Chris Geideman in Crew’s Control
By Georgetta L. Morque
For Chris Geideman, a stint washing dishes as a teenager at Rye’s Tripp’s Restaurant in the’80s fueled a passion that led to the successful career he enjoys today. Geideman, Rye High School class of 1985, is an accomplished restaurateur and owner, for the past 11 years, of Crew Restaurant on Railroad Avenue in Greenwich, a contemporary American bistro known for its creative cuisine paired with craft beers, innovative cocktails, fine wines, and live music.
Growing up in Rye, Geideman recalls life as a high school wrestler, lacrosse and football player with fond memories of beating Harrison. At home, he enjoyed good food and learned cooking from his mother, Joanne. Longtime Rye residents will remember Joanne, the owner of Harvey’s, the stationery and school supplies store on the Post Road. Harvey’s was a lifesaver for parents who simply brought in their children’s list of required school supplies and Joanne would fulfill their needs. When Harvey’s closed, parents were left in somewhat of a frenzy.
Tripp’s Restaurant is another landmark on memory lane. The neighborhood haunt was on the corner of the Post Road and Central Avenue, across from Jerry’s current location. It was there that Geideman moved on from washing dishes and learned cooking from Terry McSpedon, a CIA-trained chef who became his mentor. And it was then that Geideman decided to enroll at Widener University where he graduated with a B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant Management. “It felt right,” he recalled, realizing he found his passion and talents he wanted to hone.
From there, his career took off — from sous-chef to general manager — at Miche Mache in South Norwalk, Boxing Cat Grill, and Bleu Restaurant in Greenwich, among others. Along the way, he moved to St. John and served as head chef at Pussers Restaurant in Cruz Bay. He also worked in the wine industry and became an expert bar manager and signature drinks specialist.
In 2007, Geideman was able to create the restaurant of his dreams with the opening of Crew. And as life takes interesting twists and turns, he eventually brought in his mentor from Tripp’s, McSpedon, as executive chef.
Crew has received stellar reviews and has a following who rave about the fresh and imaginative menu options — traditional with a twist — such as pan-seared scallops with spinach, Cara Cara and blood oranges, watermelon, dried cranberries, almonds, and crisp wonton noodles and honey ginger vinaigrette, along with the eclectic wines, cocktails and beers. There’s a prix fixe lunch, friendly ambience – “Cheers” for the gourmand according to fans — and not to mention, plentiful parking. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, diners can enjoy acoustic accompaniment by local artists, including Rye High School grad Fred Fillat.
“I love coming to work every day and feel very fortunate,” said Geideman, who lives not far from his Rye roots in Norwalk with his wife, Talia, and their three young children: Anabelle, Curtis, and Madelyn. In their free time, they enjoy visiting grandmother Joanne, who now lives on the Jersey Shore.
For more information about Crew, visit crew280.com.
Chris Geideman with his mother Joanne