The SanCap Chamber recently hosted ribbon-cuttings at two island restaurants — for the reopening of Sanibel Café at 2007 Periwinkle Way and debut of the new Crow’s Nest at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort on Captiva Island.
“The islands have always been known for their outstanding dining scene, and these two restaurants certainly go the distance as we restore that reputation despite hurricane setbacks,” said John Lai, SanCap Chamber president and CEO. “We welcome back a longstanding island culinary tradition and applaud the first new island restaurant since the storm.”
Sanibel Café owner since 2006, Richard McCurry credits the support of the Tahitian Gardens shopping center community and beyond for his restaurant’s recovery. The building’s three-foot cement slab acted like a sponge and pulled water up into the building, plus the front window and hood fans blew out, letting in even more water.
“When we moved out of the cafe, Josh and Audrey Stewart from Adventures in Paradise sent a ‘Bat Signal’ out and put together a team of people overnight to help move everything.” McCurry said. “We all helped each other out with whatever needed to be done — lot of check-ins to see who needed help or just to vent about the crazy times. We are grateful!” Other island restaurateurs helped him find storage space, and Sanibel artist Rachel Pierce painted a colorful mural and selfie station inside.
Insurance woes and the loss of his home stalled recovery, but thanks to community and chamber support, McCurry is able to reopen with a limited menu and hours – currently closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
“The Chamber has been at so many community events and always asks how they can help, ‘call if you need anything!’” said McCurry. “The staff and board members have made themselves available to us both as a business and personally. They have been to the city, the county, and Tallahassee, and maybe even Congress, lobbying for Sanibel and Captiva. Their efforts never quit. Thank you for that.”
One of the islands’ first post-hurricane success stories, ‘Tween Waters Island Resort reopened its doors Dec. 19, facilitating the islands’ recovery with accommodations for restoration crews and displaced residents.
Since then, the resort has remastered its on-site dining scene, rebranding its casual restaurant and bar as The Shipyard and building a new Crow’s Nest above it in a multi-windowed fine-dining venue with sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico.
The Crow’s Nest Steakhouse opened July 6 as the only second-level restaurant on the island. In addition to fine, house-aged steaks, it boasts an exclusive whiskey bar. Its Smoked Old Fashion is a signature cocktail prepared tableside.
“The concept has been wildly successful,” said Kimmy McGonnell, director of food and beverage for Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts, which owns and manages ‘Tween Waters. “Reservations are strongly recommended, although walk-ups are available on a limited basis. If you want to celebrate, do the night up right, or impress friends or loved ones with a one-of-a-kind spectacular view of the gulf, there’s no better destination.”
“’Tween Waters has elevated the island dining experience in more ways than one,” said Lai. “As the islands rebuild better and stronger, the Crow’s Nest ushers in a new era of eating, drinking, and experiencing.”
“The Chamber is a strong partner in all efforts for hospitality on the islands, and has been eager to spread the word not only on Crow’s Nest Steakhouse, but the new Shipyard, the many improvements at ’Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, and our awesome special events,” said McGonnell. “A great partner we highly appreciate!”
ABOUT SANIBEL & CAPTIVA ISLANDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting the prosperity of its members and preserving the quality of life of our community. The Chamber plays a key role in facilitating communication and cooperation between business, residents, and government to enhance the economic health of the islands. Its website, sanibel-captiva.org, receives over 1.3 million visits per year. For more information about the chamber, visit sanibel-captiva.org or contact John Lai, president and CEO, at 239-472-2348 or [email protected].