Boat breaks free during storm, damages restaurant

Sheri Kotzum | 315-4353 | @DestinLogSheri |
The docks at Dewey Destin's Seafood and Restaurant on the bay remain taped off as crews work to replace boards they removed prior to the storm. [SHERI KOTZUM/THE LOG]

While most of Destin made it through Hurricane Michael with minimal damage, there was one local restaurant that felt the storm more than others.

Employees of Dewey Destin’s Seafood and Restaurant on the bay spent Thursday cleaning up debris, nailing down boards and planting vegetation around the floating restaurant.

Although the restaurant has been damaged in previous hurricanes such as Opal and Ivan, owner Dewey Destin said this storm was probably the worst because it was to the east.

“Anytime you get a storm to the east … the backside of the storm comes across the bay and we had high tide with about a 6-foot sea on top of it, plus a boat came loose and crashed into the dock and did a lot of damage,” Dewey said.

That boat is still laying at the foot of the dock, half-sunken and damaged from banging into the dock for eight hours.

“It’s our neighbor’s boat,” Parker Destin said. “He came over and looked at it earlier today. It was on a lift and if he had raised it maybe two feet higher, it would have been fine, but the storm surge was just too high.”

The restaurant itself sustained a bit of wind and water damage, but having gone through hurricanes before, the Destins were prepared.

“We had already pulled up the boards in the building people order their food from,” Dewey said.

“When you pull up some of the boards, it allows the water to go through instead of lifting up the whole structure, which will break it apart,” Parker said. “We’re working on putting them back today.”

The Destins expect to have the restaurant up and running again by Saturday, with the exception of one of their docks.

“The dock on the right of our restaurant, that’s our oldest dock and it got the worst of it,” Dewey said. “But we’ll just rope it off, put our tables back out and hopefully have it completely fixed by next week.”

Both men said they consider themselves lucky to have gotten through with such little damage.

“If that storm hadn’t turned, if it had come straight, Destin would have been devastated,” Dewey said.

The Destins are working on loading up a truck with supplies to take over to Panama City to help with hurricane relief.