In the Know: Is St. George and the Dragon for sale?

TIM ATEN
St. George and the Dragon, 936 5th Ave. S., is for sale, but the more than 40-year-old restaurant remains open in Naples.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

St. George and the Dragon, 936 5th Ave. S., is for sale, but the more than 40-year-old restaurant remains open in Naples.

George and Marylin Ginos imported this classic British phone booth from England for their landmark St. George and the Dragon restaurant in Naples.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

George and Marylin Ginos imported this classic British phone booth from England for their landmark St. George and the Dragon restaurant in Naples.

Q: We had dinner at St. George and the Dragon in March and were told that the restaurant and proper­ty were up for sale. Since then, we have heard it has closed down completely. Having lived here since 1981, we are quite familiar with the history of that in­stitution. Any more news would be much appreci­ated.

— Paul Picher, Naples

A: Don’t count out St. George and the Dragon just yet. The 40-year-old restaurant remains open in Naples.

Perhaps someone stopped by when the res­taurant is closed Sun­days and Mondays out of season? Manager Marcia Bowser said the restaurant is always closed Sunday, but from May 7 until Oct. 1, it also is closed Mondays.

True, the property is for sale by owner Mary­lin Ginos, but it has been for sale for quite a while. That prime downtown real estate, 1.27 acres on Fifth Avenue South near Four Corners, has been for sale for at least six months as a redevelopment parcel, said Dougall McCorkle of Premier Commercial Inc. Asking price? About $5 million.

The landmark property at 936 Fifth Ave. S. is zoned C-2, which accommodates a variety of retail and office uses, according to highlights on its Premier sales flier.

“This property is equally-ideal for either a high-profile/high-volume restaurant, or a financial or corporate headquarters. There is a three-story height limit,” the flier notes.

The property’s sale would not necessarily foretell the restaurant’s closing. The new property owner could operate the restaurant or continue to allow the operation of a restaurant there.

One of the longest-running, family owned restaurants in Naples, St. George and the Dragon is a throwback to another era. The 270-seat restaurant opened in November 1969. Stepping into the dimly lit, old-school steakhouse with British accents is almost like stepping back in time when men traditionally wore jackets to dine out.

The 10,381-square-foot building dates to the early 1950s as the former home of Baroni’s Restaurant, and later the Other Place.

St. George and the Dragon is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for lunch, and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Call 239-262-6546.

Photo with no caption

POPEYES

Q: Any chance you would be able to find out if Popeyes ever plans on expanding into Naples?

— Wendy, Naples

A: Although Popeyes does not have immediate plans to locate one of its fried chicken franchises in Naples, it’s a possibility.

“There’s always a chance of that. There are several people looking into that possibility,” said Phil Puzzanchera, the operations director for 10 Popeyes units, including the only Collier County location, 302 N. 15th St. in Immokalee.

Although Popeyes’ corporate office does not have information about a future location in Naples, the company plans to expand elsewhere in Florida.

“Currently, Popeyes is seeking to launch an aggressive growth plan in Tampa and Orlando (designated market areas), which have both been identified as priority markets. The brand is seeking bold, passionate, multi-unit operators to join the system and expand the brand footprint in those Florida markets,” said Kelsey Schmitt, a company spokeswoman.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, formerly known as Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits until a rebranding a few years ago, marks its 40th anniversary this year. Popeyes, second only to KFC in that market, distances itself with a Cajun-influenced menu.

Founded in 1972 in New Orleans, Popeyes is part of Atlanta-based AFC Enterprises Inc. and has more than 2,000 restaurants in the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands and 26 foreign countries.

___

Have a local question? Email it with your name and city of residence to intheknow@naplesnews.com.

"In the Know" is published Mondays and Wednesdays in the Naples Daily News. Find a complete archive of "In the Know" columns at naplesnews.com/intheknow.

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 20

QueBonita writes:

The Dragon may be there for quite awhile if one is to believe the County Appraiser:
Land Value $ 700,000.00
(+) Improved Value $ 447,490.00
(=) Market Value $ 1,147,490.00

Here4Now writes:

Will be a sad day if St. George bites the dust. Love that place. It's like stepping back in time when you pass through the doors. They should give tours, it's almost like a museum. With all the trendy, see-and-be-seen BS restaurants that stink up this town, St. George keeps it real. Best prime rib anywhere I have ever eaten in my life, consistently. Also, if you have never been there for lunch, you've got to try their Hot Brown. Someone gave me the history of the hot brown, and told me that St. George's was the best ever. I don't know if it's the best, but it is incredible! Yes, there are some issues to contend with when dining there. The clientel is straight from the morgue. Truly is like dining at the old folks home, complete with the faint odor of urine from accidents past, and the occasional ripping fart from some half dead geezer who stopped caring about social graces sometime last century. Sadly, some of the restaurant's menu offerings cater to this clientel, meaning they taste like crap. Particularly the sides, and some of the appetizers. But, St. George, despite these obstacles, is still a place I recommend to everyone. Especially if you have some younger diners in tow - they'll get a real kick out of the relics that adorn the place (the decorations, not the other diners).

PeopleSpeak writes:

Build, baby, build!

Tear down that eyesore and give them a height variance - or better yet eliminate the limit! Put up a nice office building with first floor retail and get some corporate HQ to move in.

Do you know how many businesses are actually based on or near 5th Ave S? There are a number of offices with a handful of executives while the peons trudge through snow in places like suburban Twin Cities.

