Ridgway Bar and Grill (RBG) is located in what some call the Old Naples Historic District; south and southwest of the city center. The owner, Tony Ridgway, was one of the first to bring fine dining to the Naples area almost 50 years ago. He is self taught. Through European travels, he brought his culinary experiences back to an area that at the time had only about 40 restaurants. Few of these offered what was more commonly referred to back then as “haute cuisine”. This started to change when back in 1971 Chef Ridgway opened The Chef’s Garden. Although other Naples restaurants are presently under his purview, RBG has been in its present location and branding since 2001.
The restaurant is located in a very pleasant area of Old Naples. I love the outside dining area here on the patio with its gingham tablecloths and fresh flower baskets. One is apt to be quickly put at ease in this environment while perusing their menu deciding what to order.
The first thing ordered was the skillet-roasted mussels, a starter on the Lunch Menu.
In retrospect, this was the star of the meal here. Mussels are roasted in a marinara
sauce of tomato, garlic, wine, clam juice, basil, butter and olive oil. In my mind, this dish is all about mopping up its marinade with the bread usually served with it. The restaurant does a superb job with this, topping the mussels with a generous portion of very absorbent focaccia for dipping. The flavors here were great and the mussels served a decent size. I highly recommend this starter to anyone dining at RBG.
I followed this with their roast beef stack
sandwich. There was a very nice portion of roast beef on this sandwich which is garnished with an onion ring and served with horseradish sauce. Horseradish sauce is a classic beef condiment. It is typically made from prepared horseradish, sour cream, mayonnaise and an acid note such as lemon juice or vinegar to help combine the ingredients. The sandwich is served with a choice of fries, fruit or slaw. I chose the latter, wanting to top my sandwich with cole slaw. It was good and a different tac from our starter.
My dining companion ordered a brunch menu item, The Sweet Corn Grits Cake. The brunch menu items was served until 2:30 on the Saturday we were there, as was the full lunch menu.
The base of this dish was a grit cake peppered with sweet corn kernels. A sausage (andioulle and Italian) sweet pepper stew topped this followed by egg, pico de gallo and cilantro microgreens. Haas avocado slices sealed the deal. This dish was excellent. The whole corn kernels really complemented the grits mixed with them as they should. Like usually goes well with like. The sausage stew was another really good flavor combination; the Italian sausage diluting out the fieriness of the andioulle and adding a very robust level of flavor. Cilantro microgreens served here really complemented the pico de gallo having much less sharpness than mature cilantro making this dish as a whole also highly recommended.
The items ordered at RBG for lunch that day were good to excellent. I have eaten here many times and never had a bad meal. The service was on the whole very good though we did need to prompt our server to fill our water glasses which was only really a minor flaw.
As is often the case in Naples, good food and ambience when dining out is not inexpensive. The items ordered, with only Naples tap as a beverage came to $70 with tip. As much as I enjoy dining here, this leaves lunch for two in the special occasion category for me being in the tax bracket I am in.
RBG is a Naples classic and another establishment adding richness to the area’s culinary scene. As long as you’re in the area, you are close to another Naples classic, The Naples Pier, a walk down and back a very nice end to a meal here or in the area.
That’s that for another post on Forks.
Ridgway Bar and Grill
254 13th Ave. S.
Naples, FL 34102
Ridgway Bar and Grill Website
Open 1130 AM-930 PM Monday-Friday, 10 AM-930 PM Saturday and Sunday; Lunch served from 1130 AM-230 PM daily, Brunch served from 10 AM-230 PM Saturday and Sunday. Shortened lunch menu available from 230-430PM, dinner from 430PM-close; All major credit cards accepted.