A new restaurant has opened in the Microtel Inn & Suites on Business Way and manager Vivian Villa, who is also responsible for the hotel, says business is good even though they have been opened for a short while.
"We didn't have an official opening or ribbon cutting. We wanted to have a soft opening and see how it went and things went fine. Our diners seem to like our Italian restaurant.
"It's all new with tables and no booths and each table has a white table cloth and there is a baby grand piano in the large room that may sit 100 diners and many nights, someone is there to play soft music while you enjoy a meal.
One of those nights, you might get to hear owner of the Microtel Inn & Suites, Dr. Mark Asperilla, who also has a medical practice in Fort Myers. He is an infectious disease physician.
"He is an excellent piano player and he enjoys spending some time in Lehigh dining and playing for others at the restaurant. We also have a cook who sometimes plays the piano. Both are very good and we think diners will enjoy listening to them," Villa said.
Working with Villa is Lisa Fennell, her assistant. One or the other is always at the Microtel Inn & Suites, which has been open since September of 2008. Villa said she has been with the hotel since its opening.
At the time, the area for a restaurant was leased out to someone else and it closed last year.
While the restaurant is open until 4 to 9 p.m. each evening, seven days a week, patrons during the day can lunch at the outside bar. Or they dine outside in a nice atmosphere.
"We have a great menu there and the outside area for seating is very popular in Lehigh. It has become the meeting place for a lot of people during the day. We have our liquor license so folks and diners of the Angelos's Bistro can enjoy a nice drink.
"Those who dine with us at Angelo's Bistro in the late afternoon and evening can also order from the menu in the bar which includes sandwiches and other dishes," Villa said.
At the restaurant, the public seems to really like the Baked Lasagna which sells for $10.95. It's a homemade, layered pasta, meat sauce, blend of cheeses, ricotta, topped with melted mozzarella. Another favorite is the Eggplant Parmesan for $10.95. It's a lightly breaded eggplant, topped with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese with a side of linguine.
While we have several traditional entrees on the menu, a lot of people enjoy our Veal Parmesan which is a tender veal breaded, topped with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese and a side of linguine. In addition we have several other dishes with chicken, salmon and shrimp.
"People really enjoy our Shrimp Caesar salad which is made of grilled shrimp, Caesar salad, and Parmesan cheese. All our entrees are served with soup or salad and bread. And like I said, you can also order from our other menu that includes traditional American dishes," Villa said.
She said the hotel has been 90 percent and more filled almost every night and business is good.
"We have a lot of people coming here to look at the area to life and others come to buy a house. And we have workers, construction people and just people who want to come and visit Lehigh," villa said.
"We're children-friendly, too," she smiled.
While Season has been exceptional and the new restaurant has opened from word of mouth, Villa said reservations are not required. There is a good turn-around time. But if there is a party of several people, reservations would be suggested.
"They can call us and tell us how many are in their party. The number is 239-369-2121. That way we can be ready for them," she said.
Tommy Roberts of Lehigh is the main cook and head chef. And one of his cooks, Curtis Rice plays the piano in the restaurant sometimes when he is not working in the kitchen.
There are about fire people working in the kitchen, all from Lehigh, said Rice.
"It's a really nice place to bring your family and friends when you want a nice place to sit down and eat and relax and enjoy some soft music," Rice said.