What a sad day for our community when an establishment like Smiling Fish Cafe is forced to close because of a rent increase.  

There have been far too many closures of restaurants and shops on 30A in the past 10 years due to the hurricanes, the oil spill, slow economy etc. that affected their ability to pay the rent. And I’m sure that all of those aforementioned negatives impacted Smiling Fish Cafe as well, but it did not falter.  

For the past 13 years, Smiling Fish has been a constant solid tenant.  And what are they rewarded with? A large rent increase.

Now, I understand business is business in all areas of the world, but in a small community such as ours, it is and has to be more than that to succeed.  

Places like Smiling Fish Cafe are an example of that. It is not only a restaurant that offers a wonderful, affordable menu, which many of us have enjoyed over the years. It is a meeting place for neighbors, business people and tourists alike.

It is a place that when you are having a meal there, you really feel a sense of community. And this comes from the longevity of a solid “go-to place” — a place that everyone can rely on to be open, friendly, consistent in their offerings and service.

George and his staff recognize that the making of a great business is the support the community extends to it and in return the support that the business gives back to the community — something they have done many, many times for individuals, local groups and charities.

I know that I speak for many that have met there regularly over the past 13 years, when I say this is a tragedy.

Not only for all of us, but for George and his staff that have looked to this restaurant as their bread and butter and that have done so consistently, with a smile on their face.

It’s too bad that their slogan “Be Nice or Leave” didn’t apply to them when it came to a “business” decision, because they ALL have been NICE in every way possible.  Let’s hope for all of us, that they are able to open soon somewhere else in our community!!  Best wishes to them all!


Gillian Lee

Santa Rosa Beach