check on Rosemary Cemetery, and drove around the corner and saw that those markers had been damaged, hit by a car a piece of lawn equipment or something,” said Amanda Townsend, Director of Collier County Museums.
Townsend says they have sent staff out to try and repair the damage.
“And what happened is when they went to straighten them, they weren’t just bent over but they were in fact broken off. So they staff laid them to the side until we can figure out the best way to repair them” said Townsend.
Townsend says at this time the land is privately owned and The Collier County Museum is working to gain ownership, but Saunders says, that's not enough, he wants pillars repaired and recognized properly.
“We need to mark this off, this need to be documented, researched, and if we can find out who is there let’s do that, but if nothing else let’s respect them from here on out,” said Fred Saunders.
Copyright 2020 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Golf course owner plans new homes, townhouses and recreation center
Golf courses nationwide have hit on hard times because the outdoor sport has fallen out of favor with many who would rather get the same thrills from a computer screen.The popularity decline has forced golf course owners to think out of the box and the new owner of the Pine Ridge Golf Club in Beverly Hills believes he has a way not only to keep his course viable but also bring needed housing to the entire county.Neil Surati, president/owner of Shanti Golf LLC, pitched a plan to Pine Ridge Property Owners Association members at ...
Golf courses nationwide have hit on hard times because the outdoor sport has fallen out of favor with many who would rather get the same thrills from a computer screen.
The popularity decline has forced golf course owners to think out of the box and the new owner of the Pine Ridge Golf Club in Beverly Hills believes he has a way not only to keep his course viable but also bring needed housing to the entire county.
Neil Surati, president/owner of Shanti Golf LLC, pitched a plan to Pine Ridge Property Owners Association members at a special presentation last week.
The idea is to close the 9-hole executive/par course and build the following on the 40-plus acres:
• 25-30 upscale townhomes, from $250,000 to $375,000.
• A recreation center with an office; walking trails, fitness center, indoor pool, tennis and pickleball court.
• Three- to four-story apartments for 55-and-older seniors who would pay rent from $900 to $1,200. There would be four buildings in all.
The ambitious plan still must clear the Pine Ridge Property Owners Association. Nothing has been submitted to the county.
One part of his project has already hit a snag.
Amy Bidwell, senior planner for county land development, said the affordable senior housing component would not fit on the property because it is designated as a golf course.
Bidwell, in a memo to Surati, said he would need to go through the comprehensive plan amendment and also needs an amendment to the Pine Ridge master plan.
Surati is so confident his idea will score a hole-in-one that he already plans to use the proceeds from the housing/recreation investment to improve the remaining 18-hole course.
“That is my goal,” said Surati.
Surati said he is well aware of golf courses closing around this area and he doesn’t want Pine Ridge added to the list. Surati bought the 126-acre Pine Ridge Golf Club in October for $600,000-plus.
“I see a need for housing (in Citrus County),” he said.
Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To see more of his stories, visit tinyurl.com/y6kb23vv.
Pine Ridge matters: Support for interchange at CR 486 inconsistent
A recent letter from Mike Perry, President of the Pine Ridge POA, to Kevin Thibault, Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation explains why the originally unintended but currently proposed County Road 486 interchange should be eliminated before ground is broken.There are plenty of backup reports and correspondence to support the information in this latest correspondence. The letter, attachments and back up information can be viewed online at: pineridgeassn....
A recent letter from Mike Perry, President of the Pine Ridge POA, to Kevin Thibault, Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation explains why the originally unintended but currently proposed County Road 486 interchange should be eliminated before ground is broken.
There are plenty of backup reports and correspondence to support the information in this latest correspondence. The letter, attachments and back up information can be viewed online at: pineridgeassn.com.
We recognize the Chronicle has already taken a position on the continuation of the Suncoast through Citrus County based on input from Rep. Ralph Massullo. We understand at least partially why.
In conversations with Ralph late last year, he advised the continuation of the three mile stretch from State Road 44 to C.R. 486 was to ensure the limited funds earmarked for State Road 589 were not reallocated to another state project. According to our State Representative, the interchange was simply an outgrowth of this intent.
On behalf of the Pine Ridge Property Owners Association (PRPOA), I was relaying to Mr. Massullo emerging issues and why there was opposition. The POA had been lulled into believing resident concerns would be eliminated by moving the interchange to Knoll Road (1,500 feet east from the Pine Ridge Boulevard entrance). Nothing could be further from the truth — but this claim and new FDOT renderings did calm protesting residents at a heavily attended special PRPOA meeting. The follow up FDOT action could now be pointed to as tacit approval in favor of the interchange — albeit moved. It should never have been so interpreted. The ruination of Pine Ridge is in the balance.
