Land sale leads to closure of longtime Mama Mia pizzeria in Naples

Mama Mia’s Pizza, Skyline Chili, and other small businesses operate in the center of the Strip at the northeast corner of US 41 and Seventh Avenue North in Naples. The purchase of the corner lot last year sparked discussions about redevelopment, but specific plans are not yet available.

“So they say all good things come to an end. As most of you know, our building has been sold and will be demolished,” according to a post this month on the Mama Mia Facebook page. “Our last day of pizza service will be February 23. We thought it was only right to close on the same day our father opened on his 23rd birthday in 1975. We don’t know what the future holds , so for now this is not a goodbye but see you later. We thank each and every one of you for being part of the memory.

The Iantosca family has operated Mama Mia’s in Naples since February 23, 1975. Mama Mia’s moved in February 2015 after operating for 40 years at Moorings Plaza. The family’s patriarch and matriarch, Erminio and Josephine Iantosca, have both passed away in recent years, but their children have continued to run the business.

The original portion of the freestanding retail strip was built in 1959. Tenants include Up for Grabs, Patio Outlet, Designers Rug Center, Naples Optical, and Tara’s Hair Studio. It once housed the Priced Right liquor store, La-Z-Boy and The Golf Guys.

The lot fronts on US 41 near downtown Naples and across Seventh Avenue North from Lake Park Diner and Dairy Queen Grill & Chill. Perhaps more importantly, it is adjacent to Bentley and Jaguar Naples dealerships.

In October, TT of Naples Inc. purchased for $8.5 million a 25,635-square-foot, 1.72-acre retail building known as Trail Shopping Center at 710 9th St. N. Naples from of M & T Enterprises Inc. of Crystal Beach, Florida. Naples’ TT bears the initials of Florida-based Terry Taylor, one of the largest private car dealership owners in the country. He owns the line of luxury car dealerships north of the recently purchased mall. The row of dealerships along the east side of US 41 includes Bentley, Maserati, Jaguar, and Land Rover. Bentley moved into the former Porche dealership after Porche moved to Davis Boulevard in 2017.

Jason Reidel, managing partner of Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin of Naples, said the car dealership had no comment on the real estate transaction. Automotive Management Services Inc. of West Palm Beach-based Terry Taylor could not be reached for comment on the sale or the future of the property.

Gates Rodenfels, owner of the Skyline Chile franchise in Naples and Fort Myers, said he was told about the sale of the Naples center, but was not told about the center’s future. Rodenfels estimates he has about two years left at his Naples facility since neighboring Naples Optical recently extended its two-year lease at that center.

“Two years gives me plenty of time to find something else,” he said. “If I have to move, I have to move. It’s like that.” Nevertheless, Rodenfels plans to permanently relocate Skyline Chile to Napoli. “I will move when the time comes,” he said.

Rodenfels’ family has been involved with the local Skyline Chile franchise since 1988, when it was still at the Coastland Center mall. Skyline moved in 1994 when its new location was built at 710 Ninth St. N., Naples’ original Winn-Dixie site in the Lake Park neighborhood.