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Eric Smith Appointed as Executive Chef of the 196-room
Plantation on Crystal River in Crystal River, Florida

May 11, 2012 - The Plantation on Crystal River, the hidden gem along Florida’s Nature Coast, just 80 miles north of Tampa, recently named Eric Smith as Executive Chef of the 196-room resort. In this position, Chef Smith’s responsibilities include overseeing the daily operations of the new West 82 Grill and the Lobby Bar. Chef Smith will also be responsible for providing food and beverage offerings to the Plantation on Crystal River’s 12,000 square feet of meeting space for group meetings, corporate parties, local catering events, and special occasions.

With a history of working on cruise lines and luxury restaurants, Chef Smith came to the Plantation from his most recent position as relief executive chef/executive sous chef for Norwegian Cruise Lines Pride of America in Hawaii. With more than 15 years in the industry, Chef Smith has also honed his craft as the chef de cuisine at the famed Blue Door at The Delano in South Beach, the five-star Navy Bistro in Toledo and at Harrah’s Chester Casino and Racetrack in Philadelphia. Chef Smith holds an associate’s degree in culinary arts from Daytona Beach Community College, where all courses were taught by Johnson and Wales instructors. A native of Daytona Beach, Fla., Smith now resides in Crystal River.

The West 82 Grill, formerly known as the Plantation Dining Room, recently underwent a complete transformation. Re-opened in Jan. 2012, the restaurant has a more casual and sophisticated feel, with an airy ambiance highlighted by new chairs, booths, carpet, artwork, stained concrete floors and large windows overlooking the river. The new menu features old favorites such as the signature shrimp and grits and the Plantation she crab soup and some new items such as Mahi Mahi Ceviche, Florida Tomato Napoleon and Cajun Salmon.

The new contemporary lobby bar is features a new “grab and go” coffee bar and is a casual spot to start or end the day. The wall coverings and dining benches  feature calming greens and blues complemented by black and white artwork showcasing the scenic river. West 82 Grill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

Kelly McCoy, who recently joined the Plantation on Crystal River, has taken the helm as the new restaurant manager. McCoy was most recently the banquet manager at the Harbor View Hotel & resort in Massachusetts.

About The Plantation on Crystal River

The eco-friendly Plantation on Crystal River is surrounded by the natural springs of King’s Bay and more than 25,000 surface acres of pristine lakes and rivers, as well as wildlife refuges and state parks.  On site, the Plantation features a full-service family-oriented dive and tour operation marina, 12,000 square feet of meeting and event space, 18-hole golf course, 9-hole executive course, Aveda spa, delectable dining and inviting accommodations. Guests have the unique opportunity to swim with the manatees, rent a pontoon or Jon boat, relax by the riverfront pool, enjoy a game of croquet on the manicured lawn, or hire a guided fishing charter.

With more than 1,600 feet of seawall, overnight guests can tie up their boats at any of over 80 spaces.  A golf school and SCUBA certification
classes are also available to guests of the hotel.

For group reservations and information, call toll-free (800) 632-6262 or visit

Kelly Grass Prieto
Hayworth Creative Public Relations
(813) 318-9611

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Also See: The 196-room Plantation on Crystal River in Crystal River, Florida Names Andrew Bartlett as General Manager and Michael Mancke as Director of Sales and Marketing / December 2011

The Plantation on Crystal River in Crystal River, Florida Undergoing $3 Million Renovation to Guest Rooms and Public Areas / November 2011

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