An outside world covered in a thin sheet of ice didn’t stop some South Walton restaurants from serving hungry customers.
“I’m a believer in serving guests when they’re hungry and sticking to our hours as much as possible,” said Hanie Nasri, general manager of Marie’s Bistro.
Opening the bistro this morning, there wasn’t any snow to shovel, just a couple of frozen pipes to deal with, Nasri said.
At 723 Whiskey Bravo, Director of Operations of George Barnes said there was some ice around the sidewalks, which they treated with kosher salt.
Business may have been considerably slower due to the cold weather, but as many businesses and schools were closed, residents and visitors were grateful to get out of the house.
“A lot of people have had cabin fever,” Barnes said. “In the last two days everyone has been so appreciative of us staying open.”
With road closures all around Walton County and Destin, employee safety is high on the list of priorities.
“As long as we can get out staff safely here, we’re happy to be open,” Barnes said. “We always put employee safety first.”
Jeff Goodman, owner of Bruno’s Pizza, is a Destin resident, but still made the trek to Seagrove.
“I’ve always been known as that guy that’s always open,” he said. “I’m the idiot that sleeps in the back of the store to make sure the generators are working during a hurricane.”
While it was a slippery commute to work, Goodman said he felt comfortable sending delivery drivers along 30A. However, we has surprised that there were more pick-up orders than deliveries.
“People have been stuck in the house all day with the kids, they were probably happy to get out,” he said.
In his 20-plus years in business, Goodman said he’s never seen weather this cold and icy in South Walton.
“Maybe the last time was Christmastime, 1989. It snowed in Fort Walton Beach,” he recalled.
So what do people eat when they’re cold? At 723 Whiskey Bravo, hot soup has been a big seller, also comfort food dishes such as red beans and rice and crawfish etouffee.
When the weather takes a turn for the worst, Goodman says he always sees an increase in business.
“Nothing’s better than hot pizza on a cold, beach day,” he said.