Avenue5, a new $2 million restaurant opening at the Inn on Fifth and Club Level Suites in downtown Naples, has named John Welch as executive chef. Most recently the executive chef at the award-winning Eleven North in Martha’s Vineyard, Welch brings more than 20 years of culinary experience to Avenue5, the newest restaurant to open in downtown Naples. In a menu featuring various cuts of meats, chops, local vegetables, and fresh Florida seafood, Welch will use the best available ingredients, allowing them to shine with simplicity and elegance. A native of Maine, Welch will also create imaginative dishes using Maine Lobster. Avenue5 is scheduled to open in January 2014.
A graduate from the California Culinary Academy, Welch’s prestigious career includes time working at the James Beard Winning Jardiniere restaurant in San Francisco under renowned chef Tracy Des Jardins and chef Douglas Keane, who recently won the top Chef Master’s Award on Bravo. He has served as executive chef at Eleven North in Martha’s Vineyard and the AAA Four Diamond Bostonian Millennium Hotel. No stranger to the Naples area, Welch also worked at the AAA Five Diamond Ritz-Carlton, Naples, the largest food and beverage operation for Ritz-Carlton in the United States, where he held several positions, including chef de cuisine of the grill room, banquet chef, and chef tournant for the entire resort. Welch also has experience as sous chef at Castine Inn, one of Food & Wine magazine’s Top 50 restaurants in the country (2002), and executive sous chef under Felino Samson at Bomboa, People magazine’s “sexiest restaurant in Boston.” He was named Lobster Chef of the Year for the state of Maine (2001). Welch has also worked at the Naples Winter Wine Festival and had the opportunity to cook for Emeril Lagasse.
“It’s great to be back in Naples to launch one of the area’s hottest new restaurants,” says Welch. “With its outstanding design, ideal location, and eclectic menu, Avenue5 will be a great addition to the dining scene on Fifth Avenue South.”
With seating for 240 guests, Avenue5 will feature an extravagant island bar, private dining area, and sweeping views of the Fifth Avenue streetscape. The restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and will offer a “vintage glam” ambiance.