PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) – Possible development around the Panama City Beach pier is threatening the life of a popular local business.
Hook’d Bar and Grill is known for its good food and even better views. But it’s the relationships built at the restaurant that keeps customers like Beth Peters and Kathy Young coming back each year.
“We started coming here about five years ago,” Peters said. “We got to know Melinda and a couple of the waitresses, Lacey. So we keep coming back every couple of weeks for drinks and good food.”
But a month ago the beloved business became a potential victim of progress.
Beach council members announced Hook’d would have one year left on their lease – pending the proposed improvement plans.
Ideas include a family-friendly green space, splash pad and a rooftop restaurant that would replace Hook’d Bar and Grill.
Loyal residents and visitors are not happy with the idea.
“It is nice to come to places that aren’t chains,” Young said. “There’s no point in coming down here and not enjoying something that is local.”
Melinda Middleton has worked at Hook’d for eight years. She said the staff and customers have become a family and seeing it close down would be upsetting.
“I am very passionate for this restaurant and I have grown to develop a good customer relationship with them and it would be sad to go,” Middleton said.
Middleton said if the proposal moves forward, some customers plan to start a petition to keep the business alive.
As of right now, none of those proposed plans are final. The city council plans to revisit them throughout the year and decide what would be best for the community.