Pinchers Crab Shack finally found a spot on Marco Island.
The family-operated seafood restaurant chain based in Bonita Springs will open its 12th location this year at 591 S. Collier Blvd., the former space of O’Donoghue’s Bar and Grill and Cathy O’Clarke’s Irish Pub & Grill.
“It took me 10 years to find a location down there. There are just not that many opportunities,” said Grant Phelan, Pinchers’ director of operations, who knows the island well because he served breakfast at the nearby Marriott resort when he was 19.
“We are really excited about that market,” Phelan said. “We are just honored and humbled to be a part of that community because it’s such a beautiful community. It’s exciting.”
The Pinchers team took over the space in early June. The intention is to have it ready to launch next season.
“We hope to be open for season in 2017. We are going to shoot for November,” Phelan said. “We are going to do everything in our power that we don’t miss January, February, March and April.”
Longtime local restaurateur Mel Slawik built the building and he and his wife, Cathy, operated Cathy O’Clarke’s there for about 12 years, beginning in 2001. The space originally was divided with a wine and liquor store in one part, and then the Fat Pelican sushi bar, said Slawik, now a Realtor with Land & Sea Realty.
O’Donoghue’s Bar and Grill recently closed after operating for years on Marco Island. Dublin natives Helen and Peter Donaghy opened O’Donoghue’s in June 2010 after previously operating O’Donoghue’s in Philadelphia decades ago.
The Irish pub’s original Marco location was in the Royal Palm Mall, but it later relocated to the space of the former Cathy O’Clarke’s across from the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort.
To create Pinchers, the building’s exterior walls will remain, but the inside will be gutted and the kitchen and restrooms will be moved. “We’ll open the building back up a little bit,” Phelan said.
In addition to locations on U.S. 41 in Bonita Springs and in Naples’ Tin City, Pinchers has locations in Gulf Coast Town Center, at the Marina at Edison Ford in Fort Myers, in Cape Coral and two in Fort Myers Beach. Outside of Lee and Collier counties, Pinchers has locations in Key West, Lakewood Ranch and two in Tampa.
Tony Phelan, Grant’s father, started the local restaurant company in 1997. He later launched Texas Tony’s Rib House in East Naples.
Look for Texas Tony’s to start its expansion next. Locations will be announced soon for Bonita Springs and Fort Myers, Phelan said.