Popular Homosassa restaurant to be torn down, rebuilt

By Kim Leoffler, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, February 01, 2018, 8:38 PM EST

A popular Homosassa bar and restaurant damaged by Hurricane Irma is coming down, but not for long.

  • Yardham Lounge and Riverside Crabhouse damaged beyond repair
  • Restaurant was previously named "Charlie Browns"
  • Owners plan to build a new structure

Yardarm Lounge and Riverside Crabhouse, located at the Homosassa Riverside Resort, has been home to many special family memories throughout the years. Boat Captain Cephas Christian said he has been coming here for decades, ever since it was called "Charlie Browns" and offered All-You-Can-Eat blue crab nights.

"My father and I would go at it for 3 1/2 hours while my mom, literally, she always would bring a book, a new book, and sit outside and actually finish the book and we were still eating," Christian explained.

Christian now runs his charter boat off the resort's docks.

"It's not just going into work -- it's like coming to a second home," Christian said.

However, the days are numbered for the existing building. The owners placed this tarp on the roof after it was damaged in Hurricane Irma while they waited for insurance to come through.

Irma's damage proved to be too much to repair. The roof is starting to crack and cave in at some places.

"The last two weekends we had bad rain Sunday, Monday, and had to close the restaurant in the middle of dinner service," Owner Gail Oakes explained.

"February is the absolute busiest season for us in terms of the food, beverage, and restaurant industry so this was incredibly unfortunate timing," she added.

However, Oakes said they do have a plan in place to build a new structure for the restaurant and bar. The enclosed area where the restaurant currently sits will be gone.

The new space will feature outdoor seating areas while still offering the food, beverages, and atmosphere so many in the area enjoy. The Monkey Bar area is salvageable, but they will be adding a covered area to the second floor.

And while people who have been coming to the restaurant for years say they're sad to see this building that they know and love go, there's no doubt in their mind they'll be back.

"You have your loyal people who will be here religiously," Christian said. "When this place re-opens they will be back here the first day waiting to get in."

Right now, Oakes said their goal is to be open again by July 2018.

Oakes said most of her employees at the restaurant have been able to find work at other businesses in the area for now. She also said the rest of the resort, marina, and the monkeys on Monkey Island will still be operating as normal while the restaurant is rebuilt.