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Jul 15, 2009 08:13 AM

Fort Myers, CRU update..yawn

Shannon Yates is returning to Cru, at least according the the News-Mess this morning.

What a fiasco that place is. I do not think this will light a fire there. That sort of atmosphere is passe'.

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  1. I was at CRU Saturday afternoon sitting at the bar having some wine and cheese when Shannon came in and sat down at the bar. I was a little surprised to see him. It seemed like something was up the way everyone was talking to him.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Suzie

      Rose O'Dell King's column quotes Shannon, saying, "“Let the party begin”, he said with spirit. “I’ve rejoined my team at Cru and I’ll be a permanent fixture in the bar as a drink slinger and being the social butterfly that I am.”

      With Shannon tending bar, it'll be a fun bar. Welcome back, Shannon!

      Since he's not Chef at Cru upon his return (Richie Wilim is), I'll miss that part of Shannon's creativity. Cru's business greatly diminished, since Brian Roland opened successful M Waterfront last year in Naples, and Shannon opened Bacchus and Mad Takeout.

      My guess is there's a ~year long non compete clause from Bacchus or another spot, keeping Shannon out of the kitchens in Fort Myers. Cru faces an uphill battle, overcoming memories of their extravagant realtor and attorney dinners/parties, and overcoming the dwindling traffic at the Bell Tower. Stop by and say hi to Shannon!

      1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

        We had dinner at CRU last night and what a disaster it was. I was so embarrassed since we had friends in town and originally we wanted to go to Bacchus but there was a wine dinner going on so we thought we would try CRU.
        The server took forever to take a drink order and when he finally returned he brought the sparkling water but one glass - we need two as two of our party were having it. Someone else brought the cocktails after many minutes and when the server finally came back to take our food order we asked where our wine order was. He forgot to place it.
        After all the drinks were finally settled and specials were told we were then informed that the were out of the hanger steak and the cowgirl steak. A little frustrating because 2 people in our party expressed interest in ordering them earlier and we feel that if the server was a little more on the ball we would have been able to order them before they ran out of them. We then inquired what the "Spanish Piperade" was on the breast of chicken dish and he said it was like a caper??!! He wasn't even close and did come back and corrected himself.
        We ordered the cheese and meat plate for an app and he just brought it over a left without explaining what all was on it. Another server stopped and took the time to explain what was on it. Our server had no clue what was on it. The food was finally brought out and everything was good and properly cooked except one steak was a little over cooked but by this time we had such a bad taste in our mouth we just ate without comment. It took forever to get our check and our guests insisted on paying but all I could do was apologize for such a bad choice. The restaurant was not busy at all by the way.
        We went to the bar and waited several minutes while Shannon was flirting with 2 blondes at the end of the bar. We finally asked the bar back if the bar was closed and he said no and called over Shannon who was obviously mad that we disrupted his conversation. We had a bottle of wine and I had to ask twice for a glass of water but I never got it and I gave up asking.
        This place REALLY needs to get their act together. It was just a mess. The staff really needs help and if Shannon is happy at his new home, you would never had known it. I won't bne going back anytime soon nor will we be suggesting it to clients.
        And yes Shannon has a non compete clause until May that he cannot be a head chef.

        1. re: Suzie

          Dr. Kagan would do well to close the place up. What might work would be a new restaurant perhaps from the people that do Chops and Blue Water. Something less expensive like Blue Water would be welcome. Anything competent would be welcome but I fear it is rough going for Bell Tower at least in the next year or so.

          Shannon hangs out at the bar all day and really looks like he hates it. I've never been a fan of Cru. It just felt like it was trying tooo hard to be cool and quite frankly I never found it so. Their model was South Beach and they just couldn't get it. Shannon's schtick really belongs in 2004-5 and has no place in today's restaurant scene.

          BTW, how was the dinner at the Hotel Indigo place. I'm assuming less than wonderful as I haven't seen a comment.

          Have to ask, are you a realtor?

