The long-table is set!
November 26, 2019
Menus unveiled for Christmas in Naples long-table dining on 5th Avenue South
Naples, FL: (November 26, 2019) . . . Communal dining is back in vogue – wherever there is fresh, seasonal food to enjoy, a long-table brings people together to share it — al fresco dining with strangers is a phenomenon that seems to be growing across the county.
This year’s annual Christmas in Naples celebration on 5th Avenue South will feature a new culinary tradition – long-table dining, where hundreds will gather to sup under the stars to outdoor meals hosted by 11 of 5th Avenue South restaurants.
“Dining at a communal table is ultimately egalitarian,” says Bruce Barone, Jr. executive director of the 5th Avenue South Business Improvement District (BID), sponsor of the two-day Christmas event on Dec. 6 and Dec. 7. “A writer might sit next to a judge, a bartender alongside a doctor or lawyer. As meals are served, the conversation flows – it’s a way to create community.
“The seating makes it different from the usual wine dinner,” adds Barone. “Dining on 5th Avenue South’s iconic thoroughfare offers guests the best seat in town at the loveliest dining table with seating that spans down the double yellow line. It starts with people who don’t even know each other and they’re friends by the end of the night. It’s magical.”
There is something delicious about dining outdoors. Whether it’s an impromptu picnic or a backyard barbecue, al fresco dinners are inherently casual and convivial. When you have a spectacular outdoor space, it’s just a given that you’ll find a way to serve dinner in the sunshine or under the stars.
“The idea is also to encourage socializing,” adds Barone. Though there are logistical challenges when dining outdoors, the long-table brings an instant air of celebration and magic to any meal. Whether it’s the memories of big holiday dinners, with tables cobbled together to accommodate everyone in the family, or the kind of harvest celebrations in the local church hall for the whole community, a long-table is inviting. Setting it up outdoors just adds to the fun.
The long-table format is reminiscent of the long-held European traditions of communal dining and restoring relationships with dinner. 5th Avenue South’s long-table will be set along the double yellow lines transforming a utilitarian street into a beautiful outdoor venue where dining becomes a happening, making the event as much about bringing people together around the table, and sharing, as about the food.
Menus for the long-table dinners revolve around the holiday celebration, with several restaurants featuring a show-stopping main dish.
Whether that’s a whole grilled branzino, a veal chop from the smoker, a seafood risotto, or Australian wagyu beef tenderloin, combined with fresh local vegetables, seafood, free-range meats, tender tree fruits and ripe berries, the menus offer lots of inspiration. Baskets of local artisan breads and fruity olive oils for dipping will also be served and portable delicious desserts range from individual mini wildflower crème brulees, lemon and pistachio gelatos, tiny tiramisus, flourless chocolate cakes, panettone with Nutella, and almond and vanilla pannacottas.
Long-table dining showcases 11 of the award-winning restaurants located within the Downtown area including Alberto’s on 5th, BICE restaurant, Bistro 821, Caffe Milano, La Trattoria, Molto Trattoria, Ocean Prime, Osteria Tulia, Sails, The French and Vergina Restaurant who will compete for the “Best in Show” decorated table design. From elegant to eclectic, each restaurant will stage a unique theme through its table settings to showcase its special style or cuisine.
“Arrive early and walk the Avenue to view the beautifully decorated tables,” suggests Barone. “Don’t forget to vote for the People’s Choice Award by voting for your favorite Christmas table scape by uploading a picture of it to Facebook or Instagram, using #ChristmasinNaples and checking into or tagging the restaurant name. A judging panel will also be scoring the tables to award three top prizes to the restaurant with the best table décor.
Reservations are to be made directly with the restaurant of your choice. Review the restaurant listings and menu offerings at www.fifthavenuesouth.com/christmas. Contact the restaurant of your choice to make a reservation. Seating is limited. Reservations reserved with a credit card depend on each restaurant’s policy.
“Each restaurant’s table will be near its physical location,” advises Barone. Check in with the host/hostess to receive your lanyard. Show the lanyard to receive complimentary cocktails at beverage pavilions within the event.
Public parking lots and garage parking are available, as well as some valet locations. 5th Avenue South will be closed during the event. Side streets will remain open for vehicle access. Additionally, free trolley service will be available from the Collier County government center both days.
“It’s the experience that counts — coming together, dining together and enjoying together,” promises Barone.
For more information, visit https://www.fifthavenuesouth.com/christmas.