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Anna Maria Island area restaurants take hiatus in September

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Star Fish Lang

Kela Holland, left, of Sarasota and Cory Chmielweski of Tampa, enjoy mullet for lunch at The Star Fish Company in Cortez, Florida (Mar. 22, 2012; Herald-Tribune staff photo by Mike Lang)

From burger joints to fine dining establishments, some of the most popular restaurants in the Anna Maria Island area will be closed in September. It’s a tradition for certain family owned and operated eateries from Cortez to Longboat Key. Miss your chance to nosh on your favorite dish this weekend, and you might not have another opportunity to get your fix until mid-September or even October.

The famed Star Fish Company in Cortez, for instance, will be closed Labor Day through Sept. 15. Manager Laurie Jones said the vacation period has been part of the restaurant’s calendar since Karen Bell opened the place in the mid-1990s. They use the time at the dockside restaurant for maintenance and cleaning “and to get ready for the big season.” The regulars are prepared.

“They know it’s going to happen and this weekend we’ll see a lot of people get their fix and then in two weeks we’ll see them again,” Jones said. “When we reopen it’s still pretty slow and good for the locals to get their fix before the snowbirds get here in October.”

Waterfont HT ARCHIVES

The Waterfront / HERALD-TRIBUNE ARCHIVES

The Waterfront, one of the top dining and drinking destinations in the City of Anna Maria, will be closed Sept. 16-25. When it reopens there will be a new attraction. The place already acclaimed for its craft beer selection and wine menu will have a liquor license.

“We’ll have the usual suspects with a wide selection of single still spirits from all over U.S., from whiskey to vodka to rum,” said owner Jason Suzor. “We’re making some changes to the inside bar to accommodate the liquor; moving the bar in a foot and adding a new counter but nothing major.”

Over at Duffy’s Tavern on Holmes Beach, the Geyer women that own and run the beloved burger and beer place are closing Sept. 3 and reopening Sept. 25. It’s a vacation tradition for the past 1-0 years. The reason?

“Not to come into work,” said co-owner Polli Geyer Stroup, with a chuckle. “We do a couple days of fall cleaning and then we walk away for a few days and take a weekend trip – and there’s a lot of stuff around the house I’ve been putting off.”

Harrys int

Harry's Continental Kitchens is located at 525 St. Judes Drive in Longboat Key. In the late 1970s it was solely a takeout business which expanded to include catering and then in 1985 Harry opened a fine dining restaurant. Photographed Feb. 26, 2009. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune Staff Photo by Thomas Bender)

In Bradenton Beach, the fresh fish purveyors at the cozy Blue Marlin Grill are also looking forward to being closed starting Sept. 22 and not reopening until Oct. 9.

“The reason we close is it’s a little, old cottage so we’re just doing some upkeep on it and nailing boards down and painting some walls,” said Rodney Rich, the restaurant’s manager. “We’re getting prepared for stone crab season, which starts October 15.”

He added, with a laugh, “And I’m also going to take time to go to the horse races in Kentucky in October.”

Harry’s Continental Kitchen on Longboat Key has been closed since Aug. 19 and won’t reopen until Oct. 3.

“We’ve been closing in September for at least 10 years now,” said Jen Sayko, the restaurant’s catering director. “Longboat Key pretty much dies, first of all, but it’s also nice to give everyone a few weeks off because when season hits, it hits hard. It’s a nice time for everyone to travel and pick up new ideas. We encourage international travel to inspire ideas to feature new and creative items on the menu.”

Euphemia Haye, also on Longboat Key, is open Sunday and then does not reopen until Oct. 3. It's a hiatus tradition at the restaurant for more than 15 years.

“It's a time for people to take vacations and do renovations," said Amy Whitt, Euphemia Haye's administrative assistant. "A couple years ago we got a new air conditioning system. We've redone bathrooms, stripped floors and just spruce up the restaurant before season starts."

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Anna Maria Island guide
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Anna Maria Island guide
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Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013 Wade Tatangelo has been an entertainment reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: September 2, 2013
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