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Getting Informed: Who’s Taking Control

It was only eight months ago once we shared the changes at BAMZ. Two Cracklin’ Jack’s alums, owner Craig Steinhart and then-new executive chef, Marcus D. Williams, took over the space in January from the Tontodonato family.

Steinhart brightened up the mostly seafood joint’s exterior, significantly investing in attractive and daring recent signage while retaining employees who desired to stay.

In June, he and Williams prolonged the well-loved offerings, notably the famous lobster rolls filled with a 3rd of a pound of the crustacean, to incorporate barbecue by adding a smoker outside.

BAMZ buttery lobster roll is fantastic.

However it wasn’t enough to beat a slow summer. When comparing year-over-year sales, he estimated BAMZ was down 20 to 25%.

A handwritten “closed” sign is now posted.

BAMZ closed sign on Oct. 26.

“I desired to cut my losses and cut my ulcers. I didn’t think it could sell so quickly, but I got a reasonably good offer,” said Steinhart.

Earlier at BAMZ

In early October 2022, a post-Hurricane Ian email from Kelly Tontodonato revealed that BAMZ greatly suffered from storm surge. That area of East Naples was amongst those decimated by water. Her stock was “nearly worn out.” Her husband Louis loaded his truck with what was salvageable, donating food to neighbors living near the restaurant who lost every little thing of their homes.

(Left to right)  Bamz Restaurant co-owners Louis Tontodonato, Kelly Tontodonato and manager Brian Mullan behind the restaurant's bar in Naples, Fla., on Sept. 15, 2021. The restaurant was remodeled between June and August in 2021.

“They were so appreciative, and it was heartfelt for us,” she said.

That they had replaced their kitchen equipment in 2021, but like most restaurants cited within the Each day News’ Hurricane Ian anniversary coverage, BAMZ contents’ damage wasn’t covered by insurance.

Related:‘God was showing us his powers’: 4 Naples restaurant owners on rebuilding after Ian

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