Suite Life Magazine
Keewaydin’s on Fifth Keewaydin’s on Fifth
The island moves inland at Keewaydin’s on Fifth in Naples and this summer is an ideal time to visit for lunch, happy hour and... Keewaydin’s on Fifth

The island moves inland at Keewaydin’s on Fifth in Naples and this summer is an ideal time to visit for lunch, happy hour and dinner. Keewaydin’s is in a coveted location on Fifth Avenue South. Bordering the Sugden Community Theater Plaza, it is a prime spot for people watching as well as cuisine.

In June 2023, Keewaydin’s moved into a location that was once home to Yabba Island Grill. It officially opened in January 2024. Yabba was one of the original restaurants that gave birth to the famous Fifth Avenue dining scene. The restaurant’s rebirth comes with a new owner, Phelan Family Brands.

Phelan Family CEO Grant Phelan grew up in Naples and was an admirer of Yabba and its history. In addition, he spent a lot of time on Keewaydin Island. It was the spirit of the island that he envisioned bringing to trendy Fifth Avenue.

Like its predecessor, the restaurant projects a casual yet upscale island vibe. The cuisine is a mash-up of Caribbean, Asian and Southern with an emphasis on seafood. The island-inspired cuisine covers islands from Greece to the Bahamas to Southwest Florida.

Consider beginning your dining experience with an order of Holy Aioli Tempura Shrimp. You won’t find anything like it on Fifth Avenue. Created in-house, the tempura is light and flaky, flavored with black garlic aioli and nori black sesame powder.

Another unique appetizer ideal for sharing is the Creamy Pimento Queso. Think of the best pimento cheese you’ve ever had, doctored up with smoked chili and lumps of crab meat.

On the lighter side of the menu, you’ll find a variety of salads from a classic Keewaydin Wedge with coconutblue cheese dressing for a twist, to the Florida Fresca with a unique banana vinaigrette. The Citrus Caesar is dressed with smoked-oyster Caesar dressing for a twist. Top with your choice of a variety of proteins for a more substantial meal.

When you walk through the doors of Keewaydin’s, the layout looks similar to the former Yabba’s. However, the décor is lighter, clean and classic with lots of blues, browns and hints of the colors of a stunning Florida sunset.

The Phelan family has their own fishing fleet, which brings in fresh crab and local, seasonal seafood daily. It doesn’t get much fresher. Because of the seasonality of its offerings, the menu is known to change.

However, items like the Pan Seared Black Grouper are a staple. Juicy and flavorful, it is drizzled in a Peruvian salsa and served with sautéed spinach.

Seafood lovers also enjoy the Signature Seafood Towers, as well as selections from the raw bar, that include stone crab claws.

A popular new menu item is Shrimp & Grits with a Mediterranean spin. U3 prawns are placed atop a creamy mix of polenta and feta cheese, along with tomato sauce.

The Seared Diver Scallops are served Polynesian style, with a tangy slaw, pickled Fresno peppers, crisp jicama and a sweet mango puree. Phelan calls it a “melt-in-your-mouth kind of dish that hits all of the flavor profiles.”

His children’s new favorite is the Thai Mango Noodle, containing thin slices of tenderloin steak, heirloom tomatoes, avocado and fresh mint. Also, for landlubbers, the Braised Short Ribs are a must. They are slow-cooked in a house-made guava barbecue sauce. In fact, all the sauces and dressings are made in-house.

Diners who prefer plant-based options may choose from more than just a salad. One of many healthy choices is the Asian Rice Bowl with soy-glazed eggplant. Unlike many seafood restaurants, Keewaydin’s has few fried items on its menu..

However, you will find desserts. The Classic Key Lime Pie is a signature. It comes in a traditional graham cracker crust, but it also has a thick layer of Italian meringue. Although there is some debate over meringue on this classic pie, Phelan says it adds a touch of sweetness to balance the tart Key lime.

As the island-themed restaurant approaches its six-month anniversary, ordering a signature cocktail may be the perfect way to celebrate. Most have creative names with nods to Naples’ history. The Old Naples Paper Plane is a Phelan favorite made with 1776 James E. Pepper Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro, Amaro Montenegro and lemon juice.

Others include the Keewaydin Rum Runner, made with both light and dark rums, fruit liqueurs and fruit juices, and the Port Royal Spritz, which features sparkling wine and St. Germain Elderflower. Then there is the famous 5th Ave Manhattan, a Buffalo Trace Bourbon-based cocktail.

The spirits menu has quite a selection of bourbon, whiskey and scotch. The wine list is similarly extensive. Although it has selections from around the world, it leans heavily towards domestic choices, with lots of fresh whites that are perfect for summertime sipping.

The bar is the heart of the restaurant and offers both indoor and outdoor seating and is prime for watching people. Snag a seat at Happy Hour and enjoy $10 craft cocktails, as well as specials on dishes like the raw oysters, Signature Smash Cheeseburger and Island Crab Co. Dip.

Perhaps one of the best dining deals on Fifth Avenue is the three-course early dining deal. For $49, it includes some of Keewaydin’s most popular starters, entrees and desserts.

Phelan Family Brands may own multiple dining concepts, but they still maintain a local family feel. “You don’t get any more Naples than this,” Phelan says about Keewaydin’s. “Growing up here, I’ve watched Naples and Fifth Avenue evolve to offer some of the finest dining and best shopping in the world. I’m so fortunate to now be part of it. It’s like a dream come true.”

With seasonal traffic slowing, this is the perfect time to discover the fresh, inventive fare served for lunch and dinner at beautiful Keewaydin’s. And now you don’t have to travel to the island to get it, just to downtown Naples.

Keewaydin’s on Fifth is located at 711 Fifth Avenue South in Naples. The restaurant and bar are open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Happy Hour is from 2 to 5 p.m. daily. Early dining is from 4:30 to 6 p.m. daily. Dinner is served from 4:30 to 9 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Times may change seasonally. Phone: 239-262-5787 or