In another positive sign of Hurricane Ian recovery, Dixie Fish Company reopens on Fort Myers Beach. The waterfront restaurant and bar is on the bay side of Fort Myers Beach, what is technically called San Carlos Island. It’s tucked away under the Matanzas Pass Bridge next to Doc Ford’s. As a matter of fact Doc Ford’s owns Dixie.

The al fresco restaurant opened Thursday for the first time after the hurricane. I went last night (Sunday) and it was buzzing. First of all, there was quite a long wait. It’s the only restaurant open in the area at the base of the bridge. The staff was on fire, happy, excited to have a full house once again. The kitchen was cranking out food like the famous Yucatan Shrimp, smoked fish dip, burgers and more.

Dixie Fish reopens but its neighbors are still closed.

Dixie Fish has always been a favorite of mine. I went to this area shortly after the storm to help some friends. Pictures here, story here. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been out towards or on Fort Myers Beach. Yes, there has been an amazing amount of progress with clean up. But as I drove out at sunset, I still saw so much destruction. The tent city that was under the bridge has been fenced off. I wondered where those left homeless from the storm have gone.

Debris is still piled along San Carlos Blvd. Boats are still in mangroves. There is an odd smell in the air. In addition, many traffic and street lights are still out. Dixie’s popular neighbors Doc Ford’s and Bonita Bills are still closed. I admit that for me, there was a fog of sadness when I parked. Then I walked up to Dixie and saw the lights glowing. I heard and the laughter. Finally, I heard a familiar, beautiful voice singing. The song was “Ride Like The Wind” which made me smile. The singer was the amazing Heather Brooks, an old friend. Like a cool breeze, the sadness lifted a bit, and the hope returned. Recovery is slow but it is steady and worthy of celebrating when and where we can.

Congratulations Dixie Fish Company! Cheers to your reopening. Keep my seat warm please.

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