During the last quarter of 2020, the PRPOA was carefully moving forward with strategic opposition to the interchange. We came to learn the POA and the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) shared the same goal: to have the Suncoast II constructed swiftly and with as little impact as possible through Citrus. This translated into a bridge over C.R. 486 and no interchange.
Commissioners shared this position to the state via M-CORES. The PRPOA pivoted to support the BOCC in M-CORES meetings. To move S.R. 589 over C.R. 486 directly to Red Level became a joint quest.
Massullo subsequently moved the BOCC off this position — back to his position of having the interchange. His somewhat tenuous justification was Citrus “didn’t want to look silly” in Tallahassee. Of course there is more to it.
If you remember ninth grade civics, you understand the BOCC couldn’t be at odds with one of their voices in the Capitol. They needed his vote and voice to fund other local projects. Understandable.
This was about the same time Representative Massullo met with the Chronicle Editorial Board to bolster his agenda at the expense of Pine Ridge. Being able to reference a local media opinion provided some leverage shaping public sentiment. But for what you ask? That’s a good question and maybe a topic for a future guest article.
As we continued on with careful opposition it was Secretary Thibault telling us in our phone call we needed to get the County Commission on board or it could go nowhere. It was a standard statement. The BOCC was with us (and we were with them). And then they weren’t.
Let’s examine the word “silly” in this case. If silly means our local leaders are adaptive to changing information which supports the 10,000 residents of Pine Ridge — then give us those newly informed silly leaders. It means they are listening and evolving in their representation “of the people.” This is laudable, not laughable.
There’s a difference between evolution and vacillation. And as I advised Massullo, after experiencing budget engineering for most of my professional life, the money would be there before ground was broken. I wasn’t telling him something he didn’t already know. And here we are. SB 100 provides the standing our leaders need on behalf of a thriving 50-year community. We should all be glad there is finally a way forward — although it never should have been made this difficult.
As it turns out, Massullo’s reasoning became outdated with Gov. DeSantis’s signature on SB 100 which reallocates funds to the Suncoast — not the other way around. Our State Rep and Commissioners now have a clearer path forward for the people, the character and the quality of life in Pine Ridge. Their action on behalf of 10,000 people contributing $700,000,000.00 (yes, that’s million) to the Citrus County tax base matters.
Citrus Hills, Black Diamond and Pine Ridge are all unincorporated jewels. They are unique in their contributions to the Citrus economic engine and need to be guarded. Citizens in municipalities look to councils. Citizens in unincorporated areas look to POAs and HOAs who in turn look to their commissions. One location shouldn’t be sent into a downward spiral in favor of another.
Managing growth and progress for the benefit of long residing, tax paying citizens should be the priority. Taking care of the present with an eye for the future is just good business. We need our government representatives, no matter the level, to be open and fair minded for the current greater good. They shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers. Informed decisions carry the day.
Consider this: A C.R. 486 interchange, in addition to one operating at S.R. 44, would seriously increase the traffic headed toward Crystal River.
A close exam of any map illustrates westbound traffic from both the S.R. 44 and a C.R. 486 interchange will converge at the intersection of West Norvell Bryant Highway (C.R. 486), Gulf-to-Lake Highway (S.R. 44), and North Dunkenfeld Avenue. It will literally become a cluster.
The City of Crystal River will have some relief with the Turkey Oak Bypass — but Meadowcrest will become sandwiched between the traffic from both. Access to and from this housing will be stressful. Ingress and egress to both Meadowcrest and Crystal River will be impacted forevermore.
A continuation of the Suncoast to points east and north of Crystal River solves the Pine Ridge issue and minimizes the cluster. It’s also a significant cost savings. No interchange means more money for points north.
We already know as the Suncoast continues to I-10 it will go around municipalities larger than Crystal River. So why then is the “Crystal River area” targeted for as many as four interchanges?
Intervals south of Citrus are 15, 20 and 30 miles apart. Why would interchanges within Citrus be so close together? If the plan is to eventually have Crystal River overwhelmed with traffic, then so be it.
As many know, I have publicly supported the extension of the Suncoast. I think it’s vital to Citrus commerce. As the Chair of the Citrus2030 Public Safety Committee, I opined as much in a recent letter/article. Future BOCC budget plans should adequately account for our public safety professionals and their supporting casts as demands emanating from the expansion of the Suncoast within Citrus will require more service.
Overall, the Suncoast II plan is overdue for so many good reasons, not the least of which is there are more than 1,000 people a day moving to Florida. Career FDOT personnel are always looking to the future recognizing the need for improved transportation models to move people. It’s their job and they’re good at it. Senator Wilton Simpson and his staff have long recognized this and are well situated to support this transportation improvement. Kudos to all. It’s the S.R. 589/C.R. 486 interchange (it being the demise of Pine Ridge) currently in need of elimination. Did I say it has been thriving for 50 years?
