NAPLESNEWS.COM | SUNDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2020
Connor & Gaskins Unlimited, LLC is proud to announce the completion of Lulu’s Kitchen – a multifunctioning facility including a breakfast and lunch café, culinary institute, and event venue owned and operated by the local nonprofit St. Matthew’s House.
The multimillion-dollar facility was created for chefs and trainees alike to seamlessly fulfill all restaurant and catering needs with separate restaurant and catering cooking lines; top-of-the-line commercial-grade equipment and appliances; and designated refrigerators and freezers for food donations and purchases.
“Throughout the design and building process, we prioritized not only creating a functional kitchen to run an efficient restaurant, but also to create a suitable environment for members of the culinary training program to learn and gain hands-on experience,” Barry Connor, CEO, said. “We believe that Lulu’s Kitchen provides a strong foundation for the in-need community at St. Matthew’s House to obtain the help and confidence they need to get back on their feet. With this faith as the driving force behind the project, CGU brought the Lulu’s Kitchen vision to life.”
CGU completed the 8,000-squarefoot commercial kitchen on schedule and within budget, despite arisen obstacles due to the pandemic where CGU met the additional necessities to implement social distancing, mask mandates, hand-washing stations, and temperature testing protocols providing a safe working environment for their employees and subcontractors. Logistical challenges including placement of mechanical systems and coordinating ductwork placement to maximize kitchen height were also overcome thru implementing detailed coordination and space planning meetings between the trades involved.
“Our team experiences challenges with every project we take on, it’s just part of the business. However, executing this large-scale, project during a global pandemic was especially challenging,” Craig Gaskins, COO, said.
“CGU tackled the obstacles and came out stronger than ever. Completing projects on time, in budget and with high standards are three characteristics that our company strongly stands by, and we continued to do so during the evolving pandemic restrictions.”
St. Matthew’s House aims to use the facility to provide more than 500,000 hot meals for the organization’s residents and the public.
“This facility will allow us to really show the community all the amazing ways we can touch hearts and change lives through food,” Liz Morris, director of hospitality at St. Matthew’s House, says. “We can invite more guests to share in the ministry, highlight the amazing work of our chefs and students and shine a spotlight on hunger and homelessness and how the community can get involved.”
Lulu’s Kitchen is located at 2125 Airport Pulling Road South, Naples next to the St. Matthew’s House shelter. The café will soon be open to the general public.
Launched in 2010 by Barry Connor and Craig Gaskins, Connor & Gaskins Unlimited, LLC specializes in general contracting, developing, design building construction and construction management. The Collier-County based team takes on commercial projects, such as luxury condominiums and resort hotels, medical facilities and clubhouses. Additionally, CGU Homes, LLC, under the leadership of Vice President Jon Lawrence, has completed dozens of new-home construction and remodeling projects, from Port Royal to Bonita Bay. Connor & Gaskins Unlimited prides itself on responding to small and large projects with mutual respect, trust and integrity. Call (888) 302-9706. Online at CGUnlimited.com. Located at 1998 Trade Center Way, Naples.