The gas line rupture last week, near the Treasure Boat Way intersection with Ocean Boulevard, is almost enough to make one think that area has been “hoodooed.”
Tom Maroney, general manager of business operations and public works for the county, was his usual jovial self when I talked with him shortly after the incident. Nevertheless, it must have been a bit unnerving to hear the “Boom!” he mentioned when the workers digging a post for the new fence hit the gas line.
Although county staff had hoped to get the new wrought-iron fence installed before Thanksgiving, Maroney made an executive decision to postpone the work until county staff could be sure about the location of the gas line to ensure another accident does not occur, he said.
In the meantime, the wooden fence that replaced the former, vandalized wooden fence, will remain in
“It’ll look like it did before we started (work Nov. 16),” Maroney said. “People are going to be here visiting, (so it seemed prudent not to hinder traffic and other activities).”
The worst-case scenario, Maroney said, would be the necessity of redesigning plans for the new fence.
“I don’t want to do that,” he said, but the final decision will be dictated by the position of the gas line. The interim wooden fence along the boardwalk near the intersection may not be as sturdy as the planned wrought-iron fence, but it does have its fans.
Joyce Kouba, secretary of the Siesta Key Association, said during the organization’s Nov. 3 meeting that she found the new fence to be very sturdy. Referring to vandals, who abused the previous fence numerous times over the past year, she added, “They’re not going to kick (the current) fence through.”
The dilapidation of the first fence as a result of vandalism had prompted Key residents to ask the county for a stronger model in its place.
“And it fits the ambience of the area,” SKA board member Michael Shay pointed out.
One other favorable factor about the replacement plan, SKA President Catherine Luckner noted, was that the county had not had to go through the procurement process to secure the wrought-iron fence. The county has been working with a regular contractor on that effort.
“That really gave us a speedier remedy than we would have had otherwise,” Luckner said.
At least that was the way the situation appeared Nov. 3.
Welcoming a new business
The Diadone family, formerly of New York, Nov. 9 officially marked the opening of The Village Gourmet, at 5263 in the Village, next to Blasé Café.
Fran Diadone told me last week that after his sister, Mara, bought a house on the Key, and their mother, Lucille, moved in with her, Mara began talking with him about the idea of opening a business on Siesta.
A veteran restaurateur and caterer, Diadone said he responded, “Sounds good to me.”
“We took over the space in the middle of August,” Fran Diadone said.
The family worked for about eight weeks, he said, before they opened the shop Oct. 29.
“We’re bringing a little New York to Siesta Key,” he said.
The Village Gourmet already is serving lunch, with daily items listed on a blackboard. After Thanksgiving, it will begin serving breakfast, featuring bagels shipped from New York, Diadone said. The bagels will undergo their final preparation in the shop’s oven. All sorts of flavored cream cheeses and other offerings will be available to accompany them, he said.
The lunch menu features what Diadone calls “upscale sandwiches,” with names and flavors also reflecting New York.
“We don’t have grouper on our menu,” Diadone joked.
The shop also features salads, entrees and side dishes in a 10-foot deli case, for people who would prefer to eat at home without having to cook.
“Tonight, I have meat and cheese lasagna, tilapia Florentine and herb-roasted pork loin,” Diadone told me Nov. 18.
He’ll also have a variety of vegan and vegetarian options.
On the weekends, The Village Gourmet offers a $10 breakfast bar that includes an omelet station and pancakes; a complimentary mimosa comes with the meal.
The shop does have limited outdoor seating.
Diadone emphasized that a family member will be on premises at all times. Along with his mother and sister, his daughter, Christina, also is working with the new business.
For more information, call 349-7651.
For the dolphins
Siesta Key Oyster Bar has a raffle under way through Dec. 2 to benefit Mote Marine Laboratory’s Dolphin and Whale Hospital and Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital.
The raffle winner will receive a private tour of Mote with the facility’s visiting penguins; an “on-the-water” experience with a Mote scientist; a painting by Mote’s resident Dolphin, Moonshine; and other prizes.
The SKOB owners and staff point out that Mote must raise more than $100,000 each year to provide staff, equipment and treatment tanks to care for injured and ill sea creatures. Before her release, the dolphin Ginger devoured $175 worth of pinfish each day for the two months of her rehabilitation, according to Mote staff. Without the facility’s aid, she wouldn’t have survived.
The SKOB raffle tickets are $5 each, or three for $10. The drawing will held during about 8:30 p.m. Dec. 2, during a party that will begin at 7 p.m. SKOB is located at 5238 Ocean Blvd. Rising Tide will offer live entertainment.