When you order a grouper sandwich, you don't want to bite into a fillet of Malaysian swap, Tonga from Cambodia or farmed Indonesian such. There were 93 cases of fake grouper statewide in 2007, 45 percent of the year's 207 food misrepresentation complaints.
Meanwhile, the restaurateurs who pay higher prices to buy real grouper and the fishermen who travel 60 miles to 150 miles offshore to catch the fish are upset that some business owners aren't being honest with customers. Restaurants serving food in Florida are inspected by the state agency about every six months.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation doubled the minimum fine for restaurants from $250 to $500 for a first offense, the state Attorney General is investigating nine distributors including Sysco Food Services that serves Southwest Florida and the Department of Agriculture has created a Website with photos to help customers identify grouper. Dino's Restaurant at 1575 Pine Ridge Road in Naples had grouper on its lunch and dinner menus, but when the inspector visited in summer 2007, there was no grouper on site, according to the state agency's report.
There was tilapia that was farm-raised in Honduras, and base swap fillets from Vietnam; no grouper invoice was available. The restaurant doesn't secretly substitute another fish for grouper, said Dino Relic, its chef and owner.
If you'd sat down at Dino's that night for dinner and ordered grouper, the wait staff would have told you it wasn't available, he said. The tilapia is used for a dinner special and the base swap was for a lunch buffet, he said.
But rather than flying to Tallahassee to contest the agency's complaint, Relic paid the fine and took grouper off his menu. At Creekside Restaurant at 21131 Country Creek Drive in Ester and the Club at Alongshore Lake at 11399 Phoenix Way in Naples, there has been a total turnover of staff since grouper complaints were filed, managers said.
Creekside Restaurant no longer serves grouper, said Richard Montoya, head chef. The Club at Alongshore Lake is careful to serve the real thing, said Sharon Murphy, general manager.
Attempts to reach owners and managers at Goldie's Restaurant, J D Jags Rib house & Grill, Old Florida Gulf Club and the North Naples Rib City for comment were unsuccessful. Meanwhile, because of complaints from restaurants in the Tampa-Bay area about vendors, the Florida Attorney General's office has subpoenaed nine distributors, including the national Sysco Food Services.
... You can't tell me that any restaurant owner, any chef, doesn't know what he's buying,” McDonald said. Black grouper, usually the most expensive kind, costs Pitchers about $11 a pound wholesale, McDonald said.
It's probably more important to deal with a reputable purveyor that's buying local fresh domestic products.” At Grouper & Chips, which has restaurants at 338 U.S. 41 N. in Naples and on Immoral Road near Inch North Naples Hospital, fresh grouper arrives nearly every morning to be cut and stored before the lunch rush starts.
A plastic bin filled with 14 forearm-length fillets of red grouper arrived at about 9 a.m. Friday at the Naples restaurant. Francis Pitcher, who owns the restaurants with his wife, Pam, sliced the thick pieces into sandwich-sized portions, talking as he worked.
The red grouper served at Grouper & Chips comes from IncredibleFresh Seafood, a Naples -based company that buys from fishermen in Everglades City, Isles of Capri, Naples, Fort Myers Beach and Tampa, said Rich Cahoot, president. But if customers have questions, they should ask restaurateurs where their grouper comes from, said both the Pitchers and McDonald of Pitchers Crab Shack.
On a fishing trip last week, Dramas Kirk paused long enough to show his disdain for farm-raised fillets being passed off as his hard-earned catch. Kirk and other commercial fishermen are held to rigid standards set by the state and federal government on the handling of their catch.
Government crackdowns on restaurants selling fake grouper didn't help business for commercial fishermen either, he said. “A lot of restaurants realized it wasn't worth the hassle of dealing with being fined and took it off the menu,” Schmidt said.
Reviewed January 26, 2020, Used to live in Naples many year sago and decided to revisit this place on a recent trip. This place is also hard to spot from Tamiami Trial.
