Pine Islanders may have noticed that the once empty parking lot at the former Red's Seafood House was filled to capacity last Saturday night - for the opening of a new restaurant, Hurricane Hideout Island Sports Bar and Grill.
"We planned for a soft opening Saturday and we were slammed," co-owner Anthony Chinaglia said. "We didn't do any advertising and expected maybe a hundred people but I couldn't believe it. Frankly we were overwhelmed and couldn't keep up. But these are the things every restaurant goes through it's just a matter of working through them."
Chinaglia comes from a long line of restauranteurs. His grandmother owned a restaurant in Naples, Fla., and he's owned several restaurants in Naples.
Co-owner Carlos Portela was a director for Macy's on Long Island, N.Y.
"When I saw that Macy's was beginning to downsize, I decided this was a great time to start something different," Portela said. "I asked myself 'What do I like to do?' The answer was, I like sports and I like sports bars, so I contacted Anthony about opening a restaurant / sports bar together."
The two began looking for a restaurant to rent.
"I had seen the listing for this building come and go," Chinaglia said. "Then a couple of months ago it popped up again. I immediately called Carlos and we drove over to Pine Island and we both fell in love with the island. We contacted the Realtor and after looking at the place we knew this is exactly what we were looking for."
The former Red's is a 4,000-square-foot restaurant and bar located about a half mile north of Pine Island Center. Anthony Chinaglia, brother Donald Chinaglia and Carlos Portela are the principal partners.
"What we want Hurricane Hideout Island Sports Bar and Grill to be is just a local hangout where local people come in and enjoy some good food and good company," Portela said. "We are all about customer service, good food, good prices and having a good time."
The menu features 'bar food' consisting of baskets of buttermilk chicken strips, white fried fish, breaded fried shrimp and crispy Florida grouper.
"We've been getting rave reviews on the regular and boneless chicken wings, the peel and eat shrimp and the oysters and clams," Chinaglia said.
"Every night we work on the menu," Portela said. "We watch closely what sells, add and subtract some things. Our plan is to carry maybe 15 or 20 items."
Almost every wall is scheduled to have a TV.
"We've planned for 12 50-inch TVs and lots of smaller screen TVs," Portela said. "We plan to have the NFL packages and UFC fights."
"We're planning our grand opening soon and we're also planning to have ladies night and trivia night and all those fun bar nights," Chinaglia said. "I know how important entertainment is so we're also checking out various bands.
"This is exactly where we wanted to be," Chinaglia said. "We're here for the long run with a 10-year lease with an option to buy. We've already had several offers for the old Red's sign and we are going to auction off the sign and donate the proceeds to a local charity. We want to become part of the community."
Current hours are Monday Friday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday, noon 1 a.m.
Food "to go" is also available.
Hurricane Hideout Island Sports Bar and Grill is at 10880 Stringfellow Road, Bokeelia. Call 239-558-8947 or visit www.HurricaneHideoutBar.com