The Discriminating Diner ventured into Downtown Ft. Myers for this review to see what Capone’s was all about. Where do we start with this one?!!!
First of all, attention to detail is truly what is important, no matter what your gimmick is, and yes Capone’s does have a gimmick. You hear the name “Capone” and you immediately have visions of the infamous “Al Capone”, which is the gimmick of Capone’s. The décor of the restaurant is to give you the experience of being in a place that could possibly be a place Al Capone himself would either patronize himself or himself own. The later seems the most plausible due to the prices of this establishment, but I will get into that!
Before I get to the actual review, I do want to mention the parking situation in Downtown Ft. Myers. I had to park some distance away, and walk in the rain to get to Capone’s. Parking in Downtown Ft. Myers is a strike against any business in the Downtown area as the city planners have done a poor job for Downtown business customers. Is Capone’s worth this parking hassle…………read on and you will find it will all come down to paying attention to the details of the food and the service, all in the details folks!!!!
I and my two dining partners arrived around 1:00pm and were warmly greeted by the Hostess, who is stationed at the front door. Dressed in a period dress that would seemingly have been worn by a Hostess of a Speakeasy during the thirty’s. Nice touch! The Hostess then inquired if we had ever been there before and we stated that we had not. She took us to the center of the restaurant pointing to a glass section of the floor, displaying what looked like an underfloor vault room that had a desk, wall safe, money all over the place and a skeleton in the corner. I guess this was to truly bring home the fact that Al Capone really was not a nice guy in his time, yet we want to glorify him or offer up a gimmick to get people in the door. We quickly figured it was to get people in the door, as the experience that followed would never have gotten us in the door, rather had us look for another establishment to spend our hard earned dollars.
I will say that the uniforms that the Wait Staff and Bus Staff folks wore were a great touch to the experience, with the exception of the Bar Tender, who was in the same dress that the Hostess was in, which to us seemed a little odd. We felt the Bar Tender should have had a different type of period costume. It was perfect for the Hostess, but not the Bar Tender.
We were seated at our table, informed who our Waitress was and encouraged to enjoy our meal. Our Waitress was quickly at our table taking our drink order. Not long after our drink order was delivered, no long wait time at all. I and one of my dinning partners order an unsweet tea. Our downfall was not asking for it cold, as by the time our waitress got it to the table, the ice had melted and we pretty much had room temperature unsweet tea. The other dinning partner ordered a soda product and his glass had a nice amount of ice, so we concluded that the tea was warm to start with, which is fine as long as you provide an adequate amount of ice to keep it cold. The waitress then allowed us ample time to review the menu.
We were a little put off by the prices, high, but then were open enough and thought perhaps the quality warranted high prices. Panino/Sandwiches range from Italian Meatballs – $9.95 to Veggia – $8.95. Homemade Pastas from Capone’s Shrimp Fettuccini – $18.95 to Pasta Marinara – $10.95. Specialty Pizzas from 12” – $10.95 to $14.95 and 16” $14.95 to $18.95. Additional toppings on the pizzas are an additional charge. They have both “Premium and Traditional” toppings, prices vary depending upon size. While we perused the menu we did comment that attention to detail was definitely the key to any restaurant, especially those that have high prices as you tend to pay more attention to their details as you are paying more for the experience, or in this case the gimmick!
My two dining partners ordered a 16” Pepperoni Pizza – $13.95 for the pizza and $2.95 for the pepperoni, total of $16.90. I ordered a Calzone – 12” $12.95. I always thought a Calzone came with cheeses and a meat. Not at Capone’s, only comes with the cheeses (Mozzarella, Ricotta & Romano). To add anything to it was an additional $1.95. I added pepperoni for a total of $14.90. We also ordered an Antipasti as it said it was “PERFECT FOR SHARING” for $11.95. We thought what a nice way to start off our dining experience.
The Antipasti showed up within mere minutes. When the waitress put it on the table I almost asked what the hell it was!! I was in shock at the size of it or rather the lack of the size!!! There was no lettuce or a green leaf on it at all. It consisted of the following: 3 folded up pieces of Prosciutto, a small pile of small cubes of Sharp Provolone, an Artichoke Heart cut into 4 pieces, 2 stuffed Green Cherry Peppers, 3 rolled slices Sopperssata, 4 Sicilian Olives, 4 small balls of Fresh Mozzarella Cheese and what seemed to be a ¼ of a Roasted Red Pepper. It was served with 4 small slices of bread…….really! Where the hell was the Antipasti!!!!! Had this not been a review, I would have had the waitress remove it from the table as there was no way I was going to pay $11.95 for that!!! This is when I said to my dinning partners that they had the name right for the restaurant as I felt that is exactly what Capone himself would have charged for such an item!! Remember folks, it is all in the details and here the details were definitely lost!
