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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

County needs more time to finish Cafe on the Beach

In what is rapidly becoming a nightmare for Cafe on the Beach owner Dee Percifield - along with the numerous regular and winter visitor patrons who frequent the restaurant - Manatee County officials have asked for yet another extension to complete renovations at the facility, located at the Manatee County Beach. The request was sent to the Holmes Beach City Commission Tuesday, Jan. 11.

Renovations on the building, which is owned by the county, began last September and completion was expected in November. But four hurricanes later, work was still not finished and the county received a temporary permit from the city to continue construction. The new completion date was Dec. 15, but that came and went. Only the Beach Shop and the Pancake Shack have opened and the county is asking for another 75 days to complete the main building.

That puts the opening date well into March, fully into the tourist season with Easter, the traditional signal of season's end, falling on March 27.

Percifield said she's as anxious as anyone to get open for business, and she's been flooded with inquiries from regular customers asking when is the opening date.

According to county officials, said Percifield, they need two additional weeks to finish the kitchen and another 30 days at most to finish the rest rooms.

"We could be open by Feb. 1, maybe Feb. 5," Percifield said hopefully.

"We have been as patient as possible with this," she added. "I've had so many people come up to me and ask when we'll reopen. What can I tell them? As soon as possible."

While renovations are ongoing, Cafe on the Beach has been serving short-order items from a portable trailer at the Manatee County Beach.