“When I was a kid, I didn’t really know what I wanted to be,” Chris Evans once confessed. “But I always admired my grandfather, F.M. ‘Don’ Donelson. Entrepreneurship runs in my veins, I guess.”
In the 1970s, Donelson developed Fishermen’s Village, a commercial flagship for Southwest Florida’s fastest-growing retirement and tourism hub, Punta Gorda. Today, Evans seems well on his way to equaling his grandfather’s track record.
In 2000, Evans got his start as operations manager for a small Minneapolis manufacturing firm. The next year, he returned to Punta Gorda as Chief Operations Officer for his family’s business. He spearheaded, and was the driving force behind significant growth and increased business interests. He and his partners launched a 38,000 sq ft mix use building, a Marina Management company, a full service printing company, a 530 seat waterfront restaurant, an event management company, and a philanthropic organization.
In 2013 he made a fresh start, expanding into a personal career as a restaurateur. In rapid succession, he and New York developer William Socha opened three highly rated restaurants in two states: The Turtle Club and F.M. Don’s (Partnering with Executive Chef Keith Meyer) in Punta Gorda, and The Glass Tavern in Socha’s 60,000-square-foot mixed-use space in Glenville, Schenectady County, NY.
Winner of the inaugural Punta Gorda Police Department Community Alliance Award in 2012, Evans continues to be involved in Punta Gorda community development projects, including multifamily and a memory facility in the wealthy harbor front community.
In spring 2017, Evans and Socha launched SoEva Hospitality Group, a management-company umbrella for its three enterprises, and more to come.
“Our culture is simple, a genuine desire to meet and exceed the expectations of our guests.”
– Christopher R. Evans
Born and raised here in Punta Gorda, Travis has always had a love and interest in the history of our quaint little town. Graduating from Charlotte High School in 2001, he set out to find his way in the world and started a career installing commercial internet and phone systems as a contractor throughout Naples and Marco Island, all the way up to Tampa.
In 2009, he made his way back to Punta Gorda to start a new adventure – with a baby and a family on the way, he took a job at the Celtic Ray just looking for anything close to home. It was there that he fell in love with cooking and found a whole new passion in life. He stayed with the Celtic Ray for many years learning the ins and outs of the business, traveling north to open new pubs and taking on a leadership role and learning problem solving skills essential for the job. He also was a sushi chef for 4 years in town, only adding to his love for food and passion for learning.
He joined Chris Evans in 2013 with a passion for this city and bringing something great back for the people here. With a strong work ethic, and the love of our motto, “Gracious Hospitality” he took on roles and responsibilities that were all new to him, and the beginnings of our team were in place.
Rachel Dawson grew up in Charlotte County. She graduated from Charlotte High School in May 2014 and is currently attending Florida Southwestern State College studying business administration and marketing.
Rachel has been a member of our team since September of 2014. She started as a hostess and quickly became our lead hostess.
Rachel is a hard working young lady who embodies our company philosophy. Her problem solving ability, calm under pressure, and sincere tone make her an asset to our organization.