Local restaurant highlights the still present after-effects of Hurricane Michael in letters to guests

Local News

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — A local restaurant that has been in Panama City Beach for over 20 years is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Michael nine months later. Just like many other businesses in the area, Boon Docks restaurant has been struggling, not just with filling positions but with customers who may not know the extent of the storm’s fallout.

“We opened in 1998, it was an old fish market next door and we redid the building and so we reincorporated a restaurant around that. It grew over time into what it is today. We appreciate all of our locals as well as our summer quests and other beach visitors. Those are the ones that we were trying to explain to them what the community has been through. Some of them think when it was not on the news anymore for them, that everything was okay,” explained Hilary Head, Boon Docks restaurant owner & manager.

To inform those visitors on the still-present devastation of Hurricane Michael, the restaurant has been posting a letter along with the menu to each table.

“We had a lot of people that were kind of impatient and upset with us about not being open specific times like we were in the past. We just wanted to let them know that we’re doing all we can because when we leave work, we all still are dealing with our homes, our friends’ and family’s homes, and other livelihoods. There are many businesses that have not been able to reopen and haven’t been able to staff adequately to reopen as well as their building. We are so fortunate to be here and we want our quests to realize how fortunate we are to be here as well, and be patient with everyone in our community while they visit,” stated Head.

Despite the challenges, Head emphasized just how glad they are to be open.

“Our business was affected in many ways, it’s kind of a trickle-down thing. From our delivery personnel to our staff being displaced, without utilities, without transportation for some of our deliveries, it made things a hardship. We have not been able to add our seasonal staff as normal or add seasonal hours due to lack of help in the area. Everywhere it seems to be shorthanded. Thankfully we were one of the lucky ones who were not severely damaged and able to open before the end of the year. We were very fortunate to be one of those that we’re able to open,” highlighted Head.

And the emotional letter seems to be working.

“Many guests have come to us and been so happy to understand better what’s happening because they didn’t know how bad it was on the other side of Hathaway Bridge before they spoke with some of us. A lot of them come in 331 or Highway 79 and they see some tree damage, blue tarps here and there but not the severe damage that our community has suffered. We still need their prayers, thoughts, to keep us in their mind and not be impatient when they are on the roadway, when they are at a business, or where they are staying. We’re all working on this together to make our community great and it will be again, it will just take time.”

Boon Docks is located at 14854 Bay View Cir, Panama City Beach, FL 32413 at the foot of the Highway 79 bridge.

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