Jane’s Garden Café serves brunch every day and specializes in breakfast classics.
Jane’s Garden Café on Third When Jane Wood opened her café in 2005, Third Street South was one of the sleepiest parts of Old Naples. The area has become much busier over the years, but her approach hasn’t changed. “I wanted to open a place where everyone would feel welcome,” she says. “I sometimes go out alone, and I know that single diners—occasionally men, but especially women—aren’t always comfortable in restaurants. And because I think of Sunday brunch as a special treat, I wanted to have a place that served brunch every day of the week.” Today guests can still have breakfast or brunch any time the restaurant is open, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily. Eggs Benedict is the most popular item, and there are seven variations
incorporating bacon, smoked salmon, or lobster, as well as a low-carb version with portobello mushrooms and spinach. The Vegan Ranchero Veggies run a close second. Wood is quick to attribute her success to her employees. “When I interview someone, I always try to find out how friendly they are,” she says. “If they seem to enjoy talking to people, I hire them. We have a dedicated core of regulars thanks to the staff; they remember the customers’ names, what they drink, and details about their families. “For me, it’s more about the experience than the food. You’re not just eating—you’re having a good time and creating memories.” (janesgardencafe.com)
THE BUZZ ON HONEY Beekeeping might seem like a strange business for Tom May, a cellist with the Naples Philharmonic, but it’s actually part of his heritage. “My mom was a musician, and my dad and grandpa were both beekeepers,” May says. “I started at age 6 when my dad paid me a dime for each case of honey I bottled and labelled.” As an adult, May received his first hive as an anniversary gift from his wife in 1999. He now has 85, and his hobby has morphed into the Naples Honey Company. He and his family sell their honey at three local farmers markets, and the product is carried by retailers including Wynn’s, Lucky’s, and Nature’s Garden.
His story is far from unique. Other hobbyists, such as Ron Bender at Naples Bees, have seen production grow exponentially; from an initial harvest of 10 pounds, Bender now reaps 600 pounds annually. He prides himself on producing a raw, chemical-free, hive-to-bottle product, and sells his excess online. “A lot of imported honey is either contaminated by chemicals or watered down with corn syrup,” Bender says. “The real distinction is between raw and processed honey. Whenever you heat it to process it, you’re destroying all the elements that make it healthy.” There’s a strong environmental component to honey, as well: At least half of the produce we
consume is pollinated by bees, so they’re essential to the world’s food supply. Even so, Bender cautions against the dream of becoming rich from a backyard hive. “If you count the number of hours and the cost of equipment, it’s really a moneyloser. It’s more a labor of love.” (naplesbees.com; napleshoneycompany.com)
108 NAPLES ILLUSTRATED
2/6/19 2:32 PM