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A Little Less Conversation

Seed To Table

4835 Immokalee Road, Naples FL

"Never talk about politics, religion or sex in polite company."

Yeah, sure, if you wanna be the king of Boringvania. I hate small talk. I don't need to talk about the weather, neighborhood gossip or other banal things that make me want to reach for a noose.


Religion?

What you got? Let's talk about how religion frames society, or agnosticism vs. atheism or heck, i'll talk for hours about Scientology. Bring on Gd (or no Gd) in all his/her forms and glory!


Sex?

Oh hellll to the yeah. Let's talk about outdated societal norms and gender roles, and the best way to use the edge of a couch. Booty talk? I'm all in.


Politics?

Why the heck not? I am going to share my opinion with you in a very firm and factually-based answer and I am going to convince you I'm right and you'll do the same and somehow we'll meet in the middle and solve the world's problems...


Boy howdy, have I changed my tune on that last one.. The reality is that politics have infected everything and everyone in our country. Topics that used to be benign, like talking about the kind of car you drive, now are tinged with the taint of what it says about your political ideology...and people are quick to point it out in the nastiest terms designed to piss you the fuck off. Driving a pick-up truck makes you a redneck and driving a Tesla makes you a libtard, and there's no nuance in-between. I'm not sure where it started and I'm dreading where it's heading, but we've gone from politics being the art of compromise and the distinguished gentleman/gentlewoman from New York/Georgia to "that commie snowflake" and "that Facist bitch."


So, dear reader, if you've made it this far you're probably asking yourself "What the heck does this have to do with food?" My response is that it shouldn't have ANYTHING to do with food, but alas, it is not true, and nowhere is that less true than at Seed To Table in North Naples.


I have been holding back writing about the place because it's such a polarizing experience. On various food blogs it's either referred to as the greatest single place on earth, or the gates of hell guarded by MAGA Cerberus. It's literally impossible to talk about Seed to Table without referencing it's political outspoken owner, the large My Pillow display or the pictures of POTUS 46 in the urinal. For these (and other reasons) I had avoided seeing what all the fuss was about. I don't care about how you vote, or what you believe, but I also believe that there should be NO politics when it comes to food. Food should be a non-partisan joyful experience, not something that forces you to suffer someone rhapsodizing about a former tee-totalling President's Cabernet.

While I generally despise the "both sides" blame game as a cop-out and nuanceless position, when it comes to food, I'd feel the same way whether you offer Peking Duckworth or Marjorie Taylor Greene Beans


So...in the spirit of keeping politics and all its current animus out of my appetite, I accepted an invite by Jamie, Just Jamie to bring Boogs and make it a family outing, and I set out to objectively experience a place that calls itself "The Happiest Place In The Universe."


At its core, Seed to Table is a supermarket that also serves hot food and drinks and has a nightlife vibe after sundown. For those of you who have experienced the wonder of Eately, it's very similar but replace Italian sundries with organic produce and high-end Italian restaurants with pick-your-own-steak sports bars.


Where STT sets itself apart is in a few of the nuances like the ability to drink wine while you shop or the aforementioned ability to have them cook the steak you just bought. Not that you can't drink wine while shopping at Publix, but it's not really encouraged like they do at STT. There's also a well-monitored and maintained day-care for those who don't believe that parenting should get in the way of a good time at the grocery store.

J,JJ and I dropped Boogs and her pals off at the daycare and I went to explore the "patriotic" palace of produce.


As a grocery store, it's not huge, sort of like a cross between the odd unparalleled layout of a Trader Joe's and the piles of fruits and veggies that you see in a whole foods. Lots of dark wood and artisan signage hang everywhere. The layout is a bit confusing, but if your consumer is sipping on a Pinot while looking at their shopping list, store layout may not be a major focus.


All of the standard grocery store elements are there and yes, they are cleaner and nicer than the norm. A very nice fish market is next to a well-laid out butcher. There is a generously sized wine section, albeit featuring a giant cut out of the aforementioned famously tee-totalling 45th President announcing this week's wine special. The second level of this Whole Foods by way of Bedminster, is where acolytes say the magic truly happens. There's a decent sized restaurant with a stage, a DJ booth and waitress service. Up there, we met up with the rest of the crew, and the kids who had recently been sprung from daycare and set to the task of dinner.


With all the hue and cry about the amazing selection, I was surprised that they only offered three tequila options, but I was reminded by Sir Du Soleil's wife "dude, you're having a cocktail in a grocery store."


The menu is fairly basic. Some Mexican, a few Italian dishes, pizza, wings. Mainly crowd-pleasing sports-bar fare. Sort of like the food court at the mall but all coming from the same kitchen. We ordered a pepperoni pizza, loaded nachos, wings, tacos and a Bolognese for Boogs.


Honestly, for all the buzz about the place and the blind fierce loyalty its patrons have, all the food was....fine. Nothing was bad. It all tasted pretty good, but none of it was ground-breaking or even tweaked to make it a unique experience. It basically tasted like a decent sports bar in anytown, USA...but I think that may be the point about Seed To Table. The food is second to the overall experience of WHERE you are having the food, and what is going around you.


The where is that you're in a grocery store, and the what's going on is that you are drinking in said grocery store, with a DJ or band playing (I'm guessing the top three songs are "Midnight at the Oasis," "Still the One," or "Take It Easy") with a lot of reminders of the owner's political stances.


All in all, is Seed to Table worth all the hype? I guess it depends on where you stand on the political spectrum or if you are ok with the message of the place. Personally, I'm not sure it's great business to limit yourself to 60-70% of the population. In our world of division, I'd rather divide my groceries by fresh or frozen, not red or blue.


So...lovely weather we're having...

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Of course well said. I’ve never been there for the “experience.” I have just shopped there for produce. We like their prepared soups and bread too. Aside from the huge TRUMP sign, which is hung so high it’s above the peripheral vision of someone short like me, I’ve luckily not had to be exposed to anything political there (i.e. I don’t talk to anyone). Over/under bet on how long until a huge DESANTIS sign replaces the TRUMP sign. Btw.. found this on the web but not listed on IG link.

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