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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Easter bunny ready to hop into Cafe on the Beach
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Ready for the break
Cafe on the Beach and Beach Shop operator Dee Percifield is all smiles amid the just-planted flowers at the remodeled Cafe on the Beach building in Holmes Beach. Percifield is hopeful the cafe will be open by Easter. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
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After nearly seven months of construction - and almost four months of delays - the newly remodeled Cafe on the Beach restaurant may reopen this weekend, just in time for Easter and spring break.

Dee Percifield, who operates Cafe on the Beach and the gift shop in the same building, said a health inspection was scheduled for Tuesday, March 22. Building and fire inspections have already been completed, she said.

"If we pass that, we should be open by this weekend. Let's cross our fingers. It's been a long time coming," noted Percifield.

Indeed, the popular Island eatery closed in September for some much-needed improvements by Manatee County, owner of the building. Work was scheduled for completion by Nov. 1, but four hurricanes that passed though the area between August and October delayed construction. A Dec. 15 completion date came and went without any sign the restaurant was ready for occupancy.

The "Pancake Shack" outside the main restaurant alongside the patio and the Beach Shop reopened in February.

"I'd like to thank everyone for their efforts on our behalf. The county has done the best they could under difficult circumstances," said Percifield. "And I'm thankful to all our loyal customers who are just waiting for the doors to open."

One sad part of being closed for seven months, said Percifield, is that most of the staff, many of them long-time employees, have left for other jobs.

"Let's hope everything works out this week," she said with a brave smile.