Community Passions

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The Beach Bistro has the great fortune of being located in the community of Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island – the best place on earth to live. We are very proud of our community and proud of the community support that we continually strive to provide.

The School

Anna Maria Island has a wonderful public school, the Anna Maria Elementary School. This perfect little bay-side school has done an exemplary job of educating and nurturing the children of Anna Maria Island for more than 60 years – including Sean and Susan’s children.

The Bistro helped create the fourth grade’s Edible Garden Project. The students, working with the seeds, soil, and Earth Boxes that the Bistro funds, have been growing a large variety of herbs and vegetables. Throughout the year, they help feed their fellow schoolmates, have sent fresh vegetables to a local food pantry and they have learned the difference between basil and oregano, kale and arugula.

In May the young gardeners and their teachers are entertained at the Beach Bistro, where the Bistro’s chefs create a multi-course luncheon for them from the ingredients found in their bounteous harvest. The children, carefully dressed and impeccably mannered, excitedly identify the various herbs and vegetables in the dishes created for them. It is our favorite event of the year!

The Community Centers

The heart and soul of Anna Maria Island is the Anna Maria Island Community Center, which serves as the hub of life on the Island. It hosts children’s soccer, basketball, Little League and tennis programs, along with dance, fine arts, theatre and cooking classes, after-school programs and summer camps.

For more than twenty years the Beach Bistro’s community S’ghetti dinners have raised funds used to provide sports jerseys and supplies for the soccer, basketball and baseball programs.

We never tire of seeing the excited faces of four-year-olds receiving their first ever, shiny new sports jerseys and parading them proudly the next day at school. The S’ghetti sports banquets are also a chance for the families of Anna Maria Island to come together and celebrate their children and their community.

The Beach Bistro has also been a long-time supporter of the 13th Avenue Community Center. The center was created in the 1930s with the help of Eleanor Roosevelt, and it has worked hard to support and nurture the children and families of central Manatee County. The Center provides a variety of after-school, sports, summer and family programs.

The Island Irish

The Beach Bistro’s most celebratory community project is the annual Beach Bistro St Patrick’s Day Parade. Like many noble concepts, the parade owes its origins to an idea hatched in a bar – the Bistro Bar. The Paddy’s day parade, now in its twelfth year, is the largest St Patrick’s Day parade south and east of Savannah. (It may also be the only the St Patrick’s Day parade south and east of Savannah.)

The slow-strolling parade attracts upwards of fifteen-thousand celebrants each year and features area marching bands, pipe bands, musicians and colorful floats as well as charming wee folk dressed as leprechauns. Recent parades were led by Parade Marshalls and World War Two veterans Mr. Sam Castelli and Mr. Jim Gabaree. The Parade’s feature presentation is Judy, the Parade Elephant led by her companion of over forty years, Mr. Bones.

Master minded by Bistro bar manager Fred Sullivan, the parade is a testament to the creative power of Irish bar geniuses.

Awards and Accolades

The Bistro has received numerous community awards, including the prestigious Pinnacle Award for support of the area’s public schools. Sean Murphy has served on many foundation and civic boards, has been selected Anna Maria Island’s Citizen of the Year and was recently honored with the Holmes Beach Civic Partner award – an honor he shares with the public library.