Crook's Corner announced Wednesday that it will be switching owners, but longtime customers have no need to fear.
“I’ve had it for 36-and-a-half years, and I am ready to do something else,” said Gene Hamer, owner of Crook’s.
Hamer bought Crook’s in 1982 with chef Bill Neal. At the time, Hamer was unsatisfied with graduate school, so he said purchasing the restaurant felt right.
Hamer is excited about a new era for Crook’s and is looking forward to seeing it evolve. He picked the new owners because it was a good offer that will also retain the current employees.
Hamer is selling Crook’s to a small group called Tempus Fugit — Latin for 'time flies.' The group is made up of Gary Crunkleton, owner of The Crunkleton bar, Shannon Healy, owner of Alley Twenty Six, and a silent partner.
Both Crunkleton and Healy have close ties to the restaurant and care about its preservation. Crunkleton had his first date with his wife at Crook’s, as well as anniversaries and their wedding brunch. Healy was the general manager of Crook’s for 12 years, until 2012 and has always dreamed of owning the restaurant.
When Hamer called Crunkleton about buying Crook’s, he just couldn't say no. Crunkleton purchased the land and the building to prevent someone else from buying it, tearing it down or otherwise altering the restaurant and its surroundings.
When Crunkleton realized how big of a deal Crook’s was, he called in Healy to help with the books.
“It’s not going to be like your grandpa’s Crook’s Corner, it’s going to be more, hopefully, vivacious and fun,” Crunkleton said.