So back to Pine Ridge. A close read of SB 100 illustrates how much latitude exists. This is consistent with providing the Florida Department of Transportation budget and engineering flexibility so as to work within local governments for the next 30 years. But should our current Citrus leaders not take collaborative action to eliminate the C.R. 486 interchange, Pine Ridge roads will funnel traffic from points north to the new entrance.
There are already problems with commuter and commercial traffic cutting through — but should the interchange be realized against the wishes “of the people” the exacerbation is hard to quantify in advance. We can estimate based on traffic already making its way on C.R. 491 and C.R. 486 it could be as much as four times more.
Most certainly the thriving character of the horse community as envisioned by the first major developer in Citrus County will be altered forever. Pine Ridge Estates — home to three generations of equestrians, golfing families and settlers from around the world could be ruined.
It is on this basis, and on behalf of the 10,000 informed residents and owners, we implore our state and county leaders to eliminate the interchange and return to the push for a Red Level terminus. The opposition has been well-founded because those who live there know — Pine Ridge matters.
Pete Cuccaro chairs the Roads Committee for the Pine Ridge Property Owners Association. He is the former chairman of the Citrus2030 Public Safety Committee. Cuccaro spent 33 years in law enforcement (police chief retired) and established consulting company CIMG, which services to major companies and national law firms on a select basis. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Rat infestation temporarily shuts down McDonald's Pine Ridge location in Naples
A Naples McDonald’s restaurant has been temporarily shuttered because of a rat infestation.The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation — tasked with all Florida ...
A Naples McDonald’s restaurant has been temporarily shuttered because of a rat infestation.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation — tasked with all Florida restaurant inspections — confirmed it received a complaint about rats Wednesday, April 13, for the restaurant at 6065 Pine Ridge Road in Naples, in the late afternoon.
“What normally happens, then, we will send an inspector, usually same day or early the next morning," Patrick Fargason, the state agency's deputy communications director, told the Daily News on Thursday afternoon.
Inspections: Two Naples restaurants spotless; emergency order issued for Marco Island spot
Naples restaurants: Two new grab-and-go cafes open; PJK's Neighborhood Chinese coming soon
"Our inspector went out to the McDonald’s first thing this morning, and the restaurant was closed. There was a sign on the door that said they would be open soon. Our inspector is in the vicinity and will return to conduct an inspection once open.”
"We did not shut down the establishment; apparently it was already closed," Fargason added. "We don’t know if it was the owner or McDonald’s. We haven’t been able to inspect the establishment."
The restaurant’s last inspection on March 11, 2022, cited one high-priority violation of a “vacuum breaker missing at mop sink faucet or on fitting/splitter added to mop sink faucet. Observed no vacuum breaker at splitter at mop sink.”
An intermediate violation during that inspection also noted “no paper towels or mechanical hand drying device provided at handwash sink. Observed no paper towel at handwash sink in back area. Operator provided paper towels,” which was corrected on-site.
Mike Adams, the McDonald's franchise owner, who did not return messages to the Naples Daily News earlier Thursday, shared a statement with NBC-2.
“We are committed to providing our customers and crew members with a clean and safe dining and working experience," Adams said in the statement.
"We were alerted to a concerning video circulating on social media and we take this situation seriously. Out of an abundance of caution, we are proactively closing this restaurant temporarily while we thoroughly deep clean and sanitize the restaurant and resolve this matter in coordination with our neighboring business within this building unit.”
Diana Biederman is the food and restaurant reporter for Naples Daily News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EJ’s expanding to second location at Meridian Cafe
Tim ATEN Knowshttps://naples.floridaweekly.com/articles/ejs-expanding-to-second-location-at-meridian-cafe/
Q: Do you know what is happening with Meridian Cafe on Pine Ridge? — Alete Adler, North NaplesA: Meridian Cafe will soon be EJ’s Meridian Cafe, the sequel to EJ’s Bayfront Cafe in Naples.Second helpings of EJ’s popular eggs Benedict varieties and banana-stuffed French toast could be the perfect breakfast lunch recipe for a smooth transition from Meridian Cafe to the new EJ’s, which fronts Pine Ridge Road just east of Livingston Road in Meridian Marketplace. After 10 years of success in Naples, EJ&r...
Q: Do you know what is happening with Meridian Cafe on Pine Ridge? — Alete Adler, North Naples
A: Meridian Cafe will soon be EJ’s Meridian Cafe, the sequel to EJ’s Bayfront Cafe in Naples.