Reviewed November 17, 2019, The grouper my father ordered was under-cooked, but the staff immediately replaced the order with a properly prepared serving. Reviewed April 27, 2019, via mobile With all the “white cloth” dinner places where you pay for the environment you are eating, this is not that place.
If... I lived closer Grouper Grille would be a weekly dinner for me. Reviewed February 27, 2019, Unfortunately we only found this restaurant at the end of our vacation in Naples.
The food was delicious, authentic and portions very generous. The menu offered multiple selections which made it a difficult choice.
Reviewed February 10, 2018, This place looks like it just changed hands recently. Traces of a Chinese or sushi takeout are visible.
Reviewed January 28, 2018, via mobile Wish I could experience this meal on a daily basis. I believe I found one of the best seafood places in Florida tonight.
Going alone to any restaurant can be lonely, but at this one in particular I felt a friendly atmosphere and very welcomed...by the servers and other guests. My meal of their house grouper came out impeccable and perfectly cooked with plenty of succulent juices.
Reviewed January 28, 2018, via mobile Absolutely phenomenal! Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
A 16-year-old girl who went deep-sea fishing recently for only her second time, reeled up an estimated 583-pound Goliath grouper, which dwarfs the women’s world record for the species. “I was, like, in shock pretty much,” Reagan Werner told the Trinities Pioneer Press on Saturday.
Werner, who is from Farmington, Minn., was fishing May 31 near Marco Island off Florida with her brother, mother, and stepfather. “These things have amazing power,” Paul Hartman, Werner’s stepfather, told the Pioneer Press.
According to the International Game Fish Assn., the heaviest Goliath grouper caught by a woman weighed 366 pounds. Thanks to the longstanding harvesting ban, the population is growing and larger fish are again being encountered by scuba divers and catch-and-release anglers.
Take one step in the wrong direction and you would have bumped into the shot of a camera woman tucked into a corner. Granted, the long-standing Naples restaurant with only eight tables is usually a packed house, especially during season, when customers crowd the counter at lunchtime for take-out orders of that fresh, delicate Florida fish.
The TV series, which launched its first season in January, seeks out the “little-known spots and haunts,” and highlights “the people who are changing, challenging and strengthening a destination.” In “Places to Love,” Brown has showcased cities such as Houston, Brooklyn, New York, and Huntsville, Alabama.
Cameras were rolling Tuesday as Pitcher and Brown chatted about the restaurant's humble beginnings over a plate of food hot from the kitchen. They sat at a round table in the center of the restaurant, underneath a light kit that had been mounted to the ceiling.
Customers filled in the rest of the seats in the background, chatting with hushed tones and munching on coleslaw. A few year sago I lived in Naples, Florida, and was fortunate to be able to eat out almost every night.
For people who love dining and drinking, Naples is a virtual paradise. You can sit inside or outside depending on your inclination or the weather.
That thin crispy delight, added to their Campbell House Salad, kept me happy for hours. All of their pasta is made in house, and they have it all from Spaghetti Alley Chiara to Linguine Fine with clams, whole chili, white wine, and garlic.
Their main entrées are prepared on a wood fire rotisserie and grill. There specialties include pan roasted black grouper, balsamic glazed short ribs, and sautéed snapper ricotta.
Campbell has an extensive wine selection ranging from affordable to second mortgage territory. Dinner is 500pm to 1000pm Sunday through Thursday, and 500pm to 1100pm on Friday and Saturday.
Our Facebook page has more than 101,638followers who love off the beaten path Florida: towns, tourist attractions, maps, lodging, food, festivals, scenic road trips, day trips, history, culture, nostalgia, and more. Known for thousands of miles of coastline, Florida ’s sugar-fine sand beaches and sunshine attract over 110 million visitors annually.
Don took me to Paradise Key, by far the quietest and most peaceful place I’ve ever experienced in Florida. Paradise Key’s beach is littered in the biggest shells I’ve seen outside a gift shop.
