North Naples Inn demolished after Ian’s damage

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

The Lighthouse Inn in North Naples — a 45-year-old mom-and-pop business damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Ian — is starting a new chapter after getting demolished.

While the Lighthouse Inn was demolished Monday, this is not the end but the beginning.

Ezriel Roach lived next to the Lighthouse Inn.

“This is like, it’s iconic. It’s something that is rare, and it’s going away fast with new construction,” Roach said. “It’s really sad to see it go because this place has been in a lot of people’s family vacation memories for, I mean, really generations.”

The Lighthouse Inn. CREDIT: WINK News

Originally built in the ’50s, the Lighthouse Inn became a Naples favorite in 1978, when Darren Dugan’s parents took it over and added Buzz’s Lighthouse Restaurant.

“It was special to a lot of people, a lot of people,” Dugan said.

But the Inn’s charming specialty yielded to Hurricane Ian’s sheer ferocity like so much else did in Southwest Florida.

“It was just all demolished, the whole first floor, the electrical, the plumbing was all just — had to start it over, and it wasn’t really cost-effective to build inside, sad to say that,” Dugan said.

Sadly, the people who’ve visited the Lighthouse Inn won’t show it to the next generation.

“It kind of tugs at the heart, been here a long time,” Ken Nelson from Vanderbilt Beach said.

Nevertheless, the next generation will get the same flavors over at Buzz’s Lighthouse Restaurant.

“You gotta come try the food because everybody I bring into town, all my family and friends. When you come into the lighthouse, it’s an experience. It’s like, it’s Cheers,” Roach said.

Due to renovations, the Lighthouse restaurant is closed for the time being, but it’s expected to open back up on May 30.

Dugan told WINK News they might even put in a spot for live music, but whatever they do, they’re going to make sure it’s done correctly.

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