Second helpings of EJ’s popular eggs Benedict varieties and banana-stuffed French toast could be the perfect breakfast lunch recipe for a smooth transition from Meridian Cafe to the new EJ’s, which fronts Pine Ridge Road just east of Livingston Road in Meridian Marketplace. After 10 years of success in Naples, EJ’s owner Eric Becker is excited about expanding his operation nearly 8 miles northeast of his original cafe. Becker is hoping to have everything in place to open his new cafe in mid-May.
“I’m really hoping it takes off. It’s a good location,” he said. “[Meridian Cafe] had a pretty good following and a pretty good reputation. I just want to come in there and, if I can’t do better, at least do what they were doing.”
Meridian Cafe operated from October 2017 until it closed in late January this year. EJ’s will be the third restaurant in that end unit. Sakura Hawaiian Grill preceded Meridian Cafe there.
Myles Strohl, the owner of Meridian Marketplace retail center, feels fortunate to have Becker moving in. “I think he’s going to be a good operator there,” Mr. Strohl said. “It’s exactly what we need to transfer from Meridian Cafe to EJ’s Cafe.”
Mr. Strohl said he is even going to share Meridian Cafe’s recipe book with Becker, who said he may add some items from the Meridian playbook. Chef Rae, who launched Meridian, wrote the book on tasty gluten-free fare. Mr. Strohl also should share the recipe book for Sakura, too, if it’s still available. Wouldn’t it be great to see the Hawaiian favorite loco moco on the new menu as a nod to the late Chef Paul Chen? Simple comfort food.
Mr. Becker really doesn’t need any pointers, though. He is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in St. Louis and started his chef career in country clubs. He was a partner at Eli’s Restaurant & Lounge in Carlyle, Illinois, the same Midwestern area where he also worked as a chicken egg farmer. So, you can bet he knows a thing or two about chickens and eggs — and maybe even which came first.
At EJ’s, eggs definitely come first. In addition to classic, bacon, garden, crab cake and smoked salmon Benedicts, EJ’s menu features scrambles, skillets and omelets. The breakfast lineup also has pancakes, waffles and specialties such as breakfast burritos, biscuits and gravy and even a half-dozen “healthy side” choices such as black bean cakes and an avocado toast platter. On the lunch side, EJ’s has more than 10 salad selections, burgers, sandwiches, paninis, wraps, soups and smoothies.
“We pride ourselves on our Benedicts and we sell a lot of our banana-stuffed French toast (made with Challah bread and rolled in cinnamon and sugar),” he said. “We also sell quite a bit of our salads, too, for lunch.”
Basically piggybacking off the success of the first EJ’s, which launched in March 2012, Mr. Becker is planning a mirror image of the Bayfront venue although he said he might jazz up things such as his avocado toast a little bit to please Meridian’s followers. “For the most part, it’s going to be the same old EJ’s that’s in Bayfront,” he said. “We’re just going to try to bring the same game to Meridian.”
Outside of a few additions such as a soda fountain dispenser, more coffee drinks and a dining room TV, expect some décor changes but maybe not right away. “Eventually we will,” he said. “I don’t know if we’re going to do that first off the bat.”
Since taking over April 1, Mr. Becker’s team has been working in the new space. “We’re in there. We’re kind of just going through everything right now,” he said. “We’re cleaning it up, just emptying it out, cycling through what we know that we need and kind of organizing everything.”
EJ’s Meridian will have 80 seats to start, which is the same as EJ’s Bayfront and what Mr. Becker’s team is comfortable serving. His new cooks are training now at Bayfront. “The kitchen’s a bit bigger at Meridian so we’ll have a little extra space, which will be nice,” Mr. Becker said.
Mr. Becker doesn’t schedule himself in the kitchen, but he does what needs to be done, he said. “I mean, one day I might be busing tables. One day I might be seating and greeting people. One day I might be flipping pancakes. I do whatever it takes,” he said.
He said he will probably divide his weekly schedule between the two restaurants by spending three days at Bayfront and three days at Meridian. The restaurants are open 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, so he’ll have a day off.
As a seasoned restaurateur, Mr. Becker knows the daily and seasonal hiccups faced by restaurants even in good times. “It’s always been tough,” he said. “You really have to enjoy it. I love every bit of it. I know it’s hard work, but I’ve been working hard my whole life.”
Roll with it
Q: When is Lobster Rolls in the Galleria opening? — Patricia Raco, Naples
A: Although large white letters spell out Lobster Rolls across the storefront in Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt, the name of the new eatery that launched April 7 is actually on the little red logo above the letters. Mystic Lobster Roll Company is open for business in North Naples.
Naples is the first location for Mystic Lobster Roll on Florida’s Gulf coast, and it is the new company’s first franchise with a bar that serves beer, wine, and hard seltzers. Of course, the concept’s bread and butter are its traditional and untraditional lobster rolls.
The new restaurant, 2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 148, is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. ¦