Cloud 9 Grille’s interior with Luc Century glass work on the dividing wall

SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. (Jan. 4, 2013) Sanibel Island’s Il Cielo has reopened, and there is more than just a new eclectic menu and casual lounge area that’s changed since closing for the off-season last May.

Meaning “the sky” in Italian, Il Cielo is located at 1244 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. The restaurant opened in January 2012 to rave reviews from local food critics and enjoyed a very successful first season of business.

In addition to a revamped menu, a more casual Cloud 9 Grille was added in the lounge area for those seeking a nice, yet relaxed meal. The focal point of Cloud 9 being separated from the main dining area is an original glasswork called “Cloud 9.” The sculpture is a 20 inches tall by 30 feet long rounded glass divided in six sections that sit atop a three-quarter rounded dividing wall with booth seating in the lounge and table seating on the opposite side.

Local glass sculptor Lucas Century was commissioned over the summer to create the one-of-a-kind piece for the restaurant.

“This was a great opportunity to help balance the interior aesthetics and create a visual, exciting delineation between the lounge area and dining room,” Century said. “I worked from the owner’s inspiration of his enjoyment of gazing at the sky with his grandson and created a texture that would be infinite in its nature, just like the sky.”

Century said this was his first foray into working with curved glass.

“The pattern had to flow from one section to another without interruption,” he said. “The pattern I chose naturally fits the long and short height and graphically enhances the concept of light and sky.”

As a master of large-scale art glass works, Century has been commissioned by museums, centers for the performing arts, private collectors and universities. From the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. where he pioneered a technique for the engraving of more than 58,000 names in stone, to the Miami City Ballet and the Whitaker Science Center at FGCU, he has created inspirational images and dedicational works.

More than 15 of Century’s individual pieces of his fine glassware and original works are also featured throughout the restaurant and are available for purchase.

“We are so pleased to have Luc’s work as a permanent fixture in our restaurant,” said Il Cielo General Manager Bruce Ronty. “His creation ads the ‘wow’ factor to our new Cloud 9 Grille and is the perfect compliment to the organic atmosphere of this great restaurant we have created.”

The compliment to Century’s glass works are the vibrant and colorful paintings by Jupiter artists Carmen Lagos and Gustavo Castillo that are hung throughout the restaurant, all of which are also for sale.

“Bruce’s vision was to bring the island’s vibrant tropical foliage inside,” said Suzanne Lurie, Sanibel resident and retired interior designer who curated the artwork for Il Cielo. “As soon as he saw their work, he knew it was exactly the look he wanted.”

Lurie, who owns a number of Lagos and Castillo’s prints in her Sanibel home, brought one of her own Giclees of a banana leaf by Lagos and hung it in the restaurant’s foyer. She helped Ronty select the additional 15 pieces from Lagos and Castillo’s catalogue. The limited edition prints, which were personally framed by the artists, range in size from 30 inches by 40 inches to 50 inches by 70 inches.

Castillo and Lagos have been painting full time for 24 years. The married couple turned to painting full time after successful careers as a commercial pilot and architect. Lagos’ work features an earthy palette and detailed forms of leaves and blossoms. Castillo’s work, by contrast, has an abstract foundation and playfully addresses images and colors. Castillo and Lagos will both be displaying at the juried Bonita Springs National Art Festival at The Promenade on Jan. 12 and 13, 2013.

In addition to the two dining areas, Il Cielo’s interior changes also allow space separate from the main dining room for private functions or community events.

The Il Cielo menu has been revamped with grilled additions like Yellow Fin tuna, local catch, pork tenderloin and free-range chicken. Specialties now include Colorado lamb, Yellowtail Snapper, Blue-Crab-crusted Black Grouper, Zinfandel-braised short ribs and jumbo shrimp and grits in addition to a number of favorites from last season’s menu like mussels, traditional meatballs, linguini and clams, pastas, filet and lamb.

The Cloud 9 menu features Baja fish tacos, lobster mac and cheese, a six-ounce New York strip, wild-caught Salmon and more.

“Our goal is to deliver superb food that meets the highest standards of quality, freshness and seasonality while combining both modern-creative and traditional Mediterranean styles of cooking,” said Il Cielo’s new Executive Chef Neil Griffin. “In addition to the most popular favorites from last season, we wanted to evolve the menu for our diverse clientele into the addition of lighter selections featuring local and regional fish and locally grown sustainable vegetables.”

Il Cielo still features a full liquor bar with a wide selection of wines as well as homemade desserts.

Comfortable booth seating has been added inside the lounge area, while a number of corner booths have replaced the stand-alone tables in the main dining room. Outdoor patio dining is now available as well. Diners are no longer required to wear long pants; instead, dress shorts and collared shirts are acceptable.

“We will consistently provide our guests with an exceptional experience each time they dine with us,” Ronty added. “From the delicious food to the friendly, impeccable service, Il Cielo and Cloud 9 will be venues that islanders and visitors can dine at seven days a week.”

Menu items range from $4 to $38. Hours are daily from 5 to 10 p.m.

For more information, visit or call (239) 472-5555.

Cloud 9 interior

Luc Century installing his work

Luc Century Glass Work

Luc Century Glass Work

Lagos artwork