Snowbirds, this one’s for you: Florida’s high-end seafood, steak, and crab house Truluck’s is set to open this October (hopefully before the snow falls) at 41 East Chestnut Street on the Gold Coast.
The 11-location chain is essentially following its following: Over 50 percent of winter customers at its Naples, Florida, location are from Illinois, and most of those customers are from Chicago, according to Truluck’s chief operating officer, David Tripoli, whose 30-plus-year career in the hospitality industry includes partnering with Walter Payton on a local nightclub company.
Truluck’s takes over the former home of McCormick and Schmick’s, and the 11,000-square-foot space will hold around 90 in the lounge—where a crooning piano player will regale diners—and 180 in the dining room.
For the uninitiated, the 25-year-old company is big on crustaceans. “Every business has to have a point of difference, and crab is ours,” declares Tripoli, who adds that during stone crab season in Florida (October 15 to May 15), Truluck’s sources from its own fishery in Naples. “Our boats go out daily to capture the crab. Fishery employees then cook, sort, and size them, pack them on ice, and send them [via plane] to our restaurants,” he says.
In Florida’s stone crab “off-season,” varieties such as Santa Barbara red rock, Japanese spider, and Australian spanner crabs grace the menu. “We broker crab all around the globe,” says Tripoli. Expect the shellfish to show up in myriad forms, including king crab mac and cheese, crab fried rice, and the restaurant’s signature chilled stone crab claws. Fittingly, Daniel Sanchez, a 16-year veteran of Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (which, might we add, is just a stone’s throw away) will serve as chef.