After that dismal show of an appetizer we were wondering what was going to turn up for our lunch course! The waitress came by when she saw the Antipasti plate empty, not long at all, and asked if she could remove the plate and asked my one dinning partner if they needed a refill on their soda. Yes and yes was the answer. I and my other dinning partner wondered if they were rationing the unsweet tea as neither of us were asked if we wanted a refill. And that is a pet peeve of mine, letting my drink glass run empty! Part of your job as a waiter or waitress is to ensure that my drink glass is never empty!! It is all in the details folks. While we were waiting for our lunch to come to the table we did notice that there were a large number of servers and bussers on staff, not a full restaurant and there was a lot of socializing going on amongst the staff. One reason my tea glass ran dry. It is all in the details folks. The waitress finally asked to fill my tea glass and to her credit she did bring me new one, yet the ice was nearly nonexistent once again!!
Finally our lunch meals arrived! The pizza was place in the center of the table. My Calzone was placed in front of me. To the credit of the waitress, she did ask if she could serve the first piece of pizza. Nice touch!! Again, it is all in the details folks! Now the Pizza was a Pepperoni Pizza. My two dinning partners found pieces of onion, mushroom and ham either in the Pizza or “under” the Pizza!! It was brought to the attention of our waitress and she replied that it probably happened when they cut the Pizza! This told us that the kitchen staff uses one pizza cutter to cut every pizza and did not distinguish pizza cutters for different kinds of pizza. Sound picky, well think of this: what if a person that is a vegetarian ordered a vegetarian type pizza, then to receive it and find a piece of pepperoni, ham or sausage on it! Not good at all!! It is all in the details folks!
After eating the pizza, both my dinning partner’s agree that it was lacking spices, as the flavor was not what they were expecting! My Calzone, while it was a nice size, only half of it, the middle section of the Calzone had any cheese or pepperoni! Both ends were just dough! I expect the very ends to be dough, but not half way through it! It did come with a Marinara Sauce, but I guess their idea of a Marinara Sauce and mine are two different things. To me, a marinara sauce is a tomato sauce. Theirs is chopped tomatoes with basil in it, “Stewed Tomatoes”, if you will! Flavorful yes, but not a marinara sauce for a calzone! It is all in the details folks!
We were seated near the back of the restaurant, and next to us was a doorway with a red curtain. That seemed to be a very popular room as most of the staff was in that room several times during our visit. The Bar Tender, when she was not leaning her elbows on the bar was in the “Red Curtain Area”! We even saw the wait staff leave this area while eating something as they were going through the dining area! Really!!! It is all in the details folks! A very busy area indeed!! When we were finished eating our waitress asked us if we wanted any dessert. If this was not a review we would have been heading out at this point, but wanting to share a full experience within the review.
My one dinning partner ordered the Cannoli ($4.95), my other ordered the Chocolate Moose ($4.95) and I ordered the Tiramisu ($4.95). The one dinning partner also ordered an Espresso ($2.50). Also sitting next to the bar area, we could see what the bar tender was doing all the time. When our waitress was going to place the Espresso order with the bar tender we noticed and commented to each other that she was playing with her hair and were hoping that she was going to wash her hands prior to making the Espresso. No hand washing to be seen before making the Espresso!! IT IS ALL IN THE DETAILS FOLKS!!! Since seeing that detail, we all then commented on how they fill their glasses with ice, both bar tender and wait staff. The simply shove the glass in the ice, scoop up the ice and then fill it! No ice dispensing machine or no ice scoop, just shove the glass in the ice bin!! IT IS ALL IN THE DETAILS FOLKS!!! Now we could see that the Espresso was made and sitting on the counter, when was our waitress going to bring it over! We saw her walking in the dining room, eating in the dining room and even kissing someone that was delivering something to the restaurant. It was more than 5 minutes that the Espresso sat on the bar! Finally my dinning partner asked a bus staffer if he could bring it over to him. He quickly went and grabbed it and apologized several times for this happening. We assured him that it was not his fault. It was easy to realize that our waitress had completely forgotten about my dining partners Espresso, as when she brought the desserts she never even inquired about the Espresso at all, as a matter of fact my dining partner had to ask for sugar and by the time that was brought to the table the Expresso was cold! It is all in the details folks!!!!
For the desserts, the Chocolate Moose was tasty, creamy and smooth in a hard chocolate shell. Visually appetizing, which is why my dining partner ordered it. The cannoli was probably the best part of the whole meal, with the only exception being the white water that was left on the plate by the cannoli, to which my dining partner had indicated that it was probably stuffed a while before it was served and it sat for a while. Flavorful yes, however, the left over water was not appetizing that at all! My Tiramisu was lacking flavor. There was flavor in the coffee soaked sponge cake was nice, however the cream on top was lacking any flavor at all. Very disappointing to say the least! Again, it is all in the details folks!
It seems to this Discriminating Diner that Capone’s is using the “GIMMICK” to get the people in the door, but is doing little to get them to come back!! The total price of our lunch was $72.72!! Was the food quality and our overall experience worth that price, most certainly not!! Was the vault in the floor worth our coming back, most certainly not! Was Capone’s “attention to detail” worth our coming back, definitely not!!! So while the quality of one’s food is important, equally important, at least to this Discriminating Diner, is “the attention to details”!! That is just as important to one’s dining experience!!
If you like gimmicks, try Capone’s, but if you like good food and the staff to pay attention to the details, find someplace else!