In Praise of Crane’s

Crane's Beach House had added to Delray's charm while giving back to the community.

Crane’s Beach House has added to Delray’s charm while giving back to the community.

A long, long time ago, I went to a meeting at a non-descript old apartment complex near the beach in Delray.

A gentleman named Michael Crane was seeking support from city commissioners to convert the property into a boutique hotel.

As he outlined his vision, it was clear that he saw a niche in the market for a small, charming seaside hotel about a block off Atlantic Avenue.

He envisioned an oasis, tucked away from Atlantic Avenue which was just starting to pop.

I told him I would support the vision.

After all, Delray needed hotel rooms and you couldn’t help but get swept away by Mr. Crane’s ideas and warm personality. He was a believer in Delray and so was I.

When plans were submitted, we began to receive calls and emails from nearby residents who were concerned about the usual issues: traffic, noise and parking.

So went back to Mr. Crane and his team and worked hard to mitigate the concerns. The city’s planning staff was creative and helpful and we approved the project.

I thought about that process as I attended a party Friday night celebrating the debut of “The Villas” a set of new luxury units that are a welcome addition to what has become a signature property in Delray.

The hotel is not expanding per se, but evolving to capture another segment of the market.

Like it or not, Delray is a hot place as we envisioned and worked hard to achieve.

The same week as The Villas made their debut, the Boston Herald devoted four pages to Delray, noting its restaurant scene, vibrancy, beautiful beach, culture, shopping and recreational opportunities.

Crane’s Beach House is a big contributor to the city’s success and Michael Crane saw the potential, had the belief, took the risk and made the investment.

He was also a gifted talent scout, hiring Cathy Balestriere as general manager and empowering Cathy to dive into Delray. Over the years, she has used her experience,  energy and resolve to create a solid business and to position Delray as a great destination.

When Cathy got the job, she contacted my secretary at the time Delores Rangel, to set up a meeting. We ended going to lunch at City Oyster and starting a conversation that has lasted for more than 10 years. Cathy has always been brimming with ideas and she has a passion for Delray that is simply unmatched.

She has not only made Crane’s a very special property creating jobs and drawing tourists from all over the world, but she has given back by hosting innumerable events for local non-profits over the years. In addition, she has served admirably on the CRA board, created Destination Delray, served on the board of the Downtown Marketing Cooperative and been an invaluable member of the Delray chamber. And when it came time to build The Villas, she used local talent, Delray companies and professionals to design and build the suites. And they are simply magnificent.

With the addition of The Villas, Crane’s will enter a new era of prosperity. I have heard–anecdotally–of people staying at Crane’s and then deciding to move here. It makes sense. Very few places have what we have.

I give a lot of credit to Michael Crane and Cathy for their vision and for our city staff who found a way to make a project like this work.

Saying yes requires risk, but also leads to so many good things. Crane’s is but one example–albeit a great one–of what can happen when a city facilitates a vision.


Who Offers The Best Bite On The Ave?

Tryst Gastropub will be at Crane's to defend its title as Best Bite on the Ave.

Tryst Gastropub will be at Crane’s to defend its title as Best Bite on the Ave.


Cathy Balestriere, general manager of Crane’s BeachHouse Hotel & Tiki Bar, announced that the popular, Key West-style boutique hotel will be hosting its third annual Best Bite on the Ave on Thursday, November 20, from 6 to 8:30 pm.

“This is a win-win-win promotion in which everyone has a good time and savors some tasty food samplings from 10 outstanding restaurants while simultaneously raising much-needed funds for two worthwhile local nonprofit organizations: the HOW Foundation of South Florida, which provides hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) scholarship funding for wounded warriors and others in need, and Project Holiday, which supports local families who have loved ones serving in the armed forces around the world,” said Balestriere.
“Best of all – admission is only $5 per person, which includes one Best Bite token and five free raffle tickets for a variety of special prizes,” she added.


Ten competing restaurants will each set-up serving tables offering a variety of tasty goodies from their menus as they compete for the title of Best Bite on the Ave 2014.
This year’s local culinary competitors will be:
+ Caffe Luna Rosa
+ City Oyster
+ Pizza Rustica
+ Prime (The winner in 2012)
+ Rocky’s Bistro
+ Salt 7
+ Sundy House
+ Sweet’s Sensation
+ 3rd & 3rd
+ Tryst  (The winner in 2013)
Attendees will select the winner by dropping special Best Bite tokens in their favorite restaurant’s token bowl. Everybody will receive one token with their $5 admission and an additional token with every drink purchase (be it alcoholic or not). At the end of the evening, the restaurant that collected the most tokens will be declared Best Bite on the Ave 2014.
The fun and festive event will be held throughout the hotel, around both beach-like swimming pools and the two large Tiki Huts. Live music will be offered throughout the evening, including the Atlantic High School Drum Line and Jazz Band. There will also be an assortment of free desserts that night from It’s Sugar and Two Fat Cookies at Crane’s BeachHouse Hotel, which is located at 82 Gleason Street in Delray Beach, just one block south of Atlantic Avenue and one block west of the Atlantic Ocean.
“Which restaurant will win the coveted title of Best Bite on the Ave 2014,” asks Balestriere. “That will be decided by those who come to Crane’s BeachHouse Hotel on November 20 for the final Third Thursday Fun-Raiser of the year.”
For more information please contact Crane’s BeachHouse Hotel at 561.278.1700 or visit the website at