Imagine just one of those companies moving their staff to 5th Ave S with all of the regular daily visits from employees. Let's stop hyping the garbage out in Jonestown to prop up Barron Collier and actual pitch a desirable location to get real business here!

babbas writes:

Cool place but bad service.

anthonynaples writes:

They need to sale to pay their bills. No local company will supply them for not getting paid. Typically any given nite there are more staff than customers. Maybe if owners/mgrs worked a little harder and with less employees they could run a profitable business and pay their bills on time...

kcook writes:

Walked in that place once and we couldnt walk back out fast enough. Reeked of urine. The Depends smell is strong with that one.

Max_Headroom writes:

in response to anthonynaples:

They need to sale to pay their bills. No local company will supply them for not getting paid. Typically any given nite there are more staff than customers. Maybe if owners/mgrs worked a little harder and with less employees they could run a profitable business and pay their bills on time...

Hay Tony, it's either 'They need to sell...' or 'They need the sale...' but not 'They need to sale...'.

jt1120 writes:

^^^Max, I've given up on people using proper grammar and spelling (and proofing their submission before submitting it) a long time ago. BTW, it's "Hey," and not "Hay."

Love St. George's and love Popeyes.

swfl_ff writes:

It would be a shame to see another old Naples institution close up shop. St George along with the old Piccadilly Pub were the two big restaurants in downtown Naples for years. Most of the "wheeling and dealing" by the various "power brokers" in town were settled over lunch and cocktails in those two places for many years.

If St George closes then that will only leave the Pewter Mug and Kelly's Fish House left from the old guard of Naples restaurants .

I'm afraid what has happened to St George is simple. With no disrespect to anyone but a good share of their long time customer base have passed on plan and simple and the younger generations are not as interested in places like St George as were their parents. Add to that all the competition from the newer establishments along 5th Ave and all the chain restaurants that now line US41 it's no wonder St George's time may have passed.

Hopefully someone will buy the place and update it's operation much like the new owners of the Pewter Mug have done to bring that place back to life.

greathornedlizard writes:

in response to Here4Now:

Will be a sad day if St. George bites the dust. Love that place. It's like stepping back in time when you pass through the doors. They should give tours, it's almost like a museum. With all the trendy, see-and-be-seen BS restaurants that stink up this town, St. George keeps it real. Best prime rib anywhere I have ever eaten in my life, consistently. Also, if you have never been there for lunch, you've got to try their Hot Brown. Someone gave me the history of the hot brown, and told me that St. George's was the best ever. I don't know if it's the best, but it is incredible! Yes, there are some issues to contend with when dining there. The clientel is straight from the morgue. Truly is like dining at the old folks home, complete with the faint odor of urine from accidents past, and the occasional ripping fart from some half dead geezer who stopped caring about social graces sometime last century. Sadly, some of the restaurant's menu offerings cater to this clientel, meaning they taste like crap. Particularly the sides, and some of the appetizers. But, St. George, despite these obstacles, is still a place I recommend to everyone. Especially if you have some younger diners in tow - they'll get a real kick out of the relics that adorn the place (the decorations, not the other diners).

LOL! Not too many clients left in the 90-100 range, next up, that 85-90 year old bunch that plugs up US41N at Mel's Diner!

napleslady01 writes:

St. George lost their best chef of over 25 years and other staff because they couldn't pay them months at a time. They are going under because of bad management and that they haven't bothered to at least change the carpet in over 25 years! They need to clean house of management and decor!!

anotherPOV writes:

I inquired about Popeyes years ago(15?). I was told that someone already owned the franchise rights to this area and it was up to them to build. I don't know if the Popeyes Corp. can do anything if the owner of the franchise rights doesn't want to. Maybe the frnchise doesn't think there are enough southern people in coastal Collier to support a Popeyes.

SandnSurf writes:

The food at St. George and the Dragon is HORRIBLE. They have really gone down hill. Sometimes I would walk over there at lunch to grab a bite, but not anymore.

Here4Now writes:

in response to greathornedlizard:

LOL! Not too many clients left in the 90-100 range, next up, that 85-90 year old bunch that plugs up US41N at Mel's Diner!

Don't think you'll find the Mel's crowd ever going to St. George. It's not for the "light of wallet". But, for the best prime rib on planet Earth, I'll pay baby! Escargot are excellent too. French onion soup and vicchysouis (sp) are great as well.

Iggy writes:

in response to anthonynaples:

They need to sale to pay their bills. No local company will supply them for not getting paid. Typically any given nite there are more staff than customers. Maybe if owners/mgrs worked a little harder and with less employees they could run a profitable business and pay their bills on time...

Although some of the grammer is rough I will agree with this post. We know first hand how bad the owners of this restaurant are about paying bills. I would never do business with them again.

osamaisdead writes:

Where is channel 25?!?

HadYourPhil writes:

Love that chicken from Popeyes! And 'Another POV', I was told almost the same thing about Krystal. I would gladly patronize Popeyes and Krystal if someone would just build one, the other, or both.

Gifted1 writes:

Sad as it is, some Naples residents cannot tolerate a President for four years, but will drive out of their way to a restaurant that should be demolished because of the odor that seeps from it. Shows where their loyalty lays. Your nearly done with four years, and funny as it is, your getting another four....LOL

HAP writes:

Why in the world do you post pictures of their food? This is not an ad is it? But it would be sad if this place closed. Popeyes, oh please, don't ever open here. We don't need more fired food, grease, restaurants.

Iggy writes:

So does anyone know if St George is ever going to open back up? Seems they've left everyone, customers and vendors, in a lurch! Not surprising considering their always shady business practices!! Please do tell NDN.. do you know if they're going to leave everyone they owe hanging by closing down basically in the middle of the night??

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