You’ll find horse conchs, the Florida state shell, as big as your head! Crazy fact: It takes one tiny drop of water a full year to traverse the 100 mile, slow moving river that makes up the Everglades.
Everglades Area Tours 238 Mamie St. Chokoloskee Island, FL 34138 Reservations: 800-860-1472 Information: 239-695-3633 This sugar-fine white sand beach stretches for seven miles, with the turquoise Gulf of Mexico waters lapping at its shores.
The Naples Pier is not only the symbol, but the gathering spot for residents and travelers wanting to experience the big moment. Philanthropists Mr. and Mrs. Lester Norris paid $130,000 to rebuild the pier again, rather than add the cost to local taxes.
The historic Naples Pier is located on the Gulf of Mexico at the West end of 12th Avenue South. Naples is a ritzy town with sophisticated shops and restaurants, but it also is nicely balanced by its relaxed and welcoming vibe.
Chef Vincenzo owns three restaurants on 5th Avenue alone, but Bar Julia is unique. It’s small and cozy with a farmhouse vibe, and doesn’t take reservations (which is huge here– people in Naples like to make them).
Meander down the property’s paved path, winding nearly a mile past rare and beautiful animals. You’ll see lions, giraffes, monkeys, pythons, and bears, as well as a rare cat that’s native to Florida.
Zookeeper Mary-Kathryn Mitchell introduced me to Athena, a panther who was abandoned by her mother in the wild. Unfortunately, their male panther, UNO, died shortly after we filmed this segment from complications of his injuries.
The whole purpose of the habitat is to educate Floridians and tourists alike about the big cats living in their backyard. Visitors can take part in the Backstage Panther Experience an intimate six-person interaction where you see the mission of The Naples Zoo in action.
When it comes to great food, I always like to find hidden gems tucked away in unassuming strip malls. I met up with restaurateur Pam Prisoner at Grouper and Chips, the restaurant she’s owned for 25 years.
Today, that same recipe has earned her the title of #1 fried grouper sandwich in Southwest Florida. A few things make her food special, including the fact that all the fish is delivered fresh, daily.
Marco Island is known for its wildlife, beaches, and calm waterways, perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding. I met up with Christina Ortega and Taylor Rydberg, both members of the musical group, The Woodwork.
In the land of Jimmy Buffett cover bands, their folk-meets-jazz with a little of swing is a delightful discovery. Founded in 2016, this group of talented musicians got their name from the idiom “out of the woodwork,” symbolizing a close tie with the mystery of the natural world.
However, Big Cypress National Preserve Naturalist Trish Elder changed my mind about that. Once you get over the fact that there may be snakes and gators very nearby, you’ll find yourself floored with the sounds, scents and understated sights of this foreboding place.
The gulf may get all the press in this part of Florida, but once you see this state through the eyes of photographer Clyde Butcher, you’ll start finding beauty elsewhere. For over 55 years, Clyde has captured the essence of Big Cypress in his beautiful black and white images.
He spent time shooting photos in Yosemite and would meet hundreds of people on the path. Clyde thinks of himself as an educator rather than an artist, showing visitors how to see the beauty in his backyard (not to mention how you don’t need to be afraid of the gators and snakes).
Big Cypress Gallery 52388 Tamiami Trail Ocoee, FL Phone: 239-695-2428 Open 7 days a week 10am-5:00pm The building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was designed mainly to handle freight.
Since Russell’s death, the museum has been operated as an open access, educational institute devoted to the procurement, preservation, study and display of artifacts and materials related to the history, culture and contributions of African Americans in Charlotte County. Today, a large portion of the swamp is within the boundaries of the Big Cypress Reservation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
Here at Historic Small wood Store you will learn the story of the pioneers and settlers who tamed this vast wilderness. Displays and 19 carefully preserved buildings tell the story of those who struggled to tame a sprawling wilderness on the edge of the Big Cypress Swamp at the turn of the last century.