Tag Archives: History

Seafood Shack Restaurant Closes

UPDATE: The Seafood Shack Restaurant is open. Hours are 11:30 a.m to 9:00 p.m. Telephone: 941-794-1235Seafood Shack Cortez

The Seafood Shack Restaurant in Cortez has closed re-opened.

The waterfront restaurant has been in business for 38 years serving grouper sandwiches, clam chowder and burgers but succumbed to the combination of high taxes, high insurance, economic downturn, and an upcoming bridge repair.

The humpback bridge on 127th Street is closing for repairs and Seafood Shack owner, Ham Jones, said he faced bankruptcy trying to stay open with low patronage, or close and lay off staff. He kept open the possibility of reopening in November if the bridge repairs are completed by then, and if the Anna Maria Island bridge repair closures reroutes traffic to Cortez bridge as scheduled for October – November.

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Purpose and Place

Organizers of last month’s Cortez Fishing Festival announced it netted $113,000 from the 2-day event.

Cortez fish house

Dedicated volunteers and sunshine brought in about 28,000 people. Proceeds far exceeded expectations and almost doubled last year’s $60,000.

The first festival initiated to purchase 95 acres of historic waterfront raised $98,000.

The funds created the Florida Institute of Saltwater Heritage (FISH) Preserve, dedicated to retaining the character and heritage of one of Florida’s last traditional waterfront communities within a natural environment. More privately owned land may be added to the preserve as it becomes available. The old wharves, fish houses, 1912 schoolhouse and 1896 Burton’s Store are in the process of restoration.
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Anna Maria Downtown Redevelopment

AMI Museum on Pine Ave Ed Chiles, local businessman and son of the late ex-Governor Lawton Chiles, spoke to the Anna Maria Island Historical Society last week at their annual luncheon meeting, to present his company’s plans for retail, office, and residential redevelopment on Pine Avenue.

Chiles investment group has purchased seven properties, one of which is the earliest homestead of George Bean. He said he intends to restore the house.

Pine Avenue is the main street of Anna Maria City and connects the City Pier on Tampa Bay to the beach on Gulf of Mexico. Until the present causeways and bridges were built for motor access, visitors would arrive by boat from Tampa and walk across to the beach.

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