ANNA MARIA – Though the weather in Anna Maria was a dreary grey on Friday, the aura surrounding the Rod & Reel Pier and Restaurant was anything but.
Friday marked the official reopening of the historic restaurant, which was shut down after an electric fire erupted from its walls on Sept. 30.
Just after noon, cars circled around the pebbled parking lot in search of available spaces. Patrons ambled their way on the worn deck towards the 67-year-old restaurant. The winds were strong, yet men stood outside, conversing over beer in plastic cups.
Dave Cochran, who manages the facility, made his rounds around the restaurant with a clipboard in hand. It was originally estimated that it would take two months to repair Rod & Reel Pier, but Cochran said the focus was expanded to take care of other issues such as wiring.
“We saw that the place was in need of a good repair as well, so one thing led to another and that’s why we finished what we did,” Cochran said. “And it took so long to do it and make sure it’s right.”
Steve Bergquist, who works as a contractor for Bimini Bay Construction, echoed Cochran on the dire need for renovations. He said he worked with a steady crew of four men for the project, and Cochran brought his own help. The wiring and wallsin the restaurant are brand new – and so is much of the plumbing, Bergquist said.
The restaurant received its temporary certificate of occupancy on Thursday, the contractor added.