In the six years since its opened, CRU has gone from one of the hottest spots on island… to remaining one of the hottest spots on island! So how does this chic restaurant keep their fresh vibes year after year? It’s all about the stellar cuisine, the killer cocktail program, unparalleled ambiance and an expertly run front and back of house. (Trust me… clearly you know I know from my instagram infatuation with the place!)
But it truly takes a village to make this 170 seat waterfront restaurant run. So I caught up with two of their talented owners, Chef Erin Zircher and Jane Stoddard, to understand a day in the life of the CRU crew… here is how they CRU it.
LOCAL SOURING INSPIRES CHEF
Every morning starts off with a team of seventeen in the back of house prepping for as much as 750 covers a day. Chef Erin especially loves the fall when she personally heads back to island farms to find inspiration around ingredients. Whether it’s crisp greens for her spring salad from Pumpkin Pond Farm or roasted peppers for her vegetarian Socca from Bartlett’s Farm, making sure to source as locally as possible is always on the CRU forefront.
THAT CRU BLOODY MARY HELPS US GET THAT VITAMIN SEA
Alongside their creative cuisine, the cocktail program at CRU has been a highlight for those in search of a drink with a flavorful punch. Every day, the house bloody marys are mixed with the finest ingredients consistently making it one of the best bloody’s on the island. Feeling that heat? Aside from the fresh ginger horse radish, lime and wasabi, it’s also garnished with a pepperoncini and caper-berry. FYI, during the peak of the season, the CRU bartenders will pump out hundreds of these all day favorites.
NOBODY DOES LUNCH LIKE THIS CRU
Hungry? Our pals at CRU often do 400 covers a day, just during the lunch time hours alone! And for those in search of a great mid day meal, CRU has you covered. Start it out with the beloved chilled lobster roll, a Chef Erin favorite with just the perfect amount of mayo mixed in with seasoning on a grilled oversized brioche bun. In need of something more meaty? The Painted Hills burger is the jam and a crowd pleaser with its dijoinaise, Vermont cheddar and tomato jam and wash it down with local favorite Fifth Bend Oyster Stout from Cisco Brewers. (PS… CRU is THE only spot to get this gem besides the brewery!)
LIGHT BITES & BLUSH TONES BRIGHTEN THE AFTERNOON
Located right at the end of iconic Straight Wharf, CRU is situated in the heart of the Boat Basin. So while waiting for friends to get off the Hy-Line, enjoy some local tuna crudo and match it with rosé for days! They’ll be happy to join you as CRU is literally right across the way from where the ferry lets you off! (Side note.. speaking of rosé, CRU is also home to the ultimate Rosé Brunch with Whispering Angel every Sunday during the Nantucket Wine & Food Festival. Their Rosé is Badass Shirts were a serious hit in 2017!) They’ve literally lost count of the number of cases of that blush favorite vino consumed per week!
PATIO LOUNGING WITH LIBATIONS
Bigger is better… especially when it comes to the CRU with the best views of the mega yachts, the biggest “Grand Cru” seafood towers and even one of Nantucket’s biggest cocktails! Take it outside to savor that late afternoon sun and sit in the CRU lounge with some friends while enjoying the Absolute Elyx Garden of Elyx punch which is stirred up using Chamomile infused Absolut Elyx, Aperol, Lemon & Pernod and topped with Cava! Patio perfection in our blACKbook. BONUS: this one drink can serve up to six people!
NOTHING SAYS HAPPY HOUR LIKE A CRUCUMBER
As our pals at CRU said, “this is our kind of juice cleanse.” This cocktail, created upon their opening in May 2012, has remained the number one seller since day one. With all that freshly squeezed juices of cucumber, lemon and toasted sesame simple, this cocktail is not only an oh so delish 5PM sipper — it’s the most instagrammable green juice on the island!
They don’t call CRU an “OYSTER BAR” for nothing! It’s #ShuckingAmazing to note that the CRU raw bar offers the biggest selection of seafood on the island. (And the two island oysters you can always count on are local oysters from Simon Edwards with his 5th Bends and Steve Bender’s Pocomo Meadows. ) And as the day rolls on, we have to shout out Master Shucker Rocco Sorocco who shucks upwards of 17,000 of those gems from the sea per week… and to really style your raw bar out, add in Chef Erin’s favorite, the Blue Crab Cocktail, a delicious seafood concoction with horseradish crème
DINNER WITH A CRU VIEW
With oysters, jumbo shrimp cocktail, fluke crudo & butter poached lobster, there’s no better way to get your array of seafood than styling you and your friends out at CRU for dinner. That menu is especially hot right now as they are participating in Nantucket Restaurant Week from Thursday to Sunday with three course for $28 at lunch and $48 at dinner! Side note… did you know that CRU serves up dinner from early to late? So whether you want the early bird special with the whole family at 5PM or love to dine late and want a 10:30 date night dinner, CRU is ready for you.
CRU HAPPY ENDINGS
Got a sweet tooth? No meal is complete at CRU without savoring one of their housemade desserts. From the chocolate pot de créme with dulce de leche & sea salt, to the 2017 twist on an ice cream sandwich with oversized almond macaroons sandwiched with strawberry gelato … to Chef Erin’s personal favorite (she divulged that she has one a day!) the CRU whoopee pie which, BTW, give you that perfect amount of sweet and salty with sea salt whipped into the vanilla butter filling!
FINISH WITH A LATE NIGHT TOAST
With a pumping soundtrack filled with songs that will make you want to dance and two bars that each create their own vibes, the bar is open until last call and you’ll be sipping and schmoozing and savoring the scene from the minute they open until the moment that we hit last call. A fourteen hour day with the CRU crew? We definitely have put in a few of these over the years!