Chris Shake was born and raised in Monterey, California where he resides with his wife Lisa and son Austin who recently graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson. He is the son of Isabella Pullano Shake and the late Sabu Shake Sr. and brother to Benji, David, Sabu Jr., Angelo and Tene. In 1950 his parents opened a 44-seat restaurant in the middle of Old Fisherman’s Wharf. This is where it all started.
Chris, a lifelong Monterey restaurateur and Philanthropist attended Monterey schools only through the 7th grade at Walter Colton Jr. High School. At the age of thirteen years he went to work entirely in the family business known as Old Fisherman’s Grotto Restaurant. He trained in all aspects of the restaurant industry, starting as a dishwasher, cook, chef, server, bartender, manager, financial controller, president and now CEO.
In addition to owning Old Fisherman’s Grotto, he also co-owns The Fish Hopper Restaurant on Cannery Row in Monterey, Scales Seafood and Steaks and the Fishhopper restaurant in Kona, Hawaii with his brother, Sabu Jr. He is the owner of the Pirate’s Cove Gift Shop and Kocomo’s on Fisherman’s Wharf and also Austino’s Patisserie on Cannery Row.
Chris is a devoted Catholic who attends San Carlos Church and is a member of the Knights of Columbus reaching the level of 4th Degree. Chris has served five years on the Board of Directors of the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce working his way up to president-elect. He has served two terms as President of the Monterey County Restaurant Association, was Director of the California State Restaurant Association for two years and has served three years terms as President of the Fisherman’s Wharf Association, Chairman of Monterey's prestigious La Merienda's BBQ committee . Chris was inducted into the California Restaurant Association Hall of Fame in 2004. He has received The "Others Award" from The Salvation Army Monterey Peninsula Corps; the highest national award given to a person from their organization and in 2012 was inducted into the “Seafood Heroes” Cooking for Solutions by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and was selected Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce 2014 Citizen of the Year and most recently Chris was awarded Hospitality Person of the Year by the Monterey County Hospitality Association.
Chris has served as a volunteer in many local fundraisers and charitable events. Over the past several years, Chris and his business partner and brother Sabu "JR" Shake have hosted fundraisers benefitting The Salvation Army of the Monterey Peninsula raising over $4,000,000 to date. He has also been involved with numerous committees in the community.
Chris has supported education in the hospitality field by sending his management teams to local high schools to teach two classes entitled “Everything you need to know to get hired in the Restaurant Business” and “Careers in Food and Beverage from Service to Marketing”. In addition, all of his restaurants have always supported school athletics, music, art and technology programs by donating food and items to their various fundraisers. The Imagine College of Seaside High awarded a certificate of appreciation to Chris Shake stating “in appreciation of your contribution to ‘making the dream of a college education a reality’ for the families and students in this community.”
Chris was the first restaurateur in the nation to display missing children pictures on menu covers, realizing that the thousands of people that came through his restaurant would see these pictures and hopefully find a missing child.
Former Sheriff Kanalakis states: “Chris and the Old Fisherman’s Grotto have truly set the standard for dining establishments throughout Monterey County. Chris has spent countless hours at his restaurants ensuring that the high standards set by his father, Sabu, years ago remain the same.
Mr. B. John McMahon of the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau states: “Chris is one of the key leaders in implementing “Sustainable Seafood” on the restaurant level. Chris is a tremendous ambassador and makes our guests feel truly welcome. He has shined in continuing the legacy of providing excellent service and outstanding cuisine to the guests of Monterey”.
Ms. Jennifer Dianto of the Monterey Bay Aquarium has commended Chris for his commitment and leadership in promoting sustainable seafood through his restaurants.
Chris has strived to keep a widespread reputation for excellence in food, service and innovation. He stays current on industry trends, identifies the needs of his guests and uplifts and educates his staff into action. Old Fisherman’s Grotto has won numerous awards, including the Junior Achievements 2015 Monterey Bay Business Hall of Fame, the “Five Diamond” Best of the Best ranking from The American Academy of Restaurants and Hospitality, Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation, Business Excellence Award, Seafood Ambassador Award and has rated in the top 10 seafood restaurants in the USA. In addition, Old Fisherman’s Grotto was selected as “Best Clam Chowder” for the past thirteen years in a row and was recently awarded the American Culinary Federation Achievement of Excellence Award 2014 and has an AAA 3 Diamond Rating.
Chris gives credit to his upbringing and success to his Mom and Dad for keeping him grounded and for teaching Chris a work ethic and the importance of giving back to his beloved community and to those in need.
Chris lives by the words he often heard his Dad say “We make a living by what we get, we make a life of what we give”