Anna Maria – A long time landmark of Anna Maria Island, The Rod and Reel Pier employs a staff that are more like family than coworkers. Known to locals and tourists alike, the Rod and Reel has been serving islanders since 1947 until an unfortunate mishap on September 29 2013, when heat from a stove ignited the insulation in the wall behind it. Thanks to the quick thinking of the Rod and Reels manager Dave Cochran and off duty police officer Gary Sellitto all patrons were evacuated and no one was injured. In the aftermath of this event many of the employees who had worked at the Rod and Reel for years were left with no income and no real answer as to when the Rod and Reel would be open again, if ever. Regardless, Anna Maria Island has a way of looking out for its own.
All Island Denominations and the Island Food Bank Along with the owner Mario Schoenfelder helped employees by directly paying for employees rent, and purchased gas vouchers for local filling stations. J & J Graphics a local design company on Anna Maria printed and sold enough t-shirts to donate $11,115 to All Island Denominations for pier employees. Today after over $200,000 in renovations and upgrades to bring everything back to the classic look and feel. The Rod and Reel is now back to serving the best grouper sandwich on Anna Maria to patrons from all over. So next time you find yourself in need of a good meal, a great view or just a place to drop your line and relax, stop by the brand new yet same old Rod and Reel Pier.