Shop Talk: The double life of a news guy

CHRIS CURLE
You may see this man, Lance Shearer, around town with a camera in his hand, shooting photos and reporting for the Marco Eagle. In his other life he's a performer here with a repertoire of about 200 songs. Chris Curle / Eagle Correspondent

You may see this man, Lance Shearer, around town with a camera in his hand, shooting photos and reporting for the Marco Eagle. In his other life he's a performer here with a repertoire of about 200 songs. Chris Curle / Eagle Correspondent

Stonewalls Restaurant General Manager Tim Burke, left, and proprietor/head chef Al Landers have been celebrating all this week the first anniversary of  their trendy restaurant on South Collier Boulevard. Chris Curle / Eagle Correspondent 

The fun begins at 5pm on this Friday the 16th,  when Al is offering beer and wine specials, drawings,  raffles and live music. AND BIRTHDAY CAKE!

Stonewalls Restaurant General Manager Tim Burke, left, and proprietor/head chef Al Landers have been celebrating all this week the first anniversary of their trendy restaurant on South Collier Boulevard. Chris Curle / Eagle Correspondent The fun begins at 5pm on this Friday the 16th, when Al is offering beer and wine specials, drawings, raffles and live music. AND BIRTHDAY CAKE!

Entertainer Lance Shearer says he believes what he read somewhere that, “you always want to hear the music for the rest of your life which was what you were hearing when you started steaming up car windows.”

In Lance’s case, he must have steamed up a lot of windows because his repertoire includes about 200 songs, “that I know, mostly,” as he puts it with a laugh.

His musical tools include a versatile, pliable voice, sometimes sweet, sometimes a bit salty and acoustic guitar, sometimes punctuated with a harmonica.

He can segue from a tune by ZZ Top to the Oz hit, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” then move on, killing with folk rock icons Crosby, Stills and Nash and equally excellent with bluegrass classics by Flat & Scruggs.

At this writing Lance plays at the Islander Restaurant, at the covered outside deck. He also has entertained at Cathy O’Clark’s on Marco and at nightspots in Naples and Bonita Springs.

Even so, Lance says, “I don’t call my self a professional musician but then I don’t call myself a professional journalist, either.”

The journalism reference is to his ongoing work as a news and features reporter/photographer for the Marco Eagle and Naples Daily News.

For updates on when Lance is playing at the Islander Restaurant in Town Center, call (239) 389-4545.

Come to think of it, maybe Lance should take his guitar with him on some news assignments. He sure could brighten up a meeting of the planning board.

Restaurants face economic headlines with hard work, high hopes

Veteran restaurateur Al Landers is enjoying the one-year anniversary of his Stonewalls Restaurant this week, telling us, “It’s been a tough first year, but people are finding us here (at 551 South Collier Blvd.). I took on the challenge because the concept seemed to be something Marco needed.

“We’re optimistic for a good season, with some new menu items, such as short ribs, chicken Marsala and Philly cheese steaks.” Call: 389-1995.

Al’s optimism is shared by operators of other restaurants that have opened for business this year, including Jerry Alajajian, owner of the recent startup Island Gypsy Cafe in Isles of Capri.

“I don’t think things will be as hard as they’ve been forever; there is a little bounce back. If you have the right product and in the right place you stand a chance. I know it’s tough times but people still like to go out and enjoy a nice meal by the water, many not as often for now, but if we stay lean and mean, things should work out OK.” 278 Capri Blvd. Call: 394-1111.

Frank LaCava knew he was willing to face the headwinds of a tough economy when he found the available place for his restaurant concept.

“I liked the location and the parking at Town Center,” Frank says, so he opened the Marco Island Brewery. “I knew the economy was bad but I never thought of failure. We did some good advertising and menu specials and basically give people what they want.

“When people passed by and saw a lot of customers, they thought we were making a lot of money. But we were just making it. This business is a lot of work for a little bit of money. You have to watch every penny.” Call: 970-0461.

Next time we’ll check in with restaurants that have moved to new locations and/or with new names or a new concept.

Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail chris@chriscurle.com.

Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: don@donfarmer.com.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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