Wednesday, December 8, 2021




Donna Fiala

Recently, the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts (MIFA) had an Artists’ Awards Luncheon at Wesley United Methodist Church. The MIFA President, Carolyn Burger, called the meeting to order. The room was abounding with talent (and then there was me, who can’t even tell which side of the brush to use) as they called attention to four students who received scholarships toward their college education. A solo was sung by one of those students, Joseph Byrne. These students each have an exciting future ahead of them. Besides Joseph Byrne, the other winners were Livia Lenhoff, Tyler MacDonald and Theodor Schimek. It was hard to believe they were still students, they looked so accomplished!

Then the Artist of the Year, Tara O’Neill, was honored for her talent and for all she does for our/her community. What a delight this wonderful human being is! Not only is she talented, but she has a cute sense of humor (her husband George just looks at her so adoringly!) and a kindness few can match. She is presently working on restoring two of the historic cottages in Goodland, working with the County for approval (who are the owners of the cottages) and some dollars as they come. Knowing Tara, it will get done! The award was presented by Karen Swanker, MIFA V.P. Sandi Johnson was there, always helping, pinch-hitting and greeting others as they walked in the door. Sandi was the person who introduced me to MIFA a long time ago. It seems wherever there is art, Sandi is there as well. If you’d like to learn more about MIFA, find them at

*Many people like to come “over the bridge” to sample other restaurants – especially in the summer when it is easy to find a seat wherever you go. Well, there are a few new ones you might enjoy. In my last column I mentioned that Ray and Linda Rosenberg and I went to the new Joey D’s at Airport Road and Davis Boulevard. We enjoyed the atmosphere and the food, so we would recommend you try them as well.

*Another great restaurant, not cheap though, is Pate’s Prime Steak on U.S. 41 E, where the old Mr. Mom’s Restaurant was located. It’s not cheap because they serve quality prime meat. This is owned by Cloyd Pate, the patriarch of the Pate Restaurant fame. They have succulent prime steaks, delicious fresh fish dinners, great prime rib, creamed spinach, marvelous potatoes, and so much more…plus flaming desserts! In this tiny little location he has even added a wine and beer bar fit for a king! You’ll love it.

*Of course, all of us on Marco Island love Eurasia and we show it. No matter when I go there I always run into Marcoites! That’s because their food is consistently excellent. They have such a nice variety to choose from.

*Tacos and Tequila is a jumping little place in East Naples on Davis Boulevard in the King’s Lake Shopping Center. It’s always crowded, but I guess that’s because it’s so much fun.

*Lots of people exclaim over the Burger Fi in the Shoppes at Eagle Creek, and of course there is a sister Hoot’s restaurant there as well. (It’s the shopping center where The Fresh Market is located).

*Have you ever tried 360 Market on Bayshore? People come from the other end of town, and even from Bonita, to eat there. Their food is all homemade, all natural and/or organic, homemade pasta, marvelous desserts, great wines…well, you’ll just have to try it. They are only open for breakfast and lunch, and they are always busy. You might want to call ahead, just in case. You’ll really have to try this one. You will go back again and again, even though it’s quite a ride from Marco Island. Down that same street, hidden away, is the “Real Macaw”- full bar, entertainment, island food, and lots of fun. Heck, while you’re at it, why not go for breakfast around 9:30 AM at 360 Market, then drive down to the Naples Botanical Garden for a lovely stroll, then come back to the Real Macaw for lunch. It’ll be like a little day away adventure.

*Speaking of food, the soon-to-be Culver’s Restaurant on U.S. 41 E is in construction right now. I noticed they are doing a lot of advertising on the Hallmark Channel. I guess they are preparing us for their new restaurant. I can hardly wait. Gosh, I must be hungry while writing this because all I can think of are good restaurants!



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