As Tropical Storm Colin finished its rampage through Manatee County on Tuesday, the crew at Tide Tables in Cortez assessed the damage beyond sandbags lined against the restaurant’s doors. Several employees used wide brooms to push ankle-high water off the front porch and into Sarasota Bay.
Most of the damage was contained to the docks, said Bobby Woodson, two-year owner of Tide Tables. The back deck also flooded, but the water did not make it into the restaurant building. Woodson used to own Seafood Shack and went through several tropical storms and hurricanes there. At Tide Tables, his main concern surprisingly isn’t the restaurant, but other people’s boats.
“We’ve got derelict boats that become our liability,” Woodson said. “Because if they hit our docks and they don’t have insurance, it becomes our responsibility. And nobody tells them they can’t moor there.”
The Tide Tables crew watched four or five sailboats knock into Cortez Bridge on Monday. Scott Greer, whose boat Stray Dog is anchored at Tide Tables, foresees an issue of bridge access if the derelict boats aren’t controlled. He’s afraid a sailboat mast will be broken over the bridge and prevent people from evacuating on one of two escape routes.
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“It seems like they (local officials) could do something rather than repeat the same mistake,” Greer said.
Nothing sunk yet and everybody is hanging in there.
Karen Bell, owner of A.P. Bell Fish Co.
Tide Tables will reopen on Wednesday. Storms typically don’t affect Woodson’s food supply enough to be noticeable to customers, he said.
Karen Bell, his partner and owner of A.P. Bell Fish Co. and owner of Star Fish Co. Market and Restaurant, said she wouldn’t have any shortage of supply, either. Most of the fishing boats returned early Monday; with a couple days off, the fresh fish supply might be a little short early next week, she said.
“We have frozen things we can use if we have to,” Bell said. Some of the boats sustained minimal damage and, though the tide was high, nothing went under completely. “Nothing sunk yet and everybody is hanging in there.”
At the Seafood Shack, operations returned to normal by Tuesday. The Shack closed early on Monday “for the safety of our staff and guests,” restaurant spokeswoman Liza Kubik said in an email. COO Jed Lippincott said the property didn’t have a lot of damage.
On the other side of the bay, the Historic Bridge Street Pier remained closed Tuesday because of minor damage and safety concerns. Several small boats nearby capsized, but no one was on board. The worst of the damage for Anna Maria Oyster Bar on the pier was losing a small piece of wood from a sign. Michael Madden, manager of AMOB, said the restaurant stayed open on Monday and had a surprising amount of traffic.
“I think it was because a lot of other restaurants closed, so people came here,” Madden said.
One Myakka City couple enjoyed biscuits and gravy on AMOB’s back deck just after the last leg of heavy rain Tuesday morning. Russ and Carol Barkhurst have lived in Florida for 15 years and weren’t scared to eat their breakfast outside with a light breeze provided by Colin.
“We had to go to the doctor’s, so we figured we’d come out for breakfast,” Russ Barkhurst said. “It’s beautiful out here; this is the perfect day to sit out here for us. This is our kind of atmosphere.”
“It’s peaceful and calm,” Carol Barkhurst said.
Down the street at the Chiles Group’s The Beach House Restaurant, general manager Dave Gallagher said the damage “could’ve been a lot worse.” One awning broke, a few light strands fell and a couple of ceiling fans came down. The Beach House remained open all of Monday and a wedding had to be moved indoors, but Gallagher said the couple enjoyed their nuptials despite the change of plans.
“Of course they were a little upset on the day, but it will always be something to talk about for the rest of their lives,” he said. The Sandbar and Mar Vista, Chiles’ other restaurants, had to close early Monday, mostly because of street flooding. Company spokeswoman Caryn Hodge said Mar Vista got hit the worst with some minor flooding.
Some dedicated fishermen made it out to cast their poles Tuesday at Rod & Reel Pier.
“They (Mar Vista) are closed today for lunch cleaning up, but hoping to reopen tonight if not definitely by tomorrow,” Hodge said in an email. “The surf was definitely up.”
Despite many avenues and streets under water on Anna Maria Island, some dedicated fishermen made it out to cast their poles Tuesday at Rod & Reel Pier. Jim Malfese, the restaurant’s dockmaster, said a flooded lower deck was the worst of what he saw. Rod & Reel closed early on Monday, as well.
“We didn’t have any damage really, but it was tough for people to get to us,” Malfese said. Almost all of the roads leading to Rod & Reel were still cordoned off on Tuesday because of flooding.
“It’s costing me money,” said Steve Leonard, baitmaster at Rod & Reel. “I usually do $500 per day and yesterday I did zero.”