          1. re: LilMsFoodie

            LMF, Vino de Notte was really good. There were 8 of us and all the dishes were just delicious. The Veal meatball app was so good I have been back twice just for that. I had the Spaghetti Bolognaise and it too was very good but they were a little stingy with the sauce. Service was wonderful but the owner of the hotel made sure we were taken care of so I cannot comment on how things would have gone otherwise. The air conditioner wasn't working that eve so it was a bit warm but all in all it was a really nice time with good food and good wine.
            Nope not a realtor. We are in the hotel business.

            1. re: LilMsFoodie

              It sounds like Cru, now on life support after being shut down in December, needs to mercifully close its doors, long before the Kagan's new contract ends. It would put Shannon out of his misery, and goose him into finding a chef position. I was encouraged by his return to Cru last month, even as a drink slinger, if not as a chef. Oh well. I wonder if even he could revive Cru, were he to chef there in May. That's a long way away.

              A beachwear spot, a diaper sevice, a Kinko's or anything other than a restaurant would have a better chance at success in that spot. People have learned to avoid Cru even before its closing. Your experience is just another reason to seek other spots for a decent dining experience..

              I'd like to see Shannon leave the bartending and the whole Bell Tower locale behind, and bring his culinary talents to Naples. Cru's Brian Roland and Cin Cin's Scott Sopher have done so, and they and Naples' diners have all benefited. Come on down, Shannon! US 41 will lead you to the promised land.We have a lot more than a pair of krafty bar blondes, to entice you!.

              If the Kagans could sell motley Cru to some moneyed moron, they would be out of their misery, too. They deserve credit for trying to keep Cru alive. No owner could be happy, saddled with a place that's years past its prime, a kitchen that can't keep food in stock, and a disorganized skeleton crew. Ugh.

              Suzie, it's sad that your disappointing meal at Cru left a bad taste for you and your guests. I'll have to try Vino de Notte-thank you for posting the recommendation. I've blogged about some very good meals at LEe County's H2, Delicious Things, some spots on Sanibel, and waterfront spots like Flippers.

              1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                What restaurants are Brian Roland and Scott Sopher at in Naples?

                1. re: Suzie

                  Brian has been at M Waterfront Grille since October, 08. Very innovative food for stodgy Naples!

                  I have three blogs on him at M Waterfront- check the left sidebar list of restaurants at:

                  Scott just started at Olio's, and will have menu changes for fall.. The increase in quality is already obvious there.

                  1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                    Thanks. I am looking forward to the changes at Olios.

                    1. re: Suzie

                      Harold Balink, has left H2 behind, and will now join Shannon Yates as co-chefs at Cru.

                      I expect the Kagans to sell Cru's lease contract to them in 2010 at a very good price, once it sees clear profitability, and thus gracefully extract themselves from. Cru. Over the past few years, Cru has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows for the Kagans and dismissed staff.

                      Can Harold and Shannon make Cru successful as a team? They have my vote. I expect a synergy from them, as they sort out each chef's duties and areas of expertise.

                      Best thing is to change the restaurant name, for a fresh start in people's minds. With a pair of very competent and complementary chefs, I expect very good things. It'll take a few months to make changes, and that's a good timetable to be ready for the 2010 season.

                      1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                        I am a fan of Harolds but it will be a long time before I go to CRU again. My last experience was horrble and Shannon looks like he hates it there.

                        1. re: Suzie


                          You are in the company of many who've been disappointed or worse, with Cru over the lasf few years. Hopefully, this will be a change for the better.

                          1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                            I am sure with Harold it will be a change for the better but when I start seeing good reviews and especially from LMF I might then reconsider.

                            1. re: Suzie

                              I don't think they will get along. Harold is easy going but only to a certain point. He will be in charge and the Shannon ego, well, let's say he's difficult at best.

                              First on the chopping block should be that name and a cleaner look for the place. Setai or whatever they thought they were referencing is of another time. MP