Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Farewell to The Riverside Crab House

The old building's coming down.
Sad, but exciting, news today as The Riverside Crab House and Yardarm Lounge closes after over 50 years of magic and memories.  The building, which overlooks the Homosassa River and includes the famous Monkey Bar, was heavily damaged by recent storms and it was decided to tear down and build again from the ground up.

This doesn't effect the operation of the 6th Annual Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat at all, but we will certainly miss being able to walk across the lane from the Manatee Ballroom and belly up to the bar or have a meal within view of Monkey Island.  In the coming weeks, as we get closer to the retreat, I'll be posting at least once a day with places of note in the area with great food and drink.

While we're sad that this old historic building has to go, we are excited about what phoenix will rise from the ashes and we'll be sure to get lots of photos of the progress.

In the meantime, here is the official press release:

PRESS RELEASE THE YARDARM LOUNGE AND RIVERSIDE CRAB HOUSE IS COMING DOWN.

The Yardarm Lounge, also known as The Riverside Crab House and The Monkey Bar, has celebrated 50 years on the Homosassa River. The iconic restaurant was opened by The Norris Development Company in 1967 and later purchased by the late Dave Stewart and Dr. Donald Vesley. It was most recently acquired by Riverside, LLC in 1998. On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, the doors will close for the final time.

IF THESE WINDOWS COULD TALK

Many things have changed in the span of 50 years, and the Yardarm Lounge and Riverside Crab House has seen it all. She has celebrated first dates, graduations, weddings, new births, anniversaries, and reunions with generations of Homosassa residents and guests from around the world. She has been the stepping stone to many local youngsters as they embarked on their first jobs before going off to college and other successes. She has witnessed sadness at too many memorials in honor of friends and loved ones. No doubt the Crowning Jewel was the location of this beautifully built restaurant overlooking Monkey Island. Unfortunately, the very thing that made the restaurant a favorite to so many is what finally closed her doors. She has endured more than five decades of daily brackish rising and falling tides, lapping at a foundation that is cantilevered over the beautiful Homosassa River. No name, Charlie, Ivan, Frances, Hermine and Irma are a few of the ferocious storms that have taken their toll over the years. Gail Oakes, the managing partner of The Homosassa Riverside Resort which owns the restaurant, hotel, marina and Monkey Island said, “The two story restaurant’s roof was structurally damaged during the last hurricane and is beyond repair. Experts agreed that the age of the building and the degree of the damage would require extensive repairs to the structure which are not financially practical.”

WHAT THE FUTURE WILL HOLD

Oakes said, “My partners and I made the decision to demolish a substantial portion of the damaged building and replace it with a smaller outdoor eatery with spectacular views of the Homosassa River and Monkey Island. The new venue will still feature our famous live blue crabs and seafood selections along with new and exciting additions.” The hotel, marina, boat rentals and banquet room will not be affected by this closure. While Oakes admits that February is the “peak” season in the Homosassa restaurant business and unfortunate timing, she is hopeful that the busy season will make it possible for her displaced staff to find positions with other local restaurant owners who are staffing up for the return of winter guests to our area. The Yardarm Lounge, Riverside Crab House and Monkey Bar are located at 5297 S. Cherokee Way, Homosassa, Florida, on the bank of the Homosassa River. For information regarding this story, please contact: Homosassa Riverside Resort, Gail Oakes gail@riversideresorts.com 352-628-2474.

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