Culinary Concepts Restaurant Group Founder Skip Quillen Retires, Sells Ownership to Phelan Family Brands
June 22, 2023
Naples, FL: (June 22, 2023) . . . Nearly 30 years after launching the first Culinary Concept restaurant – Pazzo! Cucina Italiana on 5th Avenue South in Naples – founder and CEO Skip Quillen has retired and sold his ownership in the award-winning restaurant group.
Grant Phelan, owner of Phelan Family Brands, has taken over as CEO. The announcement of Quillen’s retirement and change in ownership, both took place at the same time. The four fine-but-fun dining restaurants – Chops City Grill, Pazzo! and Yabba Island Grill on 5th Avenue South and Chops City Grill in Bonita Springs — will continue to be managed by current staff and changes in operations are not expected.
Quillen announced the private sale with the following statement:
“How lucky was I to fulfill my dream to not only open my own restaurant, but open five restaurants and do it all in Southwest Florida, the most beautiful and friendliest place on earth?
It has been my supreme honor to work with the greatest team on earth at Culinary Concepts throughout every facet of my professional career and in my day-to-day life. It has been a joy to work with the best employees, incredible customers, loyal purveyors, lawyers, repairmen and competitors. Thank you all.
This is a very bittersweet goodbye for me as I exit the stage and retire after almost 30 years in the restaurant industry. I will miss my team and friends at Culinary Concepts, several who have worked with me for more than 20 years including Jen Castellani, Chris Metzler, Jason Mattozzi, Kendra Rizzi, Thomas Garcia, Chris Principato, Nancy Flood, Raf, Karen, Darwin, Francis, Timon, Shannon, Tracy and the dozens of managers plus scores of line cooks, bartenders and waitstaff that have passed my way. Everyone made me look far better than I deserved and I will miss them dearly every day of my life.
I’d also like to take this time to extend my best wishes to the new owner of Culinary Concepts, Grant Phelan of Phelan Family Brands and his team, the very, very best and greatest of luck going forward. I have zero doubt that they will be successful.
Special thanks to all past and present landlords — Joy and Jan Irwin, James and Chris Shucart, the amazing Wynn family including Tim, Larry, Michael, Jeff and the boys, Barrett Ott, Tom Long, Bill and Jonathan Drackett and Riener Filthaut – everyone was a class act.
Additionally, special thanks to my first partner Tom Gilbertson, who took a chance on a young guy with extraordinary help from Realtor® David Stevens, attorneys Mike Gentzle and Jeff Novack, accountants Evelyn Garcia and Mike Licht (deceased), Jan Kerigan, Teresa Nelson, my girlfriend Loretta Young, my mother Joan Quillen, my brother Bobby Quillen and my children Tara and Sean. I could not have accomplished anything without each and every one of you.
Finally, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all the wonderful citizens of Southwest Florida for your support, friendship and kindness throughout the years, allowing a boy from South Jersey to fulfill his dreams. I will miss you all.”