The Warehouse 2 Years From Inception

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Hello Naples Foodies,

I took a few hours off this week to have lunch with my favorite Naples Foodie and wildly detailed set designer who assisted me with my Naples real estate videos. If you haven’t checked them out, you should. Before you head over there, see what we had to say about The Warehouse on nearly the exact 2 year birthday of this unique Naples restaurant.

The Naples, Florida restaurant selection is quite fierce when it comes to amazing dishes and ample options and because of that, we are attracting not only foodies from around the globe but talented chefs as well. When we say incredible Naples restaurants nearly all of us think of 5th Avenue or 3rd Street South and maybe those peppered up and down Tamiami Trail or positioned proudly in Mercato but the Forgét family had other unique ideas of what they could bring to the table.

Their initial story has already been told so I’m going to drill more into what they’re doing now. We all have heard 30% of new business fail within the first two years so let’s start with a “yaaasss congratulations on making the cut!” Their milestone might have a little to do with their vision and why they ventured so far north and east compared to their culinary counterparts. This family put a twist on things by actually going after the locals. Say what? Us locals know that our best restaurants really thrive on our snowbird business so much in fact that some restaurants in the past kinda turn their nose up at those who stick around all year long. Not the Forgéts. Their true intention was to bring unique and yummy morsels to those year-rounders who didn’t always want to make the hike all the way to the coast for a true culinary experience. They also wanted to embrace them by truly appreciating their patronage by offering exceptional service and amazing food at a better value.

Because Raquel (foodie partner in crime) and I were doing a lunchtime review, we attempted to keep it lighter than a normal venture but we ended up choosing 7 things off the menu and tasted 2 signature cocktails. Here they are:

  • Beer cheese soup
  • Pei muscles (garlic wine creme sauce and marinara because we need to know them both lol)
  • Shaved brussel sprouts
  • Cheese ravioli
  • Chili-Lime pork tacos
  • Bacon creamed corn
  • Espresso flan

Cocktails:

  • Raquel went for the “Old Man’s Margarita”
  • I tried the Grapefruit Sangria

Kevin Forgét (General Manager) was manning the bar (How lucky were we?) and for 1:00 on a Friday afternoon it looked like many restaurants during the 3rd week of June. People were popping in and picking up take-out, there were a few seated at tables and a few at the bar. The Warehouse does have that dark upper scale “warehousey” feel and it was dark which was a welcome respite from the “feels like 108 degrees/brighter than the sun” we were experiencing on the way over. Hahaha!

Kevin couldn’t have been more polite and attentive by taking the time to explain what the hot sellers were and his personal favorites. He even took time to explain how some of the items came about on the menu which offered a very welcoming warm embrace opposed to the all too often “what do you want” routine we might see in other locations. He did this while being mindful and insightful of the others at the bar by saying, I’m so sorry I need to check on these folks, I’ll be right back”. I mean, he has the whole customer service thing down like a master of his trade. He describes the menu like someone might describe an incredible vacation yet he did not overpromise anything either.

The Cocktails

Our cocktails were wildly refreshing. My grapefruit sangria had the perfect amount of sweet and tang and while I’m not typically a day drinker, the taste and the fact that it was a belated birthday celebration made it all feel wildly ok. Hahaha. I also had a taste of Raquel’s margarita. That margarita was just like I remembered from before all of those nasty cheap margarita mixes hit the market. It was flavorful and offered an incredible reminder of when life was a little less fabricated. It may have had something to do with the Amaretto….they were both gorgeously delightful!

The Food

Ok, before I describe the food, one note, we ordered things neither one of us may have ordered on our own and that may be the most interesting thing of all. I don’t know about you but when I go out, I usually look for something I like and I know. I rarely venture into stuff I think I don’t like. Do you?

Beer Cheese Soup

I don’t know about you but I don’t EVER order soup in Florida in June for all of the obvious reasons. But I’m glad we did. I think in my mind reading the name of the dish made me want it to be a dip…not a soup but out it came. It was served with a fresh pretzel roll and it tasted ridiculously amazing. It was decadently rich and creamy! I’m happy to announce I did not lick the bowl but it was definitely “lick the bowl” worthy! Raquel and I both gave the beer cheese soup a 10 out of 10.

Pei Muscles

Kevin was very specific about saying if they even think there might be a problem with the freshness of the muscles, they throw them out which may not always be the case with some of his area competitors. We tried both the creamy garlic sauce and the marinara sauce. I’m telling you…that creamy garlic sauce will make you want to lose your mind and when Kevin said they get a ton of people who order more bread just to mop up what’s left in the bottom of the bowl, I understand completely. The marinara sauce was exceptional as well but after tasting the creamy garlic it was hard to even pay attention to the marinara. Yes, marinara has way fewer calories for those diet conscious individuals but for me, it’s totally worth an extra hour on the bike to splurge for the other. Raquel and I both gave the muscles with both sauces a 10 out of 10.

Shaved Brussel Sprouts

The brussel sprouts were sautéed but for the life of me, I can’t tell you how they were flavored. I think the best part about them is they didn’t come in little lettuce balls like I expected them to be presented partly because I didn’t read the title and secondly because the childhood scars wouldn’t allow me to think they could be prepared differently. They had a really good flavor and didn’t stink which was a triple bonus considering there isn’t one person on the planet that has gotten me to try them in my adult life. Guess what! They weren’t bad. They had an amazingly fresh taste but not overpowering and that’s coming from the girl who has refused them since she was 7 years old. Would I order them again? I doubt it. Raquel, however, is a brussel sprout aficionado and she gives them a 9 which is also the lowest score we gave on our entire adventure.

Cheese Ravioli

This came with the marinara sauce as well and just as we had been told, they had that “fresh just made for us” taste. They make the pasta fresh every day with their impressive high tech pasta maker. The sauce was really good and the ravioli were abundantly flavorful. I think now though is an appropriate time to thank whoever the genius was who talked Chef Bobby Forgét out of opening a ravioli food truck and into a full-fledged restaurant because while these were good, there were several other things we LOVED even more. We gave the ravioli a 10 out of 10.

Chili-Lime Pork Tacos

If I am not a connoisseur of brussel sprouts, I am one of tacos. These were AMAZING! If I had any regrets about this dining experience it would be that I didn’t order the tuna tacos too. These pork tacos are LOADED with all sorts of ingredients that offer a very flavorful taste and maybe a little more stuffing than what will actually either fit in your mouth or on the taco or both. That is WAY BETTER than some of the other tacos in town where you get way more tortilla than filling, wait an entirely long time and pay a ton for not very much. The pork was tender and just really good and while pork has a reputation of being greasy, there was nothing greasy going on here. 10’s all around from both of us.

Bacon Creamed Corn

This is a weird dish in that I don’t want corn for an appetizer but it came highly recommended too and we didn’t feel like we’d be getting the entire experience if we didn’t order it. Kevin explained how it too was freshly prepared and cut directly off the husk. Other magic ingredients were added and It was really good. I think it fits better as a really interesting side dish more so than an appetizer but that’s just our thinking. Raquel gave this a 10 and after thinking about it a bit, I give it a 9. It could also be because I ate more food in that sitting than I had all week and it’s hard to be equally impressed with 7 different offerings.

Espresso Flan

What’s a birthday without a dessert? We picked the espresso flan largely to help skirt the food coma we knew was coming our way. Like everything else, it offered a rich and creamy coffee flavor with a really nice chocolate/velvety kick. It was exceptional like our overall experience.

Along The Way

As mentioned before, Kevin was an exceptional host who offered lots of stories about their beginning including how they opened the week Hurricane Irma hit and how challenging that set back had been for them. He also shared insight about their journey over the past two years. He is a delight to talk to and very entertaining. My favorite story though might not be about how the margarita was his dad’s recipe or that they originally were thinking about launching a food truck. It might be about how proud he is to have so many local residents who have signed up to be part of their “year rounder’s club” If we learned anything about him it would be that he is living his passion and really takes the time to be thankful and gracious and possesses a natural desire to know his patrons. While this may seem like a little attribute, you would be amazed at the number of restaurants who don’t take on that philosophy. You may visit 100 times and more only to be treated like a first timer every time.

Last but not least, he also introduced us to Chef Bobby Forgét. Right away we could tell he too LOVES what he’s doing. While he comes off a bit shy (very sweet) you can tell he’s pouring his heart and soul into his creations. My favorite story he shared is how he tests some of his ideas out on his two-year-old son…notice I said two year old…he opened that restaurant right around the same time he became a dad! His passion for his restaurant must be spurred by the love of his family because his face lights up the same way when he talks about them.

So if you’re looking for something new to try or even want to help embrace a family who is making a resounding effort to provide superior cuisine to all of Naples residents, you should take the drive to The Warehouse. Tell them you learned about it from Shannon.com and your favorite part-time foodies, Shannon and Raquel!

Happy Eating,

Shannon Lefevre, PA
Naples Smart Girl!

 

 

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