Servers and staff at the Rod & Reel Pier, 875 N. Shore Drive, Anna Maria, are all smiles at 8 a.m. Feb. 7, as the long-standing pier and restaurant reopened after being closed more than four months due to repairs after an electrical fire. Islander Photo: Bonner Joy
It took a bit more than four months of repairs, but the historical Rod & Reel Pier at 875 N. Shore Drive in Anna Maria reopened for business the morning of Feb. 7.
The pier and its restaurant had been closed since Sept. 30 due to an electrical fire, and the repairs had to meet the new Florida Building Code requirements, said manager Dave Cochran.
“Meeting those new requirements made it take longer than we thought. Every time we’d tear down a wall, we’d find more damage that had to be rebuilt to the new code,” Cochran said.
He congratulated Bimini Bay Construction for its help in getting the facility reopened, and all the staff members who pitched in the final week to get the restaurant ready.
Built in 1949, the repairs now make the Rod & Reel Pier look almost new, Cochran said.
“But we’ve still got the same home-town, laid back atmosphere and flavor, and most of the old employees are back,” he said.
During the four-month closure, All Island Denominations assisted out-of-work staff with bills, food, clothing and other living essentials. AID is composed of island churches and does not charge for its services. Additionally, the food pantry at Roser Memorial Community Church was available for the staff.
“It took a lot of work and effort, and many weeks working seven days, but it’s done and we’re back,” Cochran said.
- The pier was purchased in 1998 by Mario Schoenfelder, who also leases the Anna Maria City Pier.