CRU Café, the latest endeavor from Russell Morin Catering & Events officially opened its doors on May 11th with some help from our friends at Ten 31 Productions and Newport Chamber of Commerce. Located next to VUE’ on 1 Casino Terrace in Newport, CRU offers the latest in craft café dining with a weekly changing menu that celebrates all things local and flavorful. Russ and Chef Manager Brandon Teachout artfully create menu items ranging from to-go breakfast options to delicious salads & sandwiches, as well as a weekly B.Y.O.B Brunch. CRU is planning on rolling out grill nights on the patio, live entertainment, tapas, and much more in the coming months!
Food is certainly at the forefront of everything Russell Morin does and CRU needed to be a space that embodied the personality of the menu. One of our Newport Office Event Specialists, Allie Pendergast, helped throughout the creative process with her educational background and keen eye for design. She took a few moments to discuss how CRU Café came to life.
Your background isn’t all catering and hospitality; tell us a little bit more about your experience with Architecture and Interior Design?
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from a Design School in San Diego. I love all aspects of design so when Russ came to me with his idea for a café I jumped at a chance to help him bring this vision to life!
How was the concept for CRU Café created?
Russ’s inspiration was to create a unique café where everyone; locals, tourists, and students alike, could enjoy local ingredients at a reasonable price. During his travels to visit his daughter in South Carolina he stumbled upon a café with a similar concept and passion for fresh food and hit the ground running.
What inspired you during the design process? What factors were the most important?
In the planning process the flow of space was extremely important to myself, Russ, and [Chef Manager] Brandon. We wanted to incorporate so many different concepts and elements into this space where we had very little room to do so. The three of us knew the café had to be inviting but also gave off the vibe for the food that we have coming out of our kitchen.
Wood was a huge inspiration for CRU. If you have had the chance to visit, you can definitely see that wood is all over the place. We mixed different types [of wood] to create a variety of textures and colors.
What was your favorite feature you got to incorporate into the café?
The design of the menu, when you walk up to the counter there are two huge chalkboards with our regular menu items and then there is this huge ream of Brown Kraft Paper where the chefs list the weekly specials and can literally tear last week’s menu down.