"There's no great success in the restaurant business," says Cloyde Pate, emperor of a 30-plus-year-old dynasty in Collier and Lee counties, in his gruff, tell-it-like-it-is voice. "You have to stick with it and work hard. Either magic happens or it doesn't. Of course, you have to make the magic happen."
The Pate empire is one of the region's oldest. It's a name that has been on a dozen or so restaurants around Southwest Florida and Massachusetts, Pate's homeland. About 40 years ago, he came to Florida to work in local restaurants, and opened his first venture on the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers, where the Chart House now stands. That was about 30 years ago, he says. Or somewhere around that time; he has a hard time remembering dates. Who can blame him? He's 81 years old and has been involved in more than 35 restaurants in his lifetime---not bad for a trained pharmacist who started by serving sandwiches at drug store counter and never did practice pharmacy.
Other signature restaurants have included Pate's Piccadilly Pub on Fifth Avenue South, Pate's Marker Four at the site of the former Chart House in Naples, Pate's on Sanible Island (now McT's Shrimp House), and Pate's in downtown Fort Myers (now the Veranda). Somewhere in between, he built his own restaurant, Cloyde Pate's Steakhouse, on Tamiami Trail in Fort Myers. Most of his successes he gave over to family or sold to employees. Today, he and daughter Shelly, operate two Naples restaurants - Cloyde's steak & Lobster House in Venetian Village and Cork's Steakhouse on Fifth Avenue South.
He credits his success to sticking with a good idea, through thick and trends. "We've been doing steakhouses for 50-some years. There was a time when steak wasn't so good, when people supposedly weren't eating steak. Heck, we stayed busy; they were eatin' it,
Best Known For...
Steak, Prime Rib, Seafood.