MANATEE -- Dockside restaurants on Anna Maria Island were forced to close on Sunday after powerful storms moved through Manatee County early Sunday morning. One restaurant had to remain closed through Tuesday.
Rod & Reel Pier sustained a broken piling and had to cut it out of the pier to replace it. Customers who went to Rod & Reel on Tuesday were met by the broken piece, which was laid on the beach next to the pier. Some of the drain lines on the pier were also damaged, said Dave Cochran, the restaurant's general manager.
"We plan on being done today and opening tomorrow," Cochran said Tuesday. "We don't want to open until it's safe."
Cochran hopes to reopen in time for breakfast on Wednesday. The damage comes almost a year after Rod & Reel Pier reopened following an electrical fire in September 2013.
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Cars circled Rod & Reel's parking area on Tuesday. Some hopeful customers who heard about the closure wanted to see what the damage was. Others were unaware the restaurant was closed until they drove up to the pier.
A family vacationing from Ohio arrived on Friday and Cecilia Schweizer said her niece had to return to school this week but wanted to have lunch at Rod & Reel before she flies out on Wednesday.
"It's the last thing she wanted to do," Schweizer said. "We planned our whole day around it." The Schweizers other pier dining option, The City Pier Restaurant, has received an influx of business while Rod & Reel fixes the storm damage.
"Yesterday we were so busy we had an hour wait and we were busy today too because they're (Rod & Reel) closed," said city pier hostess Natalie Shaffer. "It was crazy. We brought in an extra server and an extra busser today."
The City Pier Restaurant had to close on Sunday, too, because of high winds and high waves, Shaffer said. A few boards came off of the restaurant's lower fishing dock next to the pier near the restaurant, but that was the worst of it.
A little farther down the island the Historic Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach sustained no damage, said John Horne, president of Anna Maria Oyster Bar. AMOB on the pier opened about a month ago.
Across the bay, Seafood Shack in Cortez suffered minor damage. In the restaurant's marina, one piling was split in half by a boat "banging up against it," said Liza Kubik, director of marketing and events for Seafood Shack.
"Also a couple of water lines that go out to the boats were broken, and were immediately fixed," Kubik said. "Other than that, we fared very well." Kubik said restaurant staff removed heaters, bar stools and sails installed to provide shade from the decks on Saturday to prevent damage.
Several tornadoes were spotted early Sunday morning in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, including one that destroyed a mobile home and killed two people in Duette. The tornadoes, uncharacteristically strong for this time of year in Florida, are attributed to the El Nino weather pattern.
Janelle O'Dea, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow her on Twitter@jayohday.