PARKER, Fla. (WMBB) — Another local restaurant is soon reopening after Hurricane Michael devastated the Panhandle more than two and a half years ago.
Rodeo’s Steak Pit and Seafood has been serving guests in the City of Parker for 20 years, until the storm destroyed the business in October 2018.
“We just cried,” said the restaurant’s owner, Bobby Creamer. “We just held each other and cried.”
He said on Friday that the morning after Hurricane Michael hit, he and his family went to survey the damage at the restaurant and were shocked by what they found.
“When we pulled up the front didn’t look so bad, but when we went around to the back, it was really devastating to see the destruction it had caused,” Creamer said.
Three boats had plowed into the building and the roof was torn off.
“The entire roof, peeled back like a sardine can,” said the restaurant’s long-time manager, Jason Feagans. He said it was a heartbreaking sight, as years of hard work and memories had blown away.
“I had a lot of blood sweat and tears in this restaurant over 19 years,” Feagans said. “To see it just in a blink of an eye destroyed was, needless to say, gut-wrenching.”
However, among the rubble, an American flag and a cross remained.
“The scripture on the cross [was] John 3:16,” Creamer said. “It just kind of strengthened our faith because you know this is all material stuff and it goes away and it can be rebuilt.”
That vision has become reality over the last two and a half years, despite challenges like permitting, material costs and the COVID-19 pandemic. The walls and roof are now replaced, and scripture is etched into the building’s foundation.
“It kind of gave us a feeling like we had won a battle and we were declaring that and giving Him the glory in it,” Creamer said.
“Out of the ashes, something’s always better to come from the other side,” said Feagans.
While the restaurant has been built new, Creamer said they’re ready to serve the community the same way they always have.
“It’s just going to be us in a new building,” he said. “We look forward to seeing our customers again.”
They’re hoping to be back open